Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Bette Davis

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Bette Davis[edit]

Self nomination. I think the article is thorough and equal to the standard of other featured articles for performers in the arts. It is rated as "A" class on the Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography assessment scale, and it has been selected for inclusion in Wikipedia:Version 0.5 and also rated as "A class" on their assessment scale. All information has been carefully sourced - I've checked and double-checked everything. I look forward to comments. Thanks. Rossrs 01:47, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Comments Support Well written and researched.
    • Some statements could use citations; do you still have easy access to all those books in the references? Also, when there's a citation at the end of the paragraph, but not for any of the other sentences, does that mean the whole paragraph comes from that one source? Anyway, some examples:
      • She auditioned for admission to Eva LeGallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory, but was rejected by LeGallienne who described her as insincere. (have expanded LeGalliene's comment and added citation)
      • She later recounted her surprise that nobody from the studio was there to meet her; a studio employee had waited for her, but left because he saw nobody who "looked like an actress". (covered by existing cite, but I have changed the page number as this point and the "I thought I would die" quote were on different pages, but part of the same text)
      • She recalled being hastily dressed in an ill-fitting costume with a low neckline, only to be rebuffed by the director William Wyler, who loudly rejected her with the comment, "What do you think of these dames who show their chests and think they can get jobs?" (added a citation for this + also expanded this section slightly)
      • The director, John Cromwell, allowed her relative freedom, and commented, "I let Bette have her head. I trusted her instincts." (covered by existing citation)
      • E. Arnot Robertson wrote in Picture Post, "I think Bette Davis would probably have been burned as a witch if she had lived two or three hundred years ago. She gives the curious feeling of being charged with power which can find no ordinary outlet". (covered by existing citation)
      • Hastings urged the court to "come to the conclusion that this is rather a naughty young lady and that what she wants is more money". He mocked Davis's description of her contract as "slavery" by stating, incorrectly, that she was being paid $1,350 per week. He remarked, "if anybody wants to put me into perpetual servitude on the basis of that remuneration, I shall prepare to consider it". (covered by existing citation)
      • She won a second Academy Award for the role, but Selznick ruled her out of contention for his film, deciding that she was too identifiable as a personality, and that the character should be played by a lesser known actress. (changed this to something more succinct - ie Selznick didn't want her. and provided citation)
      • She commented that she had a "nerve" playing a woman in her sixties, to which Laughton replied, "Never not dare to hang yourself. That's the only way you grow in your profession. You must continually attempt things that you think are beyond you, or you get into a complete rut". (covered by existing citation)
      • The last two paragraphs in Success as "The Fourth Warner Brother" need some sources.
      • Criticised by Jack Warner for her tendency to cajole and harangue crowds into buying, she reminded him that her audiences responded most strongly to her "bitch" performances. (covered by existing citation)
      • Davis later commented, "There are few accomplishments in my life that I am sincerely proud of. The Hollywood Canteen is one of them." (covered by existing citation)
      • The first paragraph of Personal and professional setbacks
      • Davis later explained her actions with the observation, "when I was most unhappy I lashed out rather than whined." (covered by existing citation)
      • Davis described the script as "the best I ever read" and during production, she... (covered by existing citation)
      • She said later that the role "brought me back from the dead"... (I can't find a citation for this so have removed it)
      • The director, Robert Aldrich, said that the actresses were each aware of how important the film was to their respective careers and despite their mutual dislike worked together in a tense but professional atmosphere. (quoted Aldrich and provided citation)
      • Davis was pleased, and commented to an interviewer that for the first time, her grandson considered her to be "cool". (couldn't find that exact quote, but rewrote would I could find, and cited accordingly)
      • Several of Davis's friends commented that Hyman's depictions of events were not accurate; one commented "so much of the book is out of context". (covered by existing citation)
      • Reviewers such as Edwin Schallert for the Los Angeles Times praised Davis's performance in Mr. Skeffington (1944), while observing, "the mimics will have more fun than a box of monkeys imitating Miss Davis", and Dorothy Manners writing for the Los Angeles Examiner said of her performance in the poorly received Beyond the Forest, "no night club caricaturist has ever turned in such a cruel imitation of the Davis mannerisms as Bette turns on herself in this one." (covered by existing citation)
    • Is it really necessary to have all those "Davis recalled later" statements? In my opinion, it might increase readability if sentences like, "She recalled being hastily dressed in an ill-fitting costume with a low neckline..." were changed to "She was hastily dressed in an ill-fitting costume with a low neckline...".
    • I'm fairly new, so I'm not yet very familiar with WP policy. Is the lead in WP articles exempt from inline citations? I've seen some other articles also go without any in the lead. Gzkn 06:17, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, let me say how much I appreciate the level of detail you have gone into. It makes it much easier to respond to -so thank you. With regards to the statements you have listed, I will go back over the article and ensure that everything is covered by a cite. Usually, if there are a number of points all covered by one cite, I cite it once at the end of the applicable section. I guess this can be confusing for anyone looking back over it, but I don't know how else to do this, without ending up with 4 times as many cites, as I currently have used. If there is a cite at the end of a paragraph it should be safe to assume that all points, even comments or quotes from different people, are covered. I've included page numbers so sometimes there is a range of pages from which the total information is drawn. As I said, I'll double check, but I'm 99.9% sure I've picked them all up. I don't know if that's the right way to do it or not, I just can't see another way that is not highly cumbersome. To answer your question, yes I own all the books cited, therefore checking is no problem, and it will just take a little time.
