"Over the years she has built up so much power in the industry that she knows she can lord it over the little people," said Mercedes McCambridge. "Everybody is afraid of her. She destroys those who oppose her."
"I quit after two weeks," an ex-servant in Joan's household told the reporter. "She made me take off my shoes when I entered the house so I wouldn't get dirt on the rugs."
It was her director, who played matador at the end.
"As a human being, Joan Crawford is a great actress," said Nicholas Ray.
Crawford's career went dead in the water. Hedda Hopper tried to help out by sending her a concept for a TV series, and received this reply from Crawford:
"Hedda Dear, I think it's a brilliant idea, for an unkown, or someone who's done a couple of pictures, but certainly not for a star. God bless -- and thank you again for your belief in not only a devoted friend, but, as Billy Haines calls me, an Iron reindeer in a victorian garden. My name, however, is still Joan Crawford."
- Poor Joan. Taking career advice from her friend Julie. That cunt.
- What a cunt!
- Carol Burnett lampoons it.
- She could've lent her name to a string of dry cleaners
- Who is Joan Crawford. Sounds like a sales lady back in the day at Macy's or Gimbles.
- [quote]"I have the same driving force. But those of us with talent and ambition must develop tolerance, must make allowances for people less gifted," said former silent star Theda Bara.
- TV would've revived her career. Stars like Doris Day, Loretta Young, Miss Barbara Stanwyck, Rock Hudson and Bette Davis all did TV. Why did she consider herself above it?
- Roby Heard, who wrote the expos&ecute; quoted in the OP, was murdered at 39.
- Thank You R4!!!
I've actually never seen that before. She's perfect as Crawford. She's perfect as anything.
- You don't fuck with Joan r9 and walk away without a hammer in the head.
I'm glad she didn't do TV. Stars in those days, didn't do TV.
- Divine Feud Excerpt (Cont'd.)
Truck Stop Joan:
That summer, to escape the frustration and boredom of staying at home all day waiting for the phone to ring, Joan began to take off on long drives, alone. Wearing sunglasses, a head scarf, slacks, and a raincoat, she would cruise up and down the highways in northern Calfornia, stopping at diners and truck-stop restaurants along the way. She dropped Louella Parsons a line from one stop, telling her about the fascinating characters she bumped into. "I might write a script about life on the open road," wrote Joan. At first these jaunts were day trips, but eventually they became two-and three-night layovers. "I call my babies every night," she told Parsons. "Then the next day I drive to a new location."
Without mentioning her name, one publication printed that the star was often seen intoxicated, in the company of "unsavory male compansions," entering and exiting highway motels. "Joan Crawford and the Handsome Bartender" was the heading for a story in Confidential magazine months later, but by then the star had stopped her wandering ways. Her anonymous road trips apparently ended one gray, rainy morning when Crawford woke up on the floor of a strange motel with a sore jaw and a badly bruised eye. During the night, she had either been beaten or had fallen down drunk, rolled by one of her gallant highwaymen. Her watch and the cash in her handbag were gone, but she found her car keys intact, tucked into a side flap of her raincoat, and she made it safely back to L.A. that afternoon. After that unpleasant incident, the star never patrolled the highways again. And she was seldom seen out at night in Los Angeles without her secretary or a friend for company.
- [quote]According to one of Joan's many former housemaids, the famous star is as much a tyrant at home as she is on the movie set.
[quote]"Joan would deliberately throw the contents of her talcum box on the floor, or smash a jar of cold-cream on the wall, just for the pleasure of watching me pick it up. If there was a spot on a washbowl or floor she'd come raging out of the bathroom, sometimes stark naked, raging about the 'filth' and 'slime' I had allowed to accumulate.
[quote]"Several times, when I didn't do just what she wanted me to, Miss Crawford would make me scrub the whole floor with a small brush on my hands and knees. I would have quit right away, but the pay was good, and I needed the money."
- Did Crawford have any real friends in Hollywood, because I can't imagine anyone putting up with her shit? I'm actually glad to hear that people had had enough of her and were ready and willing to take it to the press.
I came across this titillating little item from a 2000 interview with silent film star, Anita Page, who co-starred with Crawford in three early MGM films:
[quote]Her rivalry with the sexually voracious Joan Crawford caused increasing tension at MGM. "I ended up loathing Joan," says Page. "For one thing she tried to hit on me several times. Let me tell you, when my mother saw the sex aids in various shapes and colours that Joan kept in her medicine cabinet, she refused my ever seeing Joan again - apart from on a film set."
- You have a to admit that it was a little classless for all of Joan's costars to comment in that article, nothing more than a hatchet piece.
- She was good friends with Ann Blythe and maybe Eve Arden. Other than those two, I'm not sure if she had any close female friends.
- [quote]I'm glad she didn't do TV.
She did some TV, but she was too unreliable and constantly drunk, which would have made it impossible for her to have her own series. Just look at the mess of a performance she gave in Lucille Ball's show.
- She didn't do TV because she was a star. Stars didn't do TV in those days, except for the occasional guest spot and that was usually done to promote a new picture or some other project.
And those drunk rumors are just that, rumors. More than likely started by bitter rivals and studio execs to try and bring Miss Crawford down.
- Joan, is that you at r18?
- r18 = Casey Lalonde
- OP why are you doing this to us?
- No, it's me. Christopher.
- It's me, Rutanya Alda
- It was brutal to be an older star in those days. You didn't have the luxury of gravitating to television in a plum role that gave your career a second wind (Stanwyck was the rare exception). TV was considered the last resort for movie stars, and you were reduced to variety show appearances and guest starring on comedy and dramas.
Crawford did the best that she could, given the circumstances. But she always brought class and dignity to whatever she was doing, even in the most meaningless junk. I can tell you that she would be horrified at what passed for an academy awards show a few weeks back. And she wouldn't think twice about lecturing these younger women on how to conduct themselves like ladies in the public eye. Crawford knew how to be a movie star.
- [quote]But she always brought class and dignity to whatever she was doing, even in the most meaningless junk.
Oh please. She was neither classy nor dignified in AUTUMN LEAVES, QUEEN BEE, STRAITJACKET, BERSERK, or TROG.
[quote]I can tell you that she would be horrified at what passed for an academy awards show a few weeks back.
- Crawford wouldn't stoop so low as doing series television, but she was perfectly fine with doing "The Secret Storm"? Huh?
- R25 Honey, take a film class. Crawford had star quality, whether you want to admit it or not.
R26 Secret Storm was a fill in/favor for her daughter. You didn't know that?
- I think she did "The Secret Storm" for more personal reasons almost as a way to slap Christina without physically toughing her.
Everyone appeared on "The Lucy Show" which was almost proof of their star power but a weekly series was considered the realm of has-beens who couldn't get work in movies
- R9 ... murdered by Joan herself, no doubt.
"Tina, bring me the claw hammer...."
- From the obituary .......News accounts do not mention a wife or children .....
Having the name Roby, writing about Joan and being 39 years old without a wife or children .....this all shouts straight man, don't you think ???
- I meant "touching".
- R30 He just had not met the right girl. Sadly right before he was murdered he had joined a church social group.
- Exactly, doing 'The Secret Storm' was about putting that bitch Christina in her place, which it did. Quite nicely.
Miss Crawford may have a nip here or there, but the legends of her being falling down drunk all the time are just that. For someone who was so drunk, she always gave a flawless performance - while also looking flawless - I might add.
In the words of 3LW, 'them haters gonna hate'.
- Wasn't the reason Joan didn't like Marilyn Monroe because Marilyn wouldn't eat her pussy a second time?
- [quote] Her watch and the cash in her handbag were gone, but she found her car keys intact, tucked into a side flap of her raincoat, and she made it safely back to L.A. that afternoon
Smart move about the car keys.
- The best 29 seconds in film history.
- R36 RIP AMC
- I want you bitches to clean that talcum powder up now! How can someone live in all of this SLIME and FILTH!
- [quote]Crawford, herself, addressed the remarks she made about Monroe at the Photoplay Awards: "I criticized Marilyn Monroe as I would my own daughter," said Joan. "No comment," said Marilyn.
- I loves me the image of Joan Crawford trolling the Pacific Highway with her sunglasses and a big hat, looking for low men happy to take a twenty to try to plug her endless void. There IS a movie in it - not the one she bullshitted about, but the one where she is falling apart and at the end of her rope and hitting the pavement for change, anonymous drunken sex and a night's forgetfulness.
Who could play her, at this point?
- Joa was fighter. A survivor. A star. She never claimed to be a saint.
- I just want a hard dick and a stiff drink, fellas!
Joan, cruising the PCH with the top down
- I will cosign R41. I also think the stories of Joan cruising the PCH may have been more stuff put out by her enemies. She loved cock, probably blue collar cock, but she would have been a lady about it.
- R41 Demi Moore
- R41 - so she was also a raging nasty bitch too. If that's what she was, that's what she was.
Being a "survivor" is just code for I get to do whatever the fuck I want.
- [quote]"I quit after two weeks," an ex-servant in Joan's household told the reporter. "She made me take off my shoes when I entered the house so I wouldn't get dirt on the rugs."
Uhm, who the hell wears their shoes inside the house? Is making the maid take off her shoes really meant to be considered some great injustice?
- Imagine if Joan had a twitter account.
- [quote]Miss Crawford may have a nip here or there, but the legends of her being falling down drunk all the time are just that.
She did a commercial in the early 70s and even a teenage me could tell she was drunk. There was a blind item about it a week or two after the commercial air.
- R48 can you remember the commercial? Maybe it's on Youtube.
- [quote]I loves me the image of Joan Crawford trolling the Pacific Highway with her sunglasses and a big hat, looking for low men happy to take a twenty to try to plug her endless void. There IS a movie in it - not the one she bullshitted about, but the one where she is falling apart and at the end of her rope and hitting the pavement for change, anonymous drunken sex and a night's forgetfulness. Who could play her at this point?
Bette Davis kind of did in The Star.
- [quote]I loves me the image of Joan Crawford trolling the Pacific Highway with her sunglasses and a big hat, looking for low men happy to take a twenty to try to plug her endless void. There IS a movie in it - not the one she bullshitted about, but the one where she is falling apart and at the end of her rope and hitting the pavement for change, anonymous drunken sex and a night's forgetfulness. Who could play her at this point?
- The Divine Feud Excerpt (cont'd.)
"We were driving home after dinner one night," said Vincent Sherman. "As we passed Grauman's Chinese Theater, there was a big premiere going on. Kidding, I said to her, 'Hey, why weren't you invited to that shindig?'"
Joan looked out at the lights and crowds, and said, "Fuck 'em. I'll be back."
The jobs were minor at first. For ten thousand dollars, Crawford agreed to act as a hostess that November, shaking hands at the opening of a hotel in Las Vegas. Some critics thought the actress was demeaning herself, but writer John O'Hara defended her employment. She was worth every penny, O'Hara believed, because Joan was an authentic celebrity, always punctual and glamorous.
In December, Crawford landed a one-picture deal at Universal. They offered her a low-budget suspense thriller call Female on the Beach. Checking in at the studio, Joan made her customary showy entrance. The 51-year-old actress arrived in her white Lincoln convertible wearing white shorts, a white shirt, a black bow tie, and black high heels. Carrying her two white miniature poodles, she headed for costume fittings and gave the once-over to the starlets gathered in the wardrobe room.
They considered Tony Curtis as her co-star, but he photographed too young, so they went with Jeff Chandler. He was only two years older than Curtis, but with his prematurely graying hair, and "wearing skintight pants and bathing suits," he appeared more compatible with the aging star.
In any event, the picture was a campfest.
"You're about as friendly as a suction pump," said Joan in character to her former boyfriend in the opening scene.
