Payment On Demand

A still from 'Payment on Demand' (1951), dir. Curtis Bernhardt, starring Bette Davis

The image above is another film still scanned from a set of mounted slides I acquired about a decade ago. On the slide the film’s title is given in German as Die Ehrgeizige (which, according to Google Translate, means ‘The Ambitious One’) whereas the original English title was Payment on Demand. It was a 1951 release directed by Curtis Bernhardt which starred Bette Davis.

The project’s working title had been The Story of a Divorce, but both the title and the ending were subject to last minute changes imposed by Howard Hughes. A poster for the movie showed a stylized depiction of Davis in an off-the-shoulder black dress with the line “I made him now I’ll break him”, while the theatrical trailer enticed audiences with “The One Sin No Woman Ever Forgives!… – Unleashes An Emotional Conflict… The Fury Of Which The Screen Has Never Known!”