Thursday, 30 April 2009

hall of dames - joan crawford

While home for lunch today, i caught a half hour or so of Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford's 1945 comeback film, on TCM. Miss Crawford won a best actress Oscar for her role in this marvelous film, and deservedly so. See trailer below.

The funny thing is, that when I was a little girl, I was absolutely terrified of Joan Crawford. She was like a monster to me, who might hide in my laundry basket or behind the hangers in my closet. You see, in 1981 - at which time I was 5 years old - i saw the movie Mommie Dearest, which had been adapted from the tell-all book written after Joan's death by one of her daughters. Many of Crawford's colleagues, including Marlene Dietrich, denounced both book and film, which depict Crawford as a most monstrous purveyor of relentless emotional and physical abuse upon her children. A particular scene in the film in which the young girl is reprimanded for not arranging the hangers properly has always haunted me. See trailer below.

Of course, now that I'm essentially a grown up, I've a very different perspective of Crawford and her body of work. Did she beat her children? I don't know. Did she make films about determined, even successful women at a time when others weren't? Oui. Joan was a consummate actress. Elegant, intellegent, strong and stunningly beautiful. If you haven't seen Mommie Dearest and are not familiar with Joan Crawford's films, do yourself (and Joan) a favour and save the nasty character assassination until after you've fallen in love with her ('cause you will).

I'll leave you with some gorgeous photos that I've had on my computer for ages (so I'm not sure of the source). (sorry).

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