"I don't hate women," said Jeff. "I just hate the way they are."
"I wish I could afford you," murmured Joan.
"Save your pennies," Jeff advised grabbing her in his arms.
She bites his wrist (the script read). He rips her dress off. Her eyes dilate. She clutches her breasts protectively. She goes limp, then slowly her arms, as if moved by a will of their own, go gliding around him, her fingers dig greedily into his flesh.
"Just once," the lonely but worldly-wise widow sighs, "just once, love me a little."
- another slap
- Who could play her? Julianne Moore.
- Lindsay Lohan. Take a look at the pic of Joan in Female on the Beach and picture Lindsay in 20 years.
- In 20 years, Lindsay will have been dead for 19 years.
- Joan would absolutely detest everything about that pathetic Lohan creature.
- OK R9 I finally read that. What a crock obit that was. The guy was murdered and then covered with his sheet and cover.
"A lot of "series" stories were published then and he did a four- or five-parter on Liberace and when he came in one morning his desk was adorned with lighted candles, the performer’s trademark. He also did a series on Joan Crawford that considered mainly of quotations from Hollywood times who hated her (almost everybody, apparently)."
Then they close it by saying how could the newspaper hire such a drunk? No wonder they never caught the black dahlia killer.
- Actually Female on the Beach isn't awful. There are some great lines. I'm watching it now on Youtube.
- R54, seriously?
- I guess Universal loved the outfit Joan wore to her first costume fitting for Female on the Beach, because she's still wearing it in the still from the film at r52's link.
I just wish we could see the black high heels which must have looked glorious with those white shorts and black bow tie.
- Joan, drunk off her face, giving an interview at an airport, while holding on to some random child. She's got more pancake makeup on than Baby Jane.
- I don't know if it's mentioned on any of the Baby Jane threads but I read somewhere about Bette's take on the movie and it was hilarious. She was saying how pissed she was that Joan kept wearing falsies and how the big tits were practically hitting her in the face. She said something about how Blanche was supposed to have been starved but meanwhile every day her tits are bigger. I watched it again recently and did notice Joan's jugs.
- Pound me like a roadhouse whore!
Joan, with hungry eyes at the diner
- Was Bette's film The Star based loosely on Joan's life and career in the late 1940s?
I saw it recently and was shocked by its shabby inferiority, compared especially, to All About Eve.
- Johnny Guitar was not a flop - though it may not have got too many kudos at the time. Its a cult classic now, with a Marty Scorsese introduction on the dvd, and its probably the best of Joan's 50s films.
It was also the first movie I ever saw aged 8, and I loved it, what a vivid introduction to cinema.
Torch Song, Female on the Beach, Queen Bee, Autumn Leaves, Harriet Craig etc are all camper, but Johnny Guitar has a strange brooding quality that just does not date.
- R62, Joan was not drunk in that interview. She'd been flying and her leg was in a cast and I'm sure her doctor prescribed either a sedative or a painkiller to ease pain. Air travel in those days was a lot different then now and had the tendency to exacerbate certain ailments, so doctors would give you a little something to take the edge off.
- I hate westerns but I love Johnny Guitar (although it's not really a western it's a Crawford movie).
But the movie itself isn't really that camp just Joan and her very thick makeup.
- "Did Crawford have any real friends in Hollywood, because I can't imagine anyone putting up with her shit?"
Crawford remained good friends with former co-star Billy Haines and his partner, Jimmie Shields, even after Haines ended his film career and became an interior designer. Crawford famously said that Haines and Shields had the most stable marriage in Hollywood.
- R67- give me a break. Air travel in the 1960s was much easier than today- did it all the time- I was born in 1953, traveled with my parents frequently in the 1960s. She's drunk.
- [quote]Roby Heard, who wrote the expose quoted in the OP, was murdered at 39.
Oh, Roby lived in that building at Yucca and Wilcox. Probably around the same time Ed Wood lived there. I bet they were drinking buds.
- "Lies! All Lies!"
- "TV was considered the last resort for movie stars"
At first, then they came in droves when TV started keeping all the moviegoers home: Eve Arden, Donna Reed, Loretta Young, Lucille Ball, Danny Thomas...
- Of course, R67. How could R62 be so cruel? She should have written:
[quote]Joan, stoned off her face, giving an interview at an airport, while holding on to some random child. She's got more pancake makeup on than Baby Jane.
Feel better now?
- Other film stars who were successful in 1950s TV series were Robert Young, Dick Powell, Ray Milland, Peter Lawford, Ann Sothern, Robert Montgomery, Spring Byington, Bob Cummings, Ida Lupino, and frankly, that's a list just off the top of my head.
I realize some of those stars were not all quite of the caliber of stardom of Joan at her peak (in the mid-1930s), but nevertheless, she was foolish if she had the chance to move into TV and shied away out of vanity.
It could have really reinvented her career and her image, as it did for Lucy, Loretta and so many others.
- Not all aging actresses fared as bad as Joan Crawford (or Bette Davis). Katherine Hepburn won three of her four Oscars when she was already sixty or more.
- [quote]Was Bette's film The Star based loosely on Joan's life and career in the late 1940s?
I don't see how. Joan's films in the late 40s included: Possessed, Flamingo Road, Daisy Kenyon, TDamned Don't Cry, etc... At that point in her career she was bigger than Davis at Warner Bros.
The same year The Star was released, so was Sudden Fear.
- I never understood why Hepburn kept getting plum roles whilst Joan made shit like "Trog".
- R78 People liked watching Hepburn.
- Her pussy tasted like a bad shrimp cocktail.
- Joan with luggage:
- I've always perceived Joan's films after 1950 as B-movies. I guess they could be perceived as low-rent "women's pictures" for the Myrtles and Gladyses who remembered her in her heyday (a predecessor to soap operas?). The fact that they didn't look like Edward D. Wood, Jr. fiascos was due to her still having a bit of clout in the industry, able to request good cinematographers, makeup, etc. But they got progressivley bad, til her and Trog walked into the sunset together.
- I didn't R79. Joan is very watchable in her later camp-fests no matter how bad the movie around her may be.
- R69 Didn't you read the post? Everyone in Hollywood hated her and hated working with her.
- Mommie Dearest is on Sundance right now....
- Wasn't there a story that a reporter caught her letting her poodle lick her snatch in an airport bar?
- To paraphrase someone else on DL:
"Oh look, Marge; Joan has a new piccha showin' at the Bijou. Let's have lunch a Woolworths and make a day of it."
- r85 poor Joan is about to get the axe..
- R86, that's probably about right. It tasted like something only a dog would enjoy.
- The truckers never complained. They couldn't get enough of my vodka soaked snatch.
Miss Crawford, if you please
- Vodka? Is that what she squirted when she had that gigantic orgasm?
- I don't need to talk to SLIME and HUMAN FILTH like Miss Munhoe. I am going for a drive!
- Even a BFF like Barbara Stanwyck was tired of her...there was a thread...
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
By the fourth week of shooting Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Bette had had it up to her famous eyeballs with Joan's ladylike posturing and her pretense of infinite patience. "Bette comes from Warner Brothers," Bob Sherman said. "Unlike Joan, she was a very straight-on lady who wouldn't go behind your back. She'd kill your right upfront. Once during the movie she took off on me and hit me real hard."
This was the day Bette filmed the sequence standing in front of the rehearsal mirror. "She sees herself for the first time as Baby Jane and realizes what a hideous mess she is and screams," Sherman said. "When it was over, she seemed upset, a little uptight. We were standing outside her dressing room and, to comfort her, I decided to remind her that the next day she was going to work on the scene where she grabs a hold of Joan and batters her on the music-room floor. I threw my arm around her and said, 'Oh, don't worry about it, Bette, tomorrow you'll get the chance to kick the brains out of Joan.' Suddenly she pulled back and said to me, 'Oh, you think I'm PRETENDING to be upset? You think I'm being a phony like THAT cunt?' And she proceeded to call me every dirty name she could think of."
The door to Crawford's trailer was open during Bette's tirade. "Joan was in there listening," said Sherman. "And then I what Bette was doing. She was yelling at me but tearing off in a tangential way at Crawford. She cou;dn't do it directly to Joan, because Joan never gave her a chance. So I got it with both barrels blasting, and while she was screaming at me, out of the corner of my eye I could see Crawford's door slowly closing. Joan heard everything. Eventually, to stop Bette, I said, 'I'm sorry you feel this way, because I like you.' If I said, 'I respect you,' she would have cut my head off. But 'like' was a better word, because how can you yell at someone who likes you? She said, 'Oh, come on in,' and we went into her trailer and had a drink."
At the McCadden Drive house that evening, Bette arrived in time to witness Joan being photographed through the iron bars of her upstairs bedroom window. Set up on a huge crane outside the window, the camera was supposed to zoom in on the imprisoned Blanche.
As the lens moved in for its horrifying close-up, the director, looking through the viewfinder, saw a frightened but fabulous looking Crawford. "Joan was wearing LIPSTICK and ludicrously long EYELASHES," said Bette. "It was soo funny. In her cry for help, my terrified costar insisted on looking like she was posing for the cover of Vogue."
When Joe Eula assisted on a Life magazine shoot on the making of Baby Jane, Bette, in the name of vanity, got to compete with Joan. "We needed an old-time but classy background for Bette and Joan," said Eula. So we decided to photograph them sitting on the front of a vintage Rolls Royce. I set it up. We rented the car and drove it right up to the studio gates. Those doors swung open like an airplane hangar, and we rolled that mother onto a section of the soundstage. We had the lights set, and we were ready for the two dames. It was fairly early in the day, and they arrived wearing formal gowns, furs, and diamonds, behaving like they always dressed like this for breakfast.
"Bette arrived first, and Miss Crawford was late. So we sat and waited, and Davis was a little miffed. But once Crawford arrived, the two pros got in there and did their stuff. They arched their backs, threw their heads back, and we were back in the golden days when these two superstars ruled the town."
There were no pleasantries or dialogue exchanged between the two, Eula recalled. "Not a word. That's why we had them sitting on the headlights, one on each side of the Rolls. We couldn't put them within arm's reach or the fur would really fly. It was over in twenty minutes. Then one went off with her Pepsi bottle full of vodka, and the other one muttered, 'She's so fucking unprofessional.'"
- R40, there was a movie, but first a play: Sweet Bird of Youth, by Tennessee Williams.
- Miss Crawford was all class. Look at this photo. They look very natural. I'm sure all of this stuff is more urban legend than real. A Pepsi Bottle full of vodka, really. Joan Crawford was lady, she never would have drank directly from the bottle, soda or anything else.
- That really is a lovely photo r96. They both look so relaxed and downright charming, it seems to dispel any of the nasty rumors. I wonder if it was very early days of shooting?
Thanks for posting.
- I read that when she was making one of her last movies (a terrible circus movie), she hit on her costar, a hot young stud named Ty Hardin. He told her that he always chose who he slept with, not the other way around.
- Bette won the feud because she was the last bitch standing. Joan faked sick and chickened out of HUSH... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE at the last moment. Joan's consolation prize was getting a bigger cut of the profits, having opted for half the fee Bette took upfront but with 10% of the gross compared to Bette's 5%. Crawford ended up making twice the money Davis did.
THE STAR, in which Bette portrays the suffering of has-been film actress, was written by a husband-and-wife team who were friends with Crawford. Everyone in Hollywood knew they based the part on Joan. She got her revenge when the couple's daughter wanted to marry a young man of whom they disapproved.
Crawford brought the young lovers together under her roof and made all the arrangements for their wedding and "runaway" honeymoon. Afterwards, she called the writer-couple and happily delivered the news of the marriage just to spite them.
