Warners was willing to loan Flynn and Davis out to David O. Selznick for the roles of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind but Selznick had other plans. Instead the pair entered 1939 filming the story of Queen Elizabeth I of England and her lover, the Earl of Essex. Again set for battle over billing, Flynn wanted the title of the film to be The Knight and the Lady but Davis wouldn't hear of it and the final title was The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and this time HER name came before his on the title card. To add insult to injury during one scene the Queen is supposed to slap Essex for his insolence toward her. Davis didn't hold back and gave Flynn a wallop. You can imagine how he took that.
Feuds were no stranger to Bette Davis. In an upcoming post, I'll discuss the infamous battle between Davis and costar Miriam Hopkins.