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PREVIEW: “Bette & Joan” spotlights Hollywood’s greatest rivalry

The parallel careers of two of the movies' greatest stars, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, are traced in this series at the Northwest Film Center

If there was a Mount Rushmore of Hollywood leading ladies, it would be occupied by the uneroded visages of Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis. Between the four of them, they earned 29 Academy Award nominations (only Stanwyck never won a competitive Oscar) and dominated female roles in American movies for over three decades. They personified the Golden Age of the movies, an era that couldn’t have existed without them.

Crawford and Davis, notorious rivals and tempestuous talents, have the spotlight turned on them once again with the Northwest Film Center’s series “Bette & Joan,” which begins on Friday, July 8, and continues intermittently through the end of August. Anyone interested in classic screen acting, pop-cultural depictions of American femininity, or the simple joys of full-throated melodrama would be advised to mark their calendars. When they say they don’t make ‘em like they used to, this is what they’re talking about. And with Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange cast as Davis and Crawford in the upcoming FX series “Feud,” the timing couldn’t be better to get acquainted with two of Hollywood’s most divided divas.

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