- I so wish Joan had stuck it out, and finished "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte". She was perfect for her role, and it would have been the greatest double-feature of all time, and the gayest!
Joan's style of acting was very specific. She's quite wonderful in "Sudden Fear", and yet the style of the film suits her as few other films she did subsequently managed to do. Her 1957 film also directed by David Miller, "The Story of Esther Costello" is quite watchable, and is a very interesting, and well-crafted movie. Joan is excellent in it, as is Rossano Brazzi.
- Her later career fizzled because she wasn't serious about being an actress. She was only serious about being a star.
I do, however, love some of her early films. I think she's terrific in RAIN and GRAND HOTEL. Really natural and very good indeed, not at all mannered like she became later on.
- R96 is an idiot.
She always drank Pepsi from the bottle, so as to show the logo. She belurged she was a valuable spokesman for the drink.
And everyone knew her bottle was always part Pepsi, part Stoli.
- That was "believed."
- For those way upthread, it's not "the PCH" it's just PCH.
- R78, Hepburn was an actor's actor. She alternated between stage and screen, was adept at both comedy and tragedy, essayed Shakespeare, Williams, and O'Neill, and played a wide range of roles, from tomboy to leading lady, from drug addicted mother to prim missionary, from Chinese peasant to Scottish queen to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hollywood continued to hand her plum roles well past 45 because they knew she could deliver the goods, was always professional, and wasn't hung up on looking youthful and glamorous onscreen.
Crawford was strictly a movie star. Whether portraying a murderous schizophrenic, a dime store waitress, a roadhouse hostess, or a put upon mother/wife, she was always Joan Crawford, glamorous movie star! After the studios folded and she was a little too long in the tooth for the romantic leading lady roles, what was a poor old movie queen to do? She didn't have the range for Hepburn's or even Bergman's later roles, she wasn't trained for the stage, and she arrogantly refused to do series television. Casting agents couldn't see past the glamour queen persona and quite frankly, she was too high maintenance for someone with declining box office appeal.
- She was a shitty actress. Especially later, she overacted everything. If she had not grown with the studio the way it used to be, no one whould know who that drunken bitch was.
- Several years ago, Mercedes McCambridge, her "Johnny Guitar" co- star, was asked in an interview about how she felt when Crawford took out all her clothes from her dressing trailer, on location, and burned them one night. This, after the infamous incident when the crew had actually applauded after one of Mercedes takes. She acknowledged the incident (always rumored) was true, and said 'Oh, and there was so much more.even worse. Miss Crawford was a very troubled lady. I'll talk about that all someday, but not now'. Of course, she died, and now I'm dying to know if she ever wrote what the 'worse' stuff was, or ever did speak about it ? Anyone ?
P.S. - Mercedes did one of the best line readings I've ever heard in "JG", when she looks at Joan, and with that amazing voice of hers, says so nastily- 'I'm going to keeel you'.
(Obviously) very believable.
- I fell in love with Mercedes McCambridge's talent when she was the voice talent for my cousin, Pazuzu, in THE EXORCIST.
- What was the incident that provoked Joan to set fire to Mercedes' costumes? That's pretty outrageous!
How were the costumes replaced for the next day's shooting? That must have caused huge delays and expenses for the studio.
- R16, Myrna Loy was a friend of Joan's as well.
- McCambridge is pretty close to brilliant in Johnny Guitar. Joan must have gone berserk when she watched the rushes.
- [quote]And everyone knew her bottle was always part Pepsi, part Stoli.
It was ALWAYS Smirnoff and it was ALWAYS 100 proof. Bless you.
- From a review of Michael Korda's "Another Life:"
"In a ``no-wire-hangers''-type episode, Korda encountered Joan Crawford's legendary temper when the star was on a national tour to promote her book. Crawford had stipulated that her hotel suites at each stop be filled with flowers in pastel colors, with the firm demand that no white flowers ever appear. Roused from sleep one night, Korda writes, ``I lifted the receiver and heard the familiar voice of Joan Crawford but raised in decibels to the level of a Boeing 707 leaving the runway. `I'm in Cleveland,' Joan howled. `And there are white flowers in my room!'' Years later, I happened to mention Joan's horror of white flowers to my Auntie Merle. She nodded, as if it made perfect sense. `In Hollywood, white flowers are for funerals,' she said crisply. `Joan knew that better than anyone.'"
- Joan was gay friendly in a time when being gay friendly was very difficult. All of you should be bowing down to her greatness.
- r101, I haven't seen RAIN, but I agree about GRAND HOTEL. When I saw it (already being familiar with her later work), I was sort of astonished at how natural and un-mannered she was. No hint of the phoniness or "grandness" that would come later. I feel like even by THE WOMEN (although I think she's good in it), you can start to feel it - it's believable that the actress in THE WOMEN later morphed into the actress in QUEEN BEE or TROG. But in GRAND HOTEL, it's like she's a different person.
- And what indication was there of that, r114? I don't remember any quote on the subject. I remember her stupid quote insulting feminists, which indicated she wasn't that liberal. And with her notorious mile-wide mean-streak, I doubt she was all that "friendly" about anyone.
- r116 I read that in Hollywood Babylon. She had many gay designer friends and I think I read they were her only close friends.
- How come Bette gets a pass. Apparently she was just as wretched.
- R113, I see nothing wrong with a little tantrum over flowers.
- R118, who says dear Bette gets a pass? There have been endless threads about Bette and her nasty temperament.
- She was close to Billy Haines, an actor turned interior decorator. He, and his lover, Jimmy Shields had "one of the best marriages in Hollywood," according to Crawford.
- ^^ Yes, we covered that upthread, try to keep up!
- Whoops. Thanks Pantsy!
- How marvelously evil of her, R99.
- I loved Joan's work in Humouresque. She seemed to be able to drop most of her mannerisms one final time.
- [quote]Joan was gay friendly in a time when being gay friendly was very difficult. All of you should be bowing down to her greatness.
Very true, R114. She was also a big supporter of black when it wasn't popular and she daringly kissed a black man onstage when she was collecting an award on someone's behalf.
She was a lifelong liberal as well.
- Sorry, "black rights".
- Actually, R7, Joan later said about Bara's comment: "Dear Theda! No one knew she was still alive."
- [quote]Pound me like a roadhouse whore!
Pound me, I'm a roadhouse whore, surely.
- She was basically a psycopath, right? An a somewhat wooden actress.
- She wasn't a shitty actress.
- [quote]She was basically a psycopath, right? An a somewhat wooden actress.
She wasn't a psychopath, maybe she was a sociopath and she definitely wasn't a wooden actress
- R105, Hepburn was a lot of things, but was hardly an "actor's actor". She was strictly in it for Hepburn, whether on stage or screen.
- Oh come on she was stiff and mannered as many actresses in her day were. She we be laughed off of a soap opera nowadays. Davis and Bergman acted circles around her.
- Hepburn WAS an interesting personality onscreen and off, but she was not the great actress we've all been bamboozled into believing. She was capable of some great performances, but she always pretty much played herself.
- Hepburn? Click-click-click
- It was the alcohol with Joan. When she was young, she wasn't described as wooden. As she aged and drank, and her career had its ups and downs, her talent began to reflect her insecurities.
- That very natural quality that we now admire so much in Joan's early 1930s performances was knocked out of her when she was replaced at Metro by the likes of Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner who were all as stiff and wooden as they come.
- The daughter referred to by R99 was Joan Evans, per the link.
- R135 splits hairs and thinks she's Vidal Sassoon.
- R96, as a matter of fact I had a friend who served as a walker for Crawford in the 1950s. And she always would take her own vodka with her in and from a flask, not the bottle as you rightly suggested. She didn't like drinking other people's vodka, because it wasn't up to the quality she demanded.
He did say it was a large flask.
And she would always make an entrance coming down the stairs well after he arrived, and she did want him to remove his shoes for the white carpet, and while she was professional about it she did just treat him like a flunky.
- Crawford really was a second rate actress.....look at this clip where Bette Davis steals the scene AND wipes the floor with her while sitting in a chair with her arms folded.
Like stealing candy from a baby.
- I know. I can't shut up tonight.
I always thought that Crawford in "Baby Jane" gave her most appealing, human performance ever. She worked hard to present the sympathetic portrayal needed to balance Davis' crazy-brave lunacy, and it served to provide the wallop when you finally learn the true story of THAT NIGHT.
It's too bad that both of them were diagnosably troubled by the time the film came out. Davis' intelligence and humor in front of the camera (despite her mannerisms) always outpaced whatever mannerisms Crawford based her performances on, and Crawford lacked the intelligence and humor to lift her work above or outside the material. But they could have made a great team and not only finished "Charlotte" together but gone on to other, better things.
- The Divine Feud (Cont'd.)
Neither Monte Westmore nor Bob Schiffer, Bette' makeup man, ever touched the stars' faces. "Joan did her own face and mouth," said Westmore. "And they were welcome to their mouths," said Schiffer. "I didn't believe in all that heavy lipstick, or the thick pancake around their eyes. On "Charlotte" I had my own makeup concept for Bette, which lasted about five minutes. She would say to me, 'Don't fuck with my face.' But she was a pro, with a great sense of humor. Once she gave me an eight-by-ten photograph of herself superimposed on the body of a Playboy cover girl. It was a very erotic pose. Some people thought it was really Bette. 'If this gets out, it's your ass,' she told me. She was very frank and was always a trouper, but inflexible about the look of her face and lips.
Crawford wouldn't listen to you either. All you did was work on the eyelashes, then hold the mirror for her between setups. It was a servitude position, and Joan made the slaves look like Boy Scouts."
Arriving for her first day of shooting at the Mississippi mansion, Crawford let it be known that, unlike Bette, she didn't intend to become too chummy with the film company. "She had her tailer set up at the back of the house, with her own golf cart to take her back and forth when we were filming," said Hary Mines.
"While Crawford rides around in her golf cart, Bette walks," Hedda Hopper reported.
"Bette lets her hair down but Joan surrounds herself with the aura of a great of yesterday. Times have changed and she doesn't seem to realize that," said Sheilah Graham.
"Bette was crazy in some areas, but she stayed a human being," Bob Gary recalled. "But Joan always had 'the act' going. She expected obeisance from everyone. When you approached her it was almost like you had to genuflect."
Life magazine decided to do a piece on the filming. The photographer assigned to that story was Flip Schulke. "Bette was fantastic," he said, "but Crawford was a bum. Bette joked around a lot, wearing blue jeans and carrying a big box of matches and a Coke bottle. Crawford had pepsi machines installed around the place; she was a very cool customer. She never seemed to show consideration for anyone. She always arrived three or four minutes late for her scenes. Bette would turn to me and say, 'She's making a grand entrance just for you.' I wanted to photograph the two of them making up. Bette started from scratch in her dressing room. When I got to Joan's trailer, she was already made up, and she posed very grandly with an eyebrow pencil, as though she was just beginning. Everything was posed with her. Nothing could be candid, and she would tell me when to take the picture."
When it came time to do the cemetery shots the session lasted for hours due to the stars' egos and conflicting schedules. Finally, Davis said, "I'm going to settle this once and for all, because I know you guys have a job to do.' She went to the back of the house to Joan's dressing room.
She rapped on her door, then stood outside and yelled, 'Joan Crawford! Get your clothes on and come and do these photographs, right away!"
Joan said, "Oh, Bette. I'm coming. I'm coming." She came hurtling out the door.
They did the photographs, and when it was all over, the photographer said "My God! I forgot to take some color." As it turned out, Life never used any of the shots. They were only interested in Bette and Joan as a team, so when Joan left the film, they killed the story, and the tombstone photographs were never published.
