The Little Foxes – William Wyler
Horace on his deathbed uses his last breath to comfort his daughter and urge her to leave with David Hewitt, while downstairs Regina confronts her brothers with Leo’s theft and demands seventy-five percent of the mill. They bitterly agree, but Ben suggests that Regina might well be charged with murder. She smiles and defies him to prove it. Alexandra overhears this exchange and in spirited defiance damns them all and vows to leave. She tells her mother,
Addie said there were people who ate the earth and other people who stood around and watched them do it. And just now Uncle Ben said the same thing. . . Well, tell him from me,”Mama, I’m not going to stand around and watch you do it. I’ll be fighting as hard as he’ll be fighting, someplace else.
Alexandra leaves, crossing the square in the rain to meet David, while Regina watches from an upstairs window, coldly composed, expressionless, satisfied to remain in the web of her own device.
Although The Little Foxes received eight Academy Award nominations, it failed to win in any category. However, Teresa Wright did win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance that year in Mrs. Miniver. Admittedly, it was a very stiff year in Oscar competition. Sergeant York, How Green Was My Valley, Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, and Suspicion were only a few of the films in contention. However, more importantly, The Little Foxes presented a view of the middle class that was popular with only a minority of the artistic establishment. If Ben, Oscar, and Regina had been peculiar only to their story, the film might have been more successful. But Ben proclaims, “There are hundreds of Hubbards sitting in rooms like this, throughout the country. All their names aren’t Hubbard, but they are all Hubbards and they will own this country someday.” It is this ugly, unrelieved view of the much maligned merchant class that makes The Little Foxes so coldly admired.
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