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Return From Witch Mountain

From the original 1978 press package, produced by Walt Disney Productions' publicity department. 

Bette Davis, a Monumental Actress, Stars in Disney's "Return From Witch Mountain"

If some inspired sculptor decided to chisel his version of Mt. Rushmore in the Hollywood Hills, it's a cinch he would include the famous face of Bette Davis.

No other actress has loomed larger or longer on the movie scene. Even without the sculptor, she is a monument.

At a time when most of her contempories are gone or retired, Miss Davis has made her 83rd motion picture: a fantasy-thriller for Walt Disney Productions entitled "Return From Witch Mountain." She plays a money-mad schemer who helps kidnap and exploit a boy gifted with supernatural powers.

"It was marvelous fun!" she exclaimed. "The character was sinister, of course, but I played her with a twinkle in the eye. After all, one doesn't frighten children deliberately."

At 69, Miss Davis still crackles with the intensity that she has generated all her life. She throws off sparks when she talks, and she is seldom at a loss for words.

"I believe in work," she said. "I think it is essential. Otherwise one's brain goes fallow.

"I live simply, in a small Connecticut town, in a nice home by a river. But I am a schizophrenic hausfrau. After six months I am ready to go back into the world. Ideally, to work once a year.

"The problem is parts. There are very few suitable, starring, above-the-title parts for a woman of my age. I don't want to play great-aunts or grandmothers because I don't feel like them. So I wait — impatiently — for a role like the one in 'Return From Witch Mountain."'

Against the time when such juicy roles might dry up entirely, Miss Davis nourishes thoughts of becoming a producer. In 1945 she formed her own film company and produced "A Stolen Life," but her acting career took precedent and the company folded. Now, however, there is a quickening in her voice when she says: "With all my years at the studios, I have learned quite a bit about producing. I really should try it again.

"I have always wanted to do 'Ethan Frome,' that tragic story of three farm people in New England. Henry Fonda as Ethan, Liv Ullmann as his niece, and myself as his wife — ah, how I would love to make that film!"

Occasionally, between pictures, Miss Davis turns to television or tours with her own show, "An Evening With Bette Davis." She takes the stepped-up pace of TV and one-nighters in stride.

"I'm used to pressure," she said. "Why, all those early films of mine were made quickly. 'Dark Victory' was shot in four weeks, `Jezebel' in six. "That's the way I worked then, and sometimes, today, still do."

In "Return From Witch Mountain" Miss Davis heads a cast that includes Christopher Lee, Kim Richards, 12, and Ike Eisenmann, 14. The screenplay was written by Malcolm Marmorstein based on characters created by Alexander Key, and is a sequel to Walt Disney Productions' 1975 hit, "Escape to Witch Mountain." John Hough directed under the producership of Ron Miller and Jerome Courtland, and the picture was filmed in color by Technicolor for Buena Vista release.