- From reading these accounts it seems like Bette was very crass. She hung out with the crew and would curse like a sailor and just be one of the gang. Meanwhile, Joan acted like a lady and remained a star, even after her best years were behind her. It seems as though she had no desire to be one of the boys and wanted it to be known and to be treated like a star.
- Well, I will hand it to Joan that she was a loyal pen pal. She actually corresponded with her fans. She would send a thank you note for a thank you note.
It's interesting that both their daughters wrote eviscerating memoirs.
And both daughters have ended up more or less alone, living in the middle of nowhere, BD with her crackpot ministry in Virginia and Christina divorced and having closed her scary B&B, retired in Spokane after her stroke.
- [quote]When I got to Joan's trailer, she was already made up, and she posed very grandly with an eyebrow pencil, as though she was just beginning.
LOL, love that!
- R142. You know, Bette Davis was clearly the better actress and a lot of fun- but having just read "The Divine Feud" and compared all of her antics with Joan's- there's no doubt in my mind who the better person (out of the two) was.
I enjoy them both, in different ways, and they both actually respected each other (Bette rather more begrudgingly!) in different ways. However, Davis was a megabitch- and her behaviour on the set of "Hush, Hush" came off as bullying and petty for a woman of her advanced years. Even framed in the history of the Crawford Oscar-accepting nonsense (which was actually a far more brief occasion than Davis suggested)- it's just kind of lame and disappointing she would behave in that way.
So Joan was a phony, but she had class, damn it! Bette was the artist and Joan was the star. Bette was a shit-kicker and Joan was a master of passive aggression.
This is why "Baby Jane" is so brilliant- they were playing themselves and a parody of themselves and their feud at the same time. And I think Crawford's muted performance was just what the role demanded. It's unfair to call her wooden- she just took some lousy scripts from the 50s to the end of her career in order to keep her name in lights.
I know, MARY!
- Honestly, it's just as well that Crawford left CHARLOTTE. If she had played Miriam, you would know from the first frame that woman was up to no good. DeHavilland manages to keep you guessing for a while.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
In 1967, Angela Lansbury was starring on Broadway in the musical Mame when Bob Aldrich considered her for the lead in his new movie, The Killing of Sister George. "We met with her in her hotel suite," said Lukas Heller. "When Bob offered her the part of the lesbian, Miss Lansbury became quite offended. "No, I think not," she told him. "I have my fans and reputation to think of."
Bette Davis was then approached. "I have no qualms about playing a lesbian," she told Leonard Lyons. "I have been married four times so I think my track record speaks for itself."
In November 1966 Sheilah Graham reported that Davis was also up for a lead role in Valley of the Dolls. She would play Helen Lawson, the tough, neurotic, boozy Broadway star, who was said to be an amalgam of several women, including Ethel Merman and Joan Crawford. Jacqueline Susann, author of the trash novel, dismissed that speculation. "Ethel Merman was a lady and a philanthropist compared to Joan Crawford," said Susann. "If I had known Joan when I was writing Valley of the Dolls, Helen Lawson would have been a monster."
She was still a bitch (Helen Lawson) and a strong part, Bette believed, and eager to land the movie role, she became good friends, temporarily, with author Susann. A shrewd quid-pro-quodealer, Susann also used Davis as her entree into what was left of Hollywood society. The two posed for magazine photographs at Bette's rented Malibu beach house. Susann also used Davis to push her book in media circles closed to her. Barred from appearing on the Johnny Carson TV show, Susann got Bette to plug her book for her. "You know, John" said Bette on the air to Carson, "I just read the most marvelous book. It's called "Valley of the Moon."
When Bette lost out on both Valley of the Dolls and The Killing of Sister George, she went back to England to make The Anniversary, "another horror exercise, for faint-hearted horror fans." The role of the fiendish one-eyed mother of three sons, one of whom "likes to wear ladies' underthings," came to Bette courtesy of Hammer Films, which was co-owned by her British son-in-law's family, the Hymans.
"They were Jewish and Mother still had an aversion to Jews," said B.D. "She even tried to get me to change my name after I married my husband Jeremy. I refused. I told her there was nothing wrong with Jews; they were God's chosen people. And the Hymans were good enough to employ her when no one else would."
"An affair now and then is good for a marriage. It adds spice, stops it from getting boring . . . I ought to know." Bette Davis, advising B.D. to cheat on her husband.
Christopher is 25 now and is in Vietnam. He's in Saigon, that's all I know. He's been running ever since he was 5; this is the one place he can't run from. It will make a man of him." Joan Crawford to the New York Post, 1967.
Publicly, Joan Crawford was inclined to downplay her desire for another husband. She told one reporter, "Every time I say I hope to remarry I get letters from retired Colonels, telling me they understand I am very rich, which I'm not, and that they still have all their teeth, and why don't we get together."
During the mid-sixties Crawford had a discreet but intense affair with an executive at Pepsi-Cola. He promised to leave his wife and childrren for the star-spokeswoman. Instead, under the pressure of an ultimatum from Joan, he left Pepsi for a better position at another company, where he refused to take her calls.
Joan was subsequently linked with Nelson Rockefeller, but he wed another. She then proposed to two men; dubious partners for passion, but perfect escorts.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
One was George Cukor, who displayed a 1966 photograph of Joan in his California home, endorsed with her signature and her offer of marriage.
The other candidate was acting guru Lee Strasberg. A recent widower, Strasberg was placed next to Joan at a dinner party in 1967 at the home of Jennifer Jones and David Selznick. The next day she sent him a letter. "At dinner last night at Jennifer's you were very sweet to me, and I meant what I said when I asked you to marry me," wrote Joan. "I think we'd make a wonderful couple."
Strasberg kept the letter, married a younger woman, and thereafter to paraphrase actress, Ruth Gordon, Crawford "drew the veil," retiring reluctantly but gracefully from the battle of the sexes.
- It must have been a very interesting dinner party indeed R151, considering Selznick died two years before this supposed dinner party took place.
- [quote]considering Selznick died two years before this supposed dinner party took place.
- To: R126: What year did Joan Crawford kiss a black man onstage (when accepting an award on someone's behalf)? Did the press make a big deal about it? Who was the black gentleman she kissed?
- Wow R152. That's a pretty big error! Paging Shaun Considine!!!
- She kisses Sammy Davis Jr. at 2:10:
- [quote]Wow [R152]. That's a pretty big error! Paging Shaun Considine!!!
Could it be that Selznick wasn't there (in person). It says that the party was at Jennifer and David Selznick's home ... but Crawford makes mention of meeting at "Jennifer's."
- True r157, Selznick could've been included just to name-drop, to make a dinner party there seem more important.
- Of course I was WONDERFUL in that Johnny Depp film "Don Juan de Marco"!!
- R142, I have to disagree with you from what I saw in that clip. I've never seen WHtBJ, but in that clip, I thought Crawford gave the better performance. She had to convey at least four things at once: reticence, fear, betrayal, frustration, all while trying to keep Davis' character at bay. Davis just had to be angry and insane.
- Its amazing how fascinating both La Davis and La Crawford were. I love the story how Davis knocked on Crawford's door and demanded she get dressed and come out right away for the Life photo shoot. Lol...
I think Miss Davis intimidated Crawford for many reasons. Crawford knew how to behave like a star, but, its easy to tell she came from a lower class background. Joan wasn't refined or elegant in my opinion. Marlene Dietrich, Dina Merrill, Loretta Young, Myrna Loy & a few others were/are truly refined and elegant.
- Very true, R160.
- [quote]I think Miss Davis intimidated Crawford for many reasons. Crawford knew how to behave like a star, but, its easy to tell she came from a lower class background. Joan wasn't refined or elegant in my opinion. Marlene Dietrich, Dina Merrill, Loretta Young, Myrna Loy & a few others were/are truly refined and elegant.
I don't think being ladylike came naturally to Crawford like it might have to Loretta Young or Greer Garson. She was just to hardened by life; she could kill you then serve you up afterwards.
- I used to know a guy who's grandfather drove for Miss Crawford for a few years in the 50's. I was told Joan came across as a fragile woman behind the scenes as the years passed. Allegedly, she was very insecure & bitter about Hollywood not fully accepting her. Aging in Hollywood and her quickly fading star in the 50's also took a toll. Its said that Davis was one of the few co-stars who stood up to Joan with brute force and never blinked. I agree with R 163: Joan was hardened by life and acted out when others objected to her passive agressive tricks. I think Joan faked her sickness on Hush, Hush Sweet Charlette (sp), because Miss Davis gave Crawford a lot of alleged "in your face" hatred during shooting, etc. It was Miss Davis's payback to Joan for doing all she could to keep Davis from winning her third Oscar for Baby Jane.
Oh, to be a fly on the set of Baby Jane....
- These people working under the misapprehension that Crawford was a lady make me smile.
She was a low-class, crude whore.
She just did something we in the South call "putting on airs."
And that type of "lady" is ridiculous as she is insufferable, as Tennessee Williams was well aware.
- Oh please, r165. Miss Crawford remained a lady while other crass actors in the game tried to bring her down. She was not without flaws and insecurities, but you can't question that she was 1) a star and 2) a lady.
- R 166: I met Joan in the late fifties and stayed in touch with her for many years (until 1972 or so.) Joan was not a lady in private behavior. She was very lonely. She lived for her fans and put on airs because she loved being Joan Crawford. Being a star meant the world to her. She later laughed about how serious she took herself. I will always respect the fact that she worked tireless all her life. She was a sexual politician for many years in her career. She used and bullied a lot of people. Joan also abused her power and turned many people off. Many in Hollywood thought of her as common.
I was always polite to her, but, I was firm when I needed to be. You had to let her know where she stood with you. If you were meek, she could be bossy and tough. With all that said, she could also be the sweetest person. She never felt good enough. I think her brutal childhood had a lot to do with it. I always enjoyed going to lunch with her. She was a loyal and liberal woman who always fought for the less fortunate. She would proudly invite gay, lesbian and Black friends to her Brentwood home when it wasn't considered wise to do so. Pearl Bailey & Barbara Stanwyck were friends she dearly loved. She had a lot of respect for Bette Davis even though she & Bette had their differences. Joan was a special person. Its my bedtime fellas. Goodnight
- The black gentleman Joan kissed was Sidney Poitier who presented the Oscar won by Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker, which Joan so graciously accepted in Bancroft's absnece on her behalf.
Poitier had won Best Actor the previous year for Lillies of the Field.
What's hard to believe nowadays is Anne Bancroft not being able to get out of a NY stage commitment (I think she was playing Mother Courage at Lincoln Center) for a night or two in order to attend the Oscars.
And then even harder to believe Bancroft didn't have a close friend or colleague (or her director Arhtur Penn?!) who she might have preferred accept the Oscar should she win.
Were Joan and Anne really such close friends? I doubt it! Was Bancroft in on the conspiracy to humiliate Bette for some reason? How did Joan ever strong arm Bancroft into this decision?
I think looking back on the nominees, Bancroft was the clear favorite to win.
I wonder if Bancroft ever commented on this event? It's really most peculiar when you think about it.
- R168, Joan called around to all the other nominees to see if anyone wouldn't be able to attend. In those days it was quite common for some nominees to be absent. When Anne Bancroft said she wouldn't be attending, Joan offered to accept the award for her, should she win. They weren't close, but Crawford was a much bigger star than Bancroft, and Bancroft had no reason to refuse the request, so she said yes.
- [quote]Christopher is 25 now and is in Vietnam. He's in Saigon, that's all I know. He's been running ever since he was 5; this is the one place he can't run from. It will make a man of him." Joan Crawford to the New York Post, 1967.
My mother said the same thing to me when my number came up in the Vietnam draft lottery: "It will make a man of you." I had turned down a job with her uncle's engineering firm and she was angry.
I always thought of my mother like the Mary Tyler-Moore role in Ordinary People. She was a sophisticated, social woman. But cold. I can see parts of her in Crawford too.
What I came to find out after my mother passed away was that she had been sexually abused by her father as a young girl. When I was going through her pictures I looked at all her childhood school photos. She was smiling up until the second grade. By third grade, she was a frightened, confused, troubled little girl. When I saw that picture, it broke my heart. And it explained so much. Some women have to grow up fast, from a young age, robbed of a real childhood. It wasn't that I felt my mother didn't love me, it was more like she didn't know how. I'd wager a bet that Joan was sexually abused as a child.
- Very insightful post r170.
- Whatever happened to the son she strapped to the bed?
- Christopher? He died.
- It was director, George Cukor, when talking about actresses he worked with, late in his life, refered to Crawford as 'common'. He was a friend, but when someone brought up some comments about Crawford always being 'the star', he gave his opinion. It was after she died. Anyway, he had worked with her many times (including "The Women"), so he would know.
- Bette's distaste fo Joan improved her performance in Baby Jane. You totally believe Jane loathes her sister.
- Good point, R175.
- A photo from the Joe Eula shoot described in R94's post.
- Wasn't the basis of the feud between Davis and Crawford the fact that Joan wanted to eat Bette's pussy, but she wasn't into Joan?
- Joan Crawford was a stupid cunt lapper
- When Crawford arrived at Warner Brothers after being let go at Metro, she arrived with the full knowledge that Miss Davis was not to be screwed with in any way. Bette was also The Queen of Warner Bros. Joan tried to let Bette know she realized Bette was Queen of the Lot, but, Bette thought of Joan as common and let her know it by her actions. She'd often tell others that Joan slept w/ everyone but Lassie (in Hollywood.) Joan allegedly had a crush on Bette and would send very nice gifts to Bette's trailer often. Bette wasn't having it and would send them back. Bette would also grandly snub Joan on the lot. The fued was allegedly born due to Bette having zero sexual interest in Joan whatsoever (along w/ wanting nothing to do w/ Joan as a peer or friend. This caused Joan to act out at Bette on the lot. This is how the fued allegedly started. Joan was tough, but, Bette was tougher. I'd see both of them several times a week, on the lot after being dropped off after school. I knew both casually, but, wasn't close to either of them. My Dad was a crewman at Warner Brothers in the 1930's, 1940's and 50's. Funny thing, I never thought of them as stars. I thought of them as career women because I saw how hard they worked at their craft.
Hollywood Old Timer
- IIRC Joan was signed by Warners but it took a couple of years before she agreed to make a film, turning down all their offers until Mildred Pierce came along. Maybe the early 1940s were more occupied with bringing little Christina into her home?
Does anyone know if Bette was offered MP first? Though I think by 1945, Bette was already on her downward slide, until her 1950 comeback in All About Eve. I think Jack Warner was actually pretty fed up with Bette by the time Joan was brought to Warners.
- R181, MP was indeed offered to Davis, but she turned it down. Michael Curtiz then wanted Barbara Stanwyck, but eventually chose Crawford after she proved herself worthy in a screen test.
- You're a doll, R180. Thanks for posting. Very interesting.
- If Davis or Stanwyck had played Mildred, would they have won the Oscar?
Davis, I think not. It would have seemed like just another shrewish Davis performance by 1945. And she had really lost her looks by then and would have been questionable as the mother of the younger daughter.
Somehow, I don't eve think Stanwyck would have as successful in the role. She was just too hard by 1945, and that's saying something in comparison to Crawford.
- I think Stanwyck might have won it. I just saw her in the 1953 Titanic. Tough, yes, but there was a vulnerability to her character as well--just as with Mildred. Interesting discussion. Would Joan have made as compelling a Stella Dallas?
- Give Crawford credit. She knew when to bow out. She saw a picture of herself at an event and felt it was time to call it quits. For someone who was always dismissed as ego-centric, it was a smart and unfamewhorish thing to do.
I love Bette, but I have no idea what possessed her to go on those talk shows post stroke in those bizzare outfits and rehash the same stories over and over again. B.D. was already out of her life by then, so what excuse was there? Bette should have limited her work greatly and her appearances next to none. Her appearance was too rough and sickly, and the whole thing took on an air of ghastly camp.
- You don't consider Davis simply may have been enjoying it because it gave her something to do.
- But she was getting the chance to do serious work like Whales of August, so it wasn't like she had no other avenues.
I just find it odd that someone who always prided herself on being non-glamorous and a serious actress would resort to that in her last few years. It seemed sad.
- [quote]Somehow, I don't eve think Stanwyck would have as successful in the role. She was just too hard by 1945, and that's saying something in comparison to Crawford.
You should see her in the movies she made with Sirk in the 40s and 50s. She's very touching in some of the sequences. There is a long silent take in "All I Desire" where Stanwyck is returning home to the family she abandoned and you can read all the subtle shifts in her emotions by just watching her eyes.
- [quote]I love Bette, but I have no idea what possessed her to go on those talk shows post stroke in those bizzare outfits and rehash the same stories over and over again.
Attention. Big movie stars, as a general rule, crave the limelight. There are exceptions, but Bette Davis wasn't one of them.
- Bette had hardly "lost her looks" by the mid-'40s.
- ^^ "Don't you be trying to speak bad about Miss Davis! I cut you!"
- Say what you will about Mario Cantone (I've seen a lot of shit spewed about him on DL), he did a hilarious bit in his standup about post-stroke Bette playing Mary Jo Buttafuoco post-bullet.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
In March 1953, Lawrence Quirk, author of The Films of Joan Crawford and writer, editor, and publisher of his own newsletter, offered his timely thesis -- "THE CULT OF BETTE AND JOAN. The True Reasons Why They Drive Homosexuals Wild."
Analyzing the "frenzied, high-camp" element involved in the gay preoccupation with Davis and Crawford, Quirk said the stars "mirrored certain frenzied, posturing, arrogant, prima-donna-ish, ego-deifying, self-projective, super-compensating principles that psychologists and psychiatrists have spotted in the more aggressive and flamboyant homosexuals, especially those in show business." [LMFAO!!]
In Now Voyager, Davis was mother-dominated, fat, and unattractive, but she transformed herself into a swan and landed herself a beautiful man, which was exactly the same scenario as "many a gay gone New York-way via Florida or some godforsaken hinterland."
Then there was Joan Crawford in The Damned Don't Cry, bursting out of a dull small town and using a ladder of men to get "a plushy pad, groovy duds, etc. culminating in a Gotterdammerung of masochistic hell-let-loose [sic] with a fast fall back to the gutter." Many a homosexual could identify with that too, Quirk opined.
And with Joan in Possessed, when she shoots the man she can't have, offering gays vicarious purgation because, "being essentially non-violent," they prefer to watch Joan Crawford do the killing for them. Men, money, and power -- these were the three things the two actresses were in aggressive, intent pursuit of, the author said in summation, and that was why the typical "cross-seciton" homosexual got a bang out of old Bette and Joan movies.
"Your article was very informative," Joan Crawford told Quirk.
Bette Davis was more expansive for Playboy. "Homosexuals are probably the most artistic and appreciative human beings who worship films and theater," she said. "Certainly, I've been one of those artists they admire very much. It was always said that Judy Garland and I had the biggest following, but I don't think it's fair to say it's because I'm flamboyant. I'm not flamboyant. In my personal life, I've never been known as flamboyant. Joan Crawford was flamboyant."
- I think Joan wanting to finally just shut herself up in her NY apartment by the end of her life was justified, but I can also admire Bette for not wanting to sit alone at home and do nothing.
It's a personal preference and those that question either side are too young to understand the situation of extreme old age.
I don't think there was ever a lack of audience and curiosity for Bette whenever she appeared on any talk show, no matter how late in life it was. She was always sharp and witty and fun, even post-stroke.
Remembering that outift with the big covered buttons and matching hat?
- I wouldn't be a bit surprised if R170 was correct, and Joan was sexually abused as a child. Certainly she got other kinds of abuse, it isn't a big stretch.
I also suspect that she was like Marilyn Monroe, in that she used sex for power and gain, but didn't enjoy it physically. Joan wanted to get her way, she wanted to be desired, she wanted to feed her ego, she wanted to render people vulnerable to she could manipulate the... with all that, who needs orgasms.
- Could the essence of their feud be as simple as Bette was never as beautiful as Joan and envied that beauty. While Joan was insecure and craved approval from Bette, Bette's bitterness of Joan's looks and glamour, wouldn't allow Joan in.
- Considering the genuinely gorgeous beauties that Bette was up against in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, I can't imagine she was intimidated by Joan because of her appearance.
- Btte was in love with Franchot Tone, he married Joan. There's your feud.
Joan was jealous of Bette' talent. Bette was jealous of Joan's wealth.
Bette was the 'artistic' actress.
Joan was the 'technical' actress.
They both would have done well to ditch the late age horror films and just directed films.
- Joan was still quite beautiful in the 1940s, R198.
I don't know how striking she was in person, but the camera still loved her with a passion, and it never felt that way about Bette Davis.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
One favorite tale, delivered by Joan in a flawless imitation of Bette Davis, recounted the time in 1943 when the two rivals met at Warner Brothers. 'When she first went to the studio, Joan told me she tried very hard to make peace with Davis," said Carl Johnes. "She went to her one day and said, 'Bette we are now at the same studio. We have the same boss, the same friends in New York. We've had a similar career.'
And Davis listened to all this, then, waving her arms and popping her eyes, she said, 'So WHAT!' -- which Crawford mimicked perfectly.
In November 1971 Davis was honored with a day at the prestigious Players Club in New York. "She arrived looking very chic," said Sanford Dody, co-author of her book The Lonely Life. 'At one o'clock in the afternoon she was wearing a little suit, and sables. She was every inch Miss Margo Channing."
The following year Joan Crawford had her day at the Gramercy Park Club. "She arrived in a peekaboo dress, fuck-me shoes, and her hair was blown out. She looked like a dress manufacturer's lay for the night," said Dody.
The marked difference between Crawford and Davis, Dody believed, was that "Joan never truly knew who she was -- ever. She was very insecure as a person. She never had that center of gravity that Bette Davis had. From the minute Bette came out of the womb she screamed her name to the moon. She was also a very great artist. That artistry gave her a very strong center. Whereas Crawford, although I think she's underestimated as a movie actress, was never a great performer. Some of her old movies are excellent, but she never had the acting ability of Bette."
Film critic Judith Crist agreed. "Bette was an actor who was also a movie star. She had the impact, the gestures, and everything else. She was unique, complete; her only equal today is Meryl Streep. Joan Crawford, on the other hand, was a product of the movies. She was created shot by shot. She could not have a life of her own upon a stage. That's the difference. The ultimate test."
When Crawford followed Davis at the Town Hall appearance in April 1973, "she had prepared herself," said publicist John Springer. "A Crawford spy was at all the preceding shows. She knew exactly how Bette Davis entered, how Myrna Loy took her bows." Following clips from her great hits -- Grand Hotel, The Women, Mildred Pierce, Sudden Fear, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Joan was pushed from the wings into the spotlight onstage. The volume and length of her ovation (greater than Bette's, she would boast) stunned, then dissolved, the Legend.
"Grateful tears dripped from her eyes to the floor," said Arthur Bell. "But somehow the mascara stayed intact. So did the famous shoulders, the mouth, the shoes." Responding to written questions, Joan was asked if she knew the name for her famous ankle-strapped shoes. "It starts with an 'f,'" said Crawford, "and I think, if you remember, they held me up a goddamn long time." She said she enjoyed playing mean women, "because there's a little bit of bitch in every woman, and a lot in every man."
And what was it like to work with Bette Davis?
"It was one of the greatest challenges I ever had," said Joan seriously. Pausing to allow the laughter from the audience to taper off, she added, "I meant that kindly. Bette is of a different temperment than I. Bette had to yell every morning. I just sat and knitted. I knitted a scarf from Hollywood to Malibu."
- Ok, I'm the previous poster who claimed neither Joan nor Bette was much to look at by 1945 but I've been proven wrong by the photo (and gilf) evidence. I take it back and apologize.
- That pic at r201, Joan is simply stunning. They didn't have photoshop back then.
- For those who don't know, Joan was NOT pushed out of MGM, nor fired in any way. THat scene in "Mommie Dearest" is complete fiction. Her last contract at Metro had been for only three years, not seven, and for a lower salary than she had been earning pre-1940. MGM sure served her up some clunkers, but they were happily going to re-sign Joan in 1943, just for less than she was making currently. Joan still had value to MGM, and they would keep her, just aware of her somewhat diminished box office appeal. Joan owed them one more picture on her current contract, and it looked like another stinker. She was terrified this would finish her off in Hollywood once and for all. It was a far less forgiving environment then, than it is today believe it or not. After finishing "Above Suspicion", Joan arranged to BUY HERSELF out of the last picture on her contract, for a rather considerable sum, I think it was $180,000, which she paid MGM to end their agreement.
Almost everyone sees it as a very wise career move, as she won a new lease on her career and an Oscar once at Warner Bros. Ultimately, she did the same thing in 1951 at Warner's and bought herself out of her last film there to pursue "Sudden Fear" which she had put together at Universal, and again was nominated for an Academy Award, and gave her career a boost. Sadly after her next film "Torch Song" that boost was almost gone.
- R203, they re-touched photos in those days be literally paining the negative or the actual photo, so you're right that there was no Photoshop, but they certainly touched up photos.
- Crawford by Hurrell (retouched version)
- Crawford by Hurrell (unretouched version--note Crawford's freckles.)
- I like this early one by Hurrell
- The excepts from that book exhibit some of the most purple prose I have ever read.
I don't think I would be able to get through the book without exclaiming "MARY!" ten times a page.
- Another Hurrell in an Adrian spacesuit that's both weird and glamorous, mostly the former.
- The photos at r206 and r207 really prove what a beauty she is. The retouching was barely nothing compared to what they do now.
- Wow, R210, that could've been taken yesterday. Amazing.
- R210: The reflected light on her face makes Joan look as if she has a horrid case of cystic acne.
- I'm not a Crawford fan, but I've always thought that the Hurrell/Crawford pairing represented perhaps the best symbiosis of artist and subject. He deified her, elevated her from mere star to the ultimate glamour goddess, and she was the model muse, twisting and contorting her body in dramatic poses and giving such fierce face! There are so many jaw-droppingly beautiful shots of Crawford done by Hurrell, but I think my favorite is this simple chiaroscuro portrait.
- I was stunning, wasn't I?
Joan, as always
- Joan had perfect bone structure in her face, which was practically symmetrical. She and Norma Shearer and Jean Harlow were the subjects of some of his best work.
- By the time Joan returned to MGM for Torch Song, was LB Mayer still in charge?
I remember Esther Williams, in her autobiography, had some vile things to say about Joan's comeback at the studio. By then Esther was pretty much Queen of the Lot, which tells you something about MGM in the early 1950s.
Torch Song was Joan's first film in technicolor but by then she was too old for the garish qualities it brought out in her hair and makeup.
- Exactly, R217 -- it was the CAMERA's fault!
- I thought Crawford's decline only started after she did "House of Style" on MTV.
- In all honesty though, Joan didn't die in too bad a place, did she? I mean she was still rich, she wasn't hiding in shame with a drug addiction (aside from alcohol), she had a swanky NY pad, she had a good career in her heyday. There are worse things that can happen to an aging actress, look at Lilo.
- I think Joan Crawford was at her most beautiful during the 1940s. Losing her youthful softness really brought out her wonderful bone structure, and that's the period when she wore longer hair, and lighter, more naturalistic makeup.
She wore too much makeup when young, and a grotesque amount when older.
- It's always time for another look at Bette Davis gamely performing the song "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" on The Andy Williams Show.
- [quote]By the time Joan returned to MGM for Torch Song, was LB Mayer still in charge?
He left in 1951.
[quote]I remember Esther Williams, in her autobiography, had some vile things to say about Joan's comeback at the studio. By then Esther was pretty much Queen of the Lot, which tells you something about MGM in the early 1950s.
Only in her own mind was Esther "Queen of the Lot".
- Joan Crawford was an old booze bag. She looked OK in the early thirties, hard after that. She was also a real shitty actress.
- That Baby Jane song by Bette Davis was awful. Andy Williams should have walked on that stage and beat the shit out of her. If he gave her a real hard cunt punch no one would have blamed him.
- Who was Queen of the MGM Lot in the early 1950s? I guess whoever it was she was the last Queen of that Lot.
Mrs. Irv Thalberg
- I'm not sure who was "QOTL" in the early fifties but it definitely wasn't Esther Williams. (I vaguely remember a thread about her "embellished" autobiography in which she probably made all sorts of other grand claims.)
After Mayer left Greer Grason stopped being "QOTL". Gene Kelly might've been "QOTL" in the early fifties.
- During the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was Queen of the MGM lot.
- The early '50s were the waning years of Greer Garson's reign. She eventually left MGM in 1954. But who was being groomed to take her place. Perhaps Deborah Kerr? Esther definitely was one of the studios's most bankable stars at the time, but was she in Lana or Ava's league?
- [quote]Esther definitely was one of the studios's most bankable stars at the time, but was she in Lana or Ava's league?
Esther was about equal in status to Kathryn Grayson, Ann Miller and Jane Powell.
[quote]During the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was Queen of the MGM lot.
From the mid fifties to her departure she was, in the early fifties she wouldn't have been "QOTL".
- [quote]That Baby Jane song by Bette Davis was awful.
Somewhere along the line, she lost any perception about her performance skills. She's consistently awful from the time of All About Eve (with a brief respite during WHTBJ) until her death. No one would much care, except that she had been an incredibly skilled performer in her youth.
- The song was dreadful, but Bette did seem nice in her repartee with Williams beforehand.
- r230: You are totally wrong on Williams being on the same box-office level as Grayson, Miller & Powell. Williams had films built around her while the other ladies were part of ensemble casts.
Esther Williams films (until JUPITER'S DARLING) were HUGE, reliable money-makers for MGM.
- [quote]You are totally wrong on Williams being on the same box-office level as Grayson, Miller & Powell. Williams had films built around her while the other ladies were part of ensemble casts.
Most often Williams, Grayson and Powell had a leading man receiving headline billing with them. Ann Miller was mostly supporting in an ensemble.
[quote]Esther Williams films (until JUPITER'S DARLING) were HUGE, reliable money-makers for MGM.
They were all reliable money-makers but they weren't huge hits. She didn't have a single movie in the top ten highest grossing movies of the year any year in the early fifties
- JOAN CRAWFORD will never be forgotten. She was a real star and an amazing actress and bitch.
- [quote]JOAN CRAWFORD will never be forgotten.
She already is pretty much forgotten except by old queens.
Once the old queens die she will be totally forgotten.
Younger people refuse to watch any movie in black and white.
- R236, you are wrong. Just because the young people you know don't watch old movies, that doesn't mean that all young people lack culture.
- R237 How wonderfully droll that you think the schlock Joan Crawford set to film passes for "culture."
- You're right, R235.
That Joan has lasted this long and is still so discussed (very often on DL) is a testament to her, when many of her contemporaries are forgotten (e.g. Norma Shearer]
Joan became a star because the public genuinely liked her unlike Shearer who Hollywood kept trying to make happen.
I wonder if Joan had have lived to see herself the best remembered silent star in part because of "Mommie Dearest" would she have been proud of it.
- R236/R237 is again right.
Even if they've never seen one of her movies most young people today have a vague idea who Joan is, unlike most of her contemporaries who they've probably never heard of.
- R238 sarcasm isn't a sign of intelligence, not really. Penetrate your feisty nature and you will find out that i'm much right than you are now. Cinema is culture and some of Crawford's performances were really classy and inspirational. You act like a total asshole, by the way.
- Crawford made some good movies, R238.
- *I'm much more right than you are now savage R238
- [quote]How wonderfully droll that you think the schlock Joan Crawford set to film passes for "culture."
Schlock and culture aren't mutually exclusive. Surely any serious student of film would be as interested in the women's pictures of the 1940s as the works of Eisenstein.
I thought Pauline Kael made this point clear 40 years ago.
- Some of you old crones get rather testy when your idols are appraised by less star-struck eyes.
It is a folly of human vanity to think that the things we regard as memorable and important shall be regarded as such when we are dead.
- [quote]Surely any serious student of film would be as interested in the women's pictures of the 1940s as the works of Eisenstein.
Which sort of makes my point: In 50 years, Joan Crawford will be little more than a footnote, known only to those few who study films of 20th century.
- R246, you can't predict the future. You are not that wise and you can't be that sure for what will happen in some years from now. Ffs, stop just spitting poison and consider that wisedom and truth.
- Joan was considered a has-been in the early forties and yet we're still talking about her. I'm sure eventually she will be forgotten but she has lasted quite long.
- [quote]It is a folly of human vanity to think that the things we regard as memorable and important shall be regarded as such when we are dead.
True enough, but that folly doesn't really provide a reason not to enjoy something now.
"Oh, I don't want to watch "Flamingo Road" again.
No one will remember it in 2060 and Sydney Greenstreet has been dead for eons.
- *and stop considering that as wisdom and truth
Shit, you got my point anyway and i got yours
- [quote]you can't predict the future
That's rich, coming from the Oracle of American Cinema who prophesied:
"JOAN CRAWFORD will never be forgotten."
- Joan will eventually forgotten as will everyone.
Let's drop this topic.
- r234: Williams was pretty big. Her films weren't prestige, but they weren't cheap to make and always made money. Lots of money. She was reliable.
I'd be curious to know what Williams box-office ranking was next to Judy Garland.
- [quote]Williams was pretty big. Her films weren't prestige, but they weren't cheap to make and always made money. Lots of money. She was reliable.
She was big, but not huge.
[quote]I'd be curious to know what Williams box-office ranking was next to Judy Garland.
Garland was a much bigger star than Williams. They weren't in the same league at all.
- Williams' box office:
Million Dollar Mermaid\t
Annette Kellerman \t \t
Duchess of Idaho\t
Christine Riverton Duncan \t \t$2,600,000\t
Eve Barrett \t \t
On an Island with You\t
Rosalind Reynolds \t \t
Maria Morales \t \t
This Time for Keeps\t
Leonora 'Nora' Cambaretti \t \t$3,600,000\t
Easy to Wed\t
Connie Allenbury \t \t
Specialty \t \t
Thrill of a Romance\t
Cynthia Glenn \t \t
Caroline Brooks \t \t\t$3,500,000\t
A Guy Named Joe\t
Ellen Bright \t \t\t
- Thank you for the link, R255.
A Star is Born\t
Esther Blodgett \t \t\t$4,400,000\t
In the Good Old Summertime\t
Veronice Fisher \t \t
Hannah Brown \t \t
Words and Music\t
Herself \t \t
Manuela \t \t\t
Till the Clouds Roll By\t
Marilyn Miller \t \t\t
The Harvey Girls\t
Cameo appearance \t \t\t$3,600,000\t
Alice Mayberry \t \t
Meet Me in St. Louis\t
Esther Smith \t
Ginger Gray \t
For Me and My Gal\t
Jo Hayden \t \t
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy Gale \t \t
- [quote]Joan became a star because the public genuinely liked her unlike Shearer who Hollywood kept trying to make happen.
Well, that's not accurate at all. Norma Shearer was a bona fide star in her day. And as one of MGM's biggest box office attraction in the 1930s, with 5 Oscar nominations (and 1 win) in the span of nine years, she was legitimately the Queen of the MGM (of course, it helped that she was Thalberg's wife). Joan, who didn't get her first Oscar nomination until 1945-46, complained bitterly about Shearer getting all the prestige parts. Shearer retired from the limelight early (in 1942), which is a big reason why she isn't remembered much today.
- IMDb claims Garland got paid $100,000 for "Words and Music", in which she plays herself.
Has anyone seen it? Is her role a cameo or a main character?
- [quote]Shearer retired from the limelight early (in 1942), which is a big reason why she isn't remembered much today.
Plus, she was awful.
She played a menopausal teenage Marie Antoinette and then tried at every opportunity to ruin The Women with her cloying, hammy performance.
- [quote]Well, that's not accurate at all. Norma Shearer was a bona fide star in her day.
Yes, but there's no way she would have become a star without being to an executive.
She was a star in the same way that Gwyneth Paltrow is a star, Hollywood keeps handing her big movie roles but the public wouldn't care if she died tomorrow.
[quote]And as one of MGM's biggest box office attraction in the 1930s, with 5 Oscar nominations (and 1 win) in the span of nine years, she was legitimately the Queen of the MGM (of course, it helped that she was Thalberg's wife). Joan, who didn't get her first Oscar nomination until 1945-46, complained bitterly about Shearer getting all the prestige parts
Shearer got those prestige parts and Oscar nominations because of whom she was married to.
Crawford was passed over for many prestige parts she wanted. Whilst Thalberg gave his wife first pick.
[quote]Shearer retired from the limelight early (in 1942), which is a big reason why she isn't remembered much today.
And never worked again. Perhaps things would've turned out differently if Thalberg hadn't died.
- Let's not forget her mid-thirties Juliet, R260.
- Joan Crawford quote:
There was a saying around M-G-M: "Norma Shearer got the productions, Greta Garbo supplied the art, and Joan Crawford made the money to pay for both."
[quote]and then tried at every opportunity to ruin The Women with her cloying, hammy performance.
She was actually at her best (which was still very awful) in that role because she was playing an entitled, nagging frau.
She barely had to try and still Crawford stole every scene from her.
- Anyone ever notice how Joan Crawford always has her own special lighting for her face in her movies? Especially when she's sitting there delivering a monologue, in total darkness, but for a boxy light around the eyes...I think she demanded that type of lighting in all her pictures.
- What surprised me about The Women is how old Crawford looked.
She was no fresh-out-of-school shop girl.
She was good in the role, because you can buy her as a bitch, but much too old looking.
- R260, I think Shearer was fantastic in her earlier Pre-Code films, playing free spirits and liberated women with questionable morals. After that, she kept playing respectable, noble women, which perhaps [italic]hampered[/italic] her natural inclinations.
- She was playing a whore in "The Women". They age prematurely and have a hard look to them. Like Cristal Connors.
The light she had is called a key light. Today they're much more natural.
- All of Joan's Oscar Noms and her win for MP were well deserved. She ,ay not have gotten the prestige parts, but she was no slouch.
- Crawford and lighting. She was a pro. I love the scene in Female on the Beach when she's being photographed in her beach house and a dazzle of lights keeps circling on her face to suggest waves hitting the shore in the moonlight. It looked so fake. And so glamorous.
- Norma Shearer seemed to forget silent pictures were over in her early talkies. All the woe is me hand gesters and shit. I thought she was an overrated actress. Five nominations?! I had no idea she had that many. I don't think she deserved them.
- [quote] I thought she was an overrated actress. Five nominations?! I had no idea she had that many. I don't think she deserved them.
Of course she didn't but, what Norma wants, Norma gets.
- You guys are bringing back lots of childhood and teen memories. It was nothing strange to see Joan Crawford sweeping outside her dressing room door at Warner Brothers. She was very neat and tidy. Joan would give crewmen and other backstage workers cash when they needed it (my Dad mentioned this many times.) Joan was very pleasant with the crew, wardrobe, makeup, etc., because she knew in return they would give her their best during filming. She would also stay at the studio when making a picture. Bette looked grand even when wearing jeans, a blouse and loafers. The crew loved Bette. She was a classy dame. As I grew up, I could tell that Joan loved to drink. Looking back, I feel a little sorry for her. She was very insecure & abused her power if she didn't get her way. I'll never forget seeing Miss Hepburn and La Dietrich visit Bette on the set. Talk about grand. They were grand without even trying....especially Dietrich. Marlene was alluring, pleasant and a great Diva. I loved the way she carried herself. What a lady. The good old days indeed. I had no way of knowing history was being made.
Hollywood Old Timer
- [quote]Five nominations?! I had no idea she had that many. I don't think she deserved them.
The Academy Awards were created by MGM and Mayer specifically for the purpose of promoting and awarding MGM films. Shearer's nominations and her win for that terrible film, The Divorcee, were directly due to her marriage to Thalberg.
Crawford may not be remembered in 50 years, but Shearer has been all but forgotten for decades.
- r259: I'm very surprised you haven't seen WORDS & MUSIC. Garland has a big cameo, where she plays herself.
Rodgers (Tom Drake) and (Mickey Rooney) are at a party when Hart notices her "Hey! It's Judy Garland!" "Hello, Larry!" says a happy Judy, and she socks over a thrilling "Johnny One-Note" and duets "I Wish I Were In Love Again" with Rooney. It was their last appearance together at MGM, and it's rather sad. Garland looks thin and a bit tired, while Rooney mugs and gambols about all over the place. The magic of their screen teaming is long gone.
("I Wish I Were In Love Again" was written for BABES IN ARMS, but like most of the original score does not figure in the Garland-Rooney BABES IN ARMS film of 1939)
- Actually, when I said Shearer had 5 nominations, I was mistaken, she had 6! She was a double nominee (along with Garbo's double nom for "Anna Christie" and "Romance") in 1930 for "The Divorcee" and "Their Own Desire," winning for the former. Her other nominations were for "A Free Soul" (1931), "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" (1934), "Romeo and Juliet" (1936), and "Marie Antoinette" (1938).
- Very interesting thread.
And yes Joan Crawford and other actresses of her era are always so memorable. Stop trashing them just because life is too soon in your mind R238. Maybe it is soon, maybe it won't be that soon. Stop being so stubborn and such a pessimist, sugar.
- Words and Music is a very silly movie.
Of course, they turn Hart into a heterosexual, that was to be expected, but to have "Judy Garland" show up at a party before she existed was silly.
And the observant eyes will note that Judy's weight changed dramatically between the two songs at the one party -- because they were not filmed at the same time. She was called back to add a song by the studio in exchange for MGM cancelling a debt she owned.
- Two more things about Miss Crawford: She had a gay, black, polished gentleman friend who was about her age visit the set one day (this was in the 50's.) I clearly remember a crewman allegedly & quietly called him a "dark queer" (or something similar), as he walked out of Joan's dressing room. I was about 14 or 15 at the time. Word got back to Joan and she put the guy in his place in front of the crew. You didn't mess with Miss Crawford. She was a loyal friend who was very protective of those she cared for. I once saw Christina drop by the set to see her Mother. I didn't think anything of it but, clearly remember seeing her a time or two. I'm sure there are other Hollywood crew kids around who saw and heard things in those days. Not to thread jump, but I had a crush on Burt Lancaster when I was a teen. I'll never forget seeing him in Hollywood one day at a soda shop. He was commando on that day. I'll never forget the sight of his nice peter hanging to the right. Burt was tall, lean, very handsome and cut. You can see Burt commando in several scenes in From Here to Eternity. Again, sorry to thread jump.
Hollywood Old Timer
- True dat, r277. I think it's also Rooney's final MGM film under his contract.
Ditto about Judy's up-and-down weight. In one number (forget which) she's wearing a long belt. In the other the belt is gone.
- Jump in as often as you like, r278!
- R279: It was Rooney's final film for MGM.
I remember seeing that ham being interviewed and he said he left MGM, thinking the movie offers would just roll in.
"Boy, was that ever a bad idea!" he added.
- Thank you, everyone. I'll put "Words and Music" on my to-watch list. I liked "Till the Clouds Roll By" so maybe I'll like this. I've only seen "I Wish I Were In Love Again" with Rooney on YouTube alongside the gem of June Allyson singing "Thou Swell".
It's sad how Garland ended up broke when she was practically the highest paid movie star in Hollywood in the late forties and worked non-stop.
- The ultimate example of box-office longevity and subsequent oblivion is Betty Grable. I love her, but she's forgotten by all but a small hardcore fanbase.
Re: the Quigley Box-Office rankings, Grable was the biggest Hollywood star of the 1940s. Her boxoffice potency (and durability) is proven by her consecutive record in the annual poll of exhibitors for their top ten stars: 8th place in 1942, 1st in 1943, 4th in 1944 and 1945, 9th in 1946, 2nd in 1947 and 1948, 7th in 1949, 4th in 1950, and 3rd in 1951. For eight of those ten years, she was the top female-box office star.
No other female star in the history of the poll (which began in 1932) has made the list ten years in a row (the female stars who come the closest are Doris Day and Barbra Streisand)...need to check if Streep has been consecutive.
By the end of the 1940s Grable was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood, receiving $300,000 a year.
During the 1940s and early 1950s, thirty Fox films were among the top ten highest grossing films of the year. Of those, ten were movies featuring Grable; eight of those movies were Fox's highest grossing pictures for their respective years.
- Quigley rankings of female stars during Grables stay in the top 10:
(1941, year before Grable: Bette Davis #9, Judy Garland #11)
1942: Grable #9, Greer Garson #9
1943: Grable #1, Garson #7
1944: Grable #4, Garson #6 (Davis #11)
1945: Garson #3, Grable #4, Garland #9, Margaret O'Brien #10
1946: Ingrid Bergman #2, Garson #7, O'Brien #8, Grable #9
1947: Grable #2, Bergman #3, Claudette Colbert #9
1948: Grable #2 (Bergman #11)
1949: Grable #8, Esther Williams #9
1950: Grable #4, Esther Williams #9
1951: Grable #4 (Doris Day #11)
(1952: Day #8)
I'm surprised Crawford didn't appear at all during those years...
- I think that list of the biggest female box office stars of the 1940s at r284 proves conclusively that Esther Williams was a much bigger star and far more popular with audiences than some posters here would care to admit. Her male MGM costars like Peter Lawford, Howard Keel and even Red Skelton and Van Johnson suported her, not the other way around.
Like her or not she was unique, a novelty, and had extravagant musical films built around her (limited) talents, much like Sonja Henie who, similarly had an exploitable unique talent for Fox in the 1930s.
Wet, she's a star!
- I take it back when I said Burt was cut.
I don't know if he was cut or not, but I saw his dick head & nice sized peter through his light colored trousers. I recall the visible penis lines of Franchot Tone (visiting Joan one afternoon) and Charlton Heston. He was one hot man (nice dick line too.)
Joan's face and body was covered with freckles. Her natural hair color was red. She was somewhat attractive with very little make up. She looked downright scary in the 50's in her slightly orange pancake make up when filming a picture. There were lots of gay men who worked at all the studios. I know there were several at Warner Brothers. I could sense it by the time I was around 16 or so.
Hollywood Old Timer
- Yes Heston was hot
- One of the first indicators of my gayness was seeing a large picture of Charlton Heston in a very small bathing suit in either Life or Look magazine.
He was stretched out on a pool chair and the fullness and largeness of his package in that small bathing suit just jumped off the page. Plus he was a really handsome man back in those days. Great manly smile.
I looked at that picture and knew I was not like the other boys. I wish I could find it again, I have Googled endlessly, hoping that it would pop up again, but it eludes me to this day. Maybe someone else will have some luck.
- I think it says a lot about Joan, by the simple fact that she had no problems hanging out with gays and people of color, when that sort of thing just wasn't really done.
- Allegedly a nekkid Charlton Heston:
- r288 here. This looks like the bathing suit CH wears in that pic I mentioned. Maybe the same photo shoot.
But, you can see the promise in that package.
- R288 Another Chuck pic.
- Thanks for the links of Charlton Heston: R 290 & 291. A clearly remember both Heston & Lancaster's peters commando (or wearing very thin boxers.) Both looked like they'd be at least 8 inches erect. It's hard to tell w/ that kind of thing, but, they were hung quite nicely soft. I would see both Heston & Lancaster over the years as a teen & young adult. Both had booming voices, lean bodies and lots of sex appeal. Both also had a way of discreetly looking at you that could really turn someone on. I'm not saying either were in to guys however.
R 289: A guy who knew Joan once told the story about how one of Joan's maids (a Black woman), came in the sitting room to get her approval before going out on a date (he said Joan would give her all her old clothes.) Joan gave her a careful look and told her she looked wonderful. After her maid was out of earshot, Joan's pals started laughing. He said Joan quickly asked them: "what's so funny?" That cut out the nonsense quickly. She didn't care what anyone thought and that included Hollywood folks too! Go Joan! I once saw Barbra Stanwyck visit Joan on the set in the 50's. Barbra was there with a slightly masculine, polished & attractive Black woman. I was later told by my Dad that she was Barbra's secretary.
Hollywood Old Timer
- [quote]All of Joan's Oscar Noms and her win for MP were well deserved.
Yeah, all 3 nominations. And she got one for "Sudden Fear". Except for Shirley Booth, it was one of the weakest years ever for Best Actress.
Come Back, Little Sheba: Shirley Booth
Sudden Fear: Joan Crawford
The Star: Bette Davis
The Member of the Wedding: Julie Harris
With a Song in My Heart: Susan Hayward
Actually, it was a weak year for movies in general. The best picture never even got nominated ("Singing In The Rain"). "The Bad And The Beautiful" wasn't nominated either.
- "I never understood why Hepburn kept getting plum roles whilst Joan made shit like "Trog"."
Hepburn, for the most part of her career, wasn't a diva and easy to work with.
- Forgot to add: more gossip about Hepburn, Hollywood old timer, please!
- Grable was a huge star and is largely forgotten. It's not because she was untalented; it's simply that the big musical showcases she starred in have gone out way of style. Bing Crosby was arguably the biggest star of the 20th century, and he shares the same fate.
Crawford had a great run: her films at Warners were very well-made and are still watchable. I think they'll be of interest to film buffs for quite a long time. "This Woman is Dangerous" will be studied long after a lot of Oscar bait is forgotten.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
In late April of 1933 the posters and ad logos for Bette Davis' star debut film, Ex-Lady, were shipped to theaters. "A new type! A new star! A NEW HIT!" the posters proclaimed. "As bewitching as Garbo -- and as hard to explain," said one logo, while another gasped in bold print, "Lots of girls could love like she does -- but how many would DARE!"
In New York, the day before Ex-Lady was to open at the Strand Theater, the management respectfully advised that "those of our patrons who are over 60 should NOT attend this picture of Today's Youth." For extra hoopla, some elderly citizens were bussed in from the suburbs to picket the theater. Bette Davis, safe in her Manhattan hotel suite, braced herself for the storm of controversy (over her partial nude scene), and stardom, that would inevitably follow. But on the scheduled day, on the morning of the reviews and the hoped-for lurid coverage, when she gathered up all of the newspapers from her door, she found that each headline and photograph and entertainment section was devoted not to her but to Joan Crawford and the breakup of her marriage to her Prince, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
"JOAN DIVORCES DOUG - Story Page 3, 4, 7, 20, SPECIAL PHOTO INSERT"
On page 27 of the New York Times a very brief review of Bette Davis in Ex-Lady appeared. "Downright foolish," said the reviewer. "A minor battle of the sexes," said the Scripps News Service, which pulled a syndicated Sunday news story on Bette, replacing it with one on Joan Crawford and the tragedy of her marital breakup.
"It was bad time for Bette," said Adela Rogers St. Johns, who wrote a series of articles on Joan's popular divorce. "World War Two could have broken out, yet everyone wanted to hear about Joan and Doug."
"There was an inordinate amount of publicity," admitted Doug Jr.
"I'm SICK of it," said Davis, when she ran into St. Johns on Wilshire Boulevard a week later. "Day in, day out, that's all we're allowed to read about."
"Then, in a low voice, Bette whispered, "Adela, tell me. Who is Joan really sleeping with?"
"Yes, Clark and I had an affair, a glorious affair, and it went on a lot longer than anybody knows. He was a wonderful man. Very simple, pretty much the way he was painted -- forever the virile, ballsy folk hero." -- Joan Crawford
Crawford and Gable had a lot in common. He was once called Billie (born William C. Gable). Both grew up poor, ignored, and uneducated. Both became MGM stars, glamorous, popular, durable. Both had a compulsion about cleanliness.
"He won't take a bath because he can't sit in water he's sat in. He will only shower, and does so several times a day. His bed linens must also be changed several times a day. He shaves under his arms. He is so immaculately groomed and dressed, you could eat off him," said author Lyn Tornabene.
"Never in his young life had he known such a thrilling and wonderful passion," said Photoplay. "Joan was aggressive," said Adela Rogers St. Johns. "She never played flirty games with men. If she wanted a guy, she let him know it straight out. And Clark was the same way. He didn't believe in poetry or small talk. It was always straight to business."
"We clung to each other, commiserating on how we were being abused and typecast by the studio," Joan said.
"I heard the rumors that she was seeing someone, and once, when trouble arose between us, I bluffed and said I planned on having a private detective follow her. "Try!" she dared me, just try!" - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Eventually, the truth became evident to both wronged parties and, in due time, Mrs. Clark Gable bypassed her husband and went straight to Louis B. Mayer. Mayer reminded Gable of the morality clause in his contract. His affair with Crawford was finished. A meek Gable agreed. "He would have ended my career in fifteen minutes," said the future king of the lot. "I had no interest in becoming a waiter."
Next came Joan. "Too many wonderful people would have been hurt," Crawford told L.B., who immediately changed the casting of their next film together. He cast Jean Harlow opposite Gable in Red Dust, and Joan was sent to Catalina Island to make Rain for United Artists.
As it turned out, Fairbanks was also having an affair, one that erupted into the press. Joan went from being the deceiver to the deceived in the public eye.
"Everyone wanted to know about Poor Joan," said Adela Rogers St. Johns, "how she was holding up. I remember one her friends, Ruth Chatterton, had plans to leave for Europe with her husband, George Brent. She told Joan she would cancel her trip to stay with her. Joan of course insisted that Chatterton leave, that she would carry on bravely alone."
Meanwhile, within a week of its release, Ex-Lady, Bette's star debut film, was pulled from theaters. "My shame was exceeded only by my fury," Davis said.
- [quote]The ultimate example of box-office longevity and subsequent oblivion is Betty Grable. I love her, but she's forgotten by all but a small hardcore fanbase.
I love her, too. Jack Cole said she just "had" show business.
This is one of my favorites at the link,presumably also a Cole number. She's scintillating.
- R 96: One of Dad's friends said Miss Davis once told him over drinks that she wished she looked like Kate Hepburn. Miss Davis admired her a lot for her beauty, class and talent. Miss Hepburn once asked me nicely to get her a glass of water, while visiting someone at the studio. She was elegant, regal, beautiful (even with little makeup), confident, gracious & one of a kind. I loved the way she carried herself. I never heard any gossip about her, but, I once actually saw her talking to Joan Crawford on the set one day. I remember being surprised to see them talking like old friends (they appeared to be totally different women), but, they were both at Metro for many years in the Golden era of motion pictures. Let me add that Miss Hepburn spoke in a natural, yet grand manner. She was not phony in any way. She was nothing but class & excellent manners. I was very impressed with her breeding, etc. Looking back, I got a bit of a lesbian vibe (or at least bi) from her. Wish I knew more.
Hollywood Old Timer
- Hollywood Old Timer, or may I call you by your initials, HOT? You don't know Scottie Bowers, do you?
- R 302; Its fine to call me either. I don't know Scottie, but I've heard of him.
Hollywood Old Timer
- R303 Heard of him because of his book or heard of him because of his services?
- R:304 I'd really rather not get into that. However, I was truthful when I said I don't personally know Scottie & never met him. I hope you understand that I'd rather not speak about any of this further (the sexual side of things since I wasn't there and don't know what took place (if anything), etc.) Please remember folks who are famous are no different than anyone else. I remember seeing Marilyn Monroe in a Hollywood boutique in the 50's. She was dressed down in a scarf, little make up, sunglasses and a plain, tight dress. A woman was with her. It was at that moment I truly realized famous folks are no better or different than any one else (even though I knew it before seeing her.) There was something very human, yet somewhat sad about her. With that said, she had star quality...that much was clear.
Hollywood Old Timer
- [quote]Betty Grable. I love her, but she's forgotten by all but a small hardcore fanbase.
I don't think that is true at all. She's still the iconic image representing the 1940's; most people would recognize either her name or face (at least the famous pin up poster) if they saw it.
- R299, Ruth Chatterton -- now there's another one who's long forgotten.
- Joan's popularity was very different in the 40s than it was in the 30 so it doesn't surprise me her name doesn't turn up in those box office polls.
She had essentially starting playing lonely lady character roles in the second decade, even though they were always the leads, but her appeal was strictly for female audiences by then.
She was completely out of step with the patriotic sexuality of the likes of Grable, Hayworth, Garson (for the Brits), Lamour and Garland.
Shop girls were out, Rosie the Riveter was in.
Smartly, Kate Hepburn managed to reinvent herself in the 40s into a wiser and older version of Jo March and Alice Adams that was timeless enough to take her through two more decades.
- Her pussy stank!
- I don't know how Betty Grable had longevity, she only had one decade as a box office star and didn't make a movie after 1955. Someone like Angela Lansbury has had career longevity.
[quote]Smartly, Kate Hepburn managed to reinvent herself in the 40s into a wiser and older version of Jo March and Alice Adams that was timeless enough to take her through two more decades.
Hepburn was smart enough to but the rights to "The Philadelphia Story". I don't know why Crawford didn't in her later turn her hand to producing, financing her own projects with Pepsi money.
I know she bought the rights to a few things but they never happened. Lucille Ball bought the rights to "Mame". It might have given her better parts instead than being making "Trog" and such.
- Hollywood Old Timer, Joan or Bette was more friendly with people?
Have you ever met an actor or actress of those times that did a bad impression on you?
Thanks in advance
- Joan was a Star and she played that role to the hilt. I'm sure she had friends who she could be herself with (at least I hope she did.) She was famous for sending thank you notes, looking out for the underdog (I believe she may have seen herself as an undergod all her life), and doing what she had to do to survive the changing times of the industry. I was left with the impression that if you treated Miss Crawford like a Star and stayed out of her way, you'd be fine. I don't want to come off like I'm speaking bad about her. She was very much a human being. Putting on the Star act had to have been tiring. I felt bad when it looked as if she'd been drinking on "some days" I was dropped off from school (it wasn't a sloppy drunk manner, but you could tell if you looked closely. I believe she was a very frightened and lonely lady. I found both Davis & Crawford fascinating.
