Black SplatThe Little Foxes (1941)

"I hope you die. I hope you die soon. I’ll be waiting for you to die."

The Little Foxes - Regina hopes her husband, Horace dies

Description: Betty Davis as Regina Hubbard Giddens shouts her disdain for her ailing husband Horace (Herbert Marshall) in the motion picture The Little Foxes (1941).

Regina Giddens is ruthless southern aristocrat who is long-estranged from her husband, Horace, a sickly man with a bad heart. But when Regina's brothers (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid) ask for 75,000 dollars to help build a cotton mill, she tries to make peace with Horace and invites him to move back to her home so she can finagle the money out of him.

Although Horace is sick of body, his mind is still alert and he refuses to be manipulated into giving Regina money for a project that he feels will only profit his in-laws and be detrimental to the workers at the mill, whom Horace believes will be mistreated.

Scheming to get her funds, she negotiates a marriage between her nephew and her daughter Alexandria. But this arrangement fails, leaving Regina looking for other alternatives.

Meanwhile, Ben's nephew steals bonds from the family business. Regina uses this information as a means of blackmailing her brothers for a share in the new mill. In retaliation, Horace claims that he gave Leo the bonds as a loan, thereby cutting Regina out of the deal.

“Maybe it’s easier for the dying to be honest. I‘m sick of you, Sick of this house. Sick of my unhappy life with you. I’m sick of your brothers and their dirty tricks to make a dime. There must be better ways of getting rich than building sweatshops and pounding the bones of the town to make dividends for you to spend. You’ll wreck this town, you and your brothers. You’ll wreck this country, you and your kind, if they let you. But not me. I’ll die my own way, and I’ll do it without making the world any worse. I leave that to you.”

After finally sharing his thoughts with his ruthless wife, Regina coldly tells Horace, "I hope you die. I hope you die soon. I’ll be waiting for you to die."

Later, Regina speaks of her marriage to Horace, "It didn't take me long to find out my mistake. Then it was just as if I couldn't stand the sight of you. I couldn't bear to have you touch me. I thought you were such a soft weak fool, you were so understanding when I didn't want you near me. The lies and excuses I used to make to you, and you believed them. That was when I began to despise you."

Agitated, Herbert asks, "Why didn't you leave me?" Regina replies, "Where was I to go? What money did I have? I didn't think about it much, if I had, I'd have known you'd die before I did. But I couldn't have guessed you'd get heart trouble so early and so bad. I'm lucky Horace. I've always been lucky. I'll be lucky again."

The Little Foxes - Regina ignores her husband's plea for help

Suddenly, Horace spills his medicine, forcing him to ask Regina, "The other bottle. Please, upstairs in my room, in the drawer." But Regina denies her husband request and just waits as Horace tries to get up the stairs himself to get his much needed medicine. As Regina waits in ruthless anticipation, her husband Horace collapses. Soon after Horace dies and Regina had all the money she needed.

Horace dies without revealing his willingness to loan the money to Leo. Regina is thus still able to strong arm her brothers into giving her a piece of the mill -- but the price for her evil machinations is the loss of her daughter's love and respect who leaves home for good to marry an honest newspaperman (Richard Carlson).

Note: Based on the 1939 play by Lillian Hellman, the film's title is derived from the Bible, namely, Chapter 2, Verse 15 in the Song of Solomon, which reads: "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."

In th film The Crossing Guard (1995), Jack Nicholson stars as Freddie Gale, a despondant jeweler whose daughter Emily was killed by a drunk driver. When the man, John Booth (David Morse) gets out of prison six year later, Freddie, obsessed with revenge, tells Booth he has three days and then he will kill him. Meanwhile, Angelica Huston as Mary, Freddie's ex-wife tries to talk sense into him at a restaurant ("Freddie, whatever your're doing, stop it"), but he grabs her hand, looks into her eyes, and says, "I hope you die. I hope you fucking die!"

The Little Foxes - Movie Poster

The Little Foxes - Movie Poster

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