I've gone through and addressed each of the points you made regarding citations. I have commented after each point. Rossrs 14:21, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Great! Yeah, I think this is more of a problem with Wikipedia's way of citing more than anything else. While citing everything would be desirable from a verifiability standpoint, and leaves it less ambiguous to readers as to what exactly is cited, it definitely leads to huge readability issues. Gzkn 02:32, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Bette recalled ... yes there are a few of those, and probably too many. I can easily rewrite them, but the difficulty in that is that they then become written as facts. As written, they are Bette Davis anecdotes, which may or may not have been exaggerated for dramatic effect. Example - the comments on the Dick Cavett show about "being laid on a couch and testing fifteen men". There may be some basis of truth, but Davis obviously expected a laugh from the way she presented it. I'll trim down those that I can - most of them should be quite easy, but I think there will be a few that should stay as they are. The example you gave is awkwardly written, I agree.
I have rewritten the section you mention, and I think it's greatly improved. I have left some examples because I think they are necessary, but please let me know if you disagree. Rossrs 14:21, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. Gzkn 02:32, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
My understanding, which could be wrong, is that cites are not desirable in the lead section because it spoils the "look" of the section and not necessary as it is intended to be a summary of the article that follows. Therefore nothing should be in the lead section that is not in the body of the article, where it should be cited. Let me know if there is anything written in the lead that you are specifically unhappy with, and I will attempt to address it. Rossrs 11:14, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
OK. I've seen leads both ways, so that's why I asked. Gzkn 02:32, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
  • That's my understanding, too, Rossrs. Everything in the lead should also be in the body of the article. To source it twice seems distracting and overkill, IMO. Jeffpw 12:08, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I'll be the first to support this remarkable article! A well-done article on a magnificent lady. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 14:58, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
  • One comment, though. I don't believe that Bette's name needs to be bolded in the first sentence of the Background section. It only needs to be bolded in its first occurance in the introduction. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 15:03, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, you should include her whole name in the lead to read Ruth Elizabeth Davis known as Bette Davis. Then the first sentence of the Background section would begin "Born Ruth Elizabeth Davis, ...". Sorry to be picky. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 15:05, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your support. I'm pleased you like the article. I've taken your suggestion regarding the name, with a minor variation, as per the Boris Karloff suggestion at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies). I think because the stage name is so much more famous than the birth name, it should go first .Rossrs 15:20, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support and commment. Very nice article. I just think the last paragraph in the lead is two short and should be merged or transferred in the main article.--Yannismarou 10:46, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
It looks like an afterthought doesn't it? Maybe it should be removed from the lead. After all, it's just one of many forms of recognition she's received since her death, albeit a particularly credible one. It's mentioned in the article so I'll remove it from the lead, and if anyone thinks it should go back.... Rossrs 14:17, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
I understand this and tried to comply but it looks like I missed some. eg I used "color" rather than "colour", "favorite" rather than "favourite" and "Defense" rather than "Defence", but because I'm Australian and spell British English, I don't necessarily know every word that should have an American equivalent spelling. If you can give some examples of where I've gone wrong that would be appreciated, because I thought I got them all, and to my Australian eye it all looks fine. Obviously it's not. Thanks. Rossrs 02:17, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I've started to go through and made a lot of changes in the first few sections (for example -ise to -ize, theatre to theater) and will have the rest done soon. Andrew Levine 02:46, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Andrew, thank you. Whew, there really were a lot! I'll go through and see what else I can see, now that I know what I'm looking for. Americans just love using the letter "Z" don't they? ;-) Rossrs 06:15, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I've gone through the rest of the article, and changed what I detected as incorrect. Hopefully there shouldn't be too many errors still hiding in the article. Rossrs 06:49, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Just paste the entire text into a Word document, change your SpellChecker preferences to AmEng, and run it. Windows ... Start --> Control Panel --> Regions and Languages (then adjust two of the three tabs). Tony 14:29, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, Tony! I'll be using that in future. It took no time at all and I found 13 typos and spelling problems - and this is after two people had copy-edited it. Now the spelling must be right! Rossrs 15:31, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Well done. Only two trivial problems: 1) it's a bit lengthy (but that's no big deal because the information there seems vital and the writing seems focussed); and 2) You could have used 'op cit' and 'ib id' when formatting the sources, instead of repeatedly giving complete bibliographic information for the same books. Orane (talkcont.) 05:55, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Orane. Would 'op cit' and 'ib id' still show page numbers? Rossrs 07:24, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Instead of:
  • ^ Spada, James (1993). More Than a Woman. Little, Brown and Company, pp 254-255. ISBN 0-316-90880-0.
  • ^ Spada, James (1993). More Than a Woman. Little, Brown and Company, p 241. ISBN 0-316-90880-0.
  • ^ Spada, James (1993). More Than a Woman. Little, Brown and Company, pp 246-247. ISBN 0-316-90880-0.
you'd have:
  • ^ Spada, James (1993). More Than a Woman. Little, Brown and Company, pp 254-255. ISBN 0-316-90880-0.
  • ^ Spada, p 241.
  • ^ ib id, Spada, pp 246-247.
(Or you could omit the op cit/id ib and just write the last name (an example of this is the Mariah Carey article).)
Like I said, however, it's rather trivial. You don't have to change it if you don't want to. Orane (talkcont.) 08:49, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I will change it at some point because it may make the article easier to edit, but as it's not a major issue I'll leave it until I have a little more time. Rossrs 11:02, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Support - Really good. It's verifiable, some of the prose made me sad at times, and fair use rationales for images. Wiki-newbie 16:51, 5 November 2006 (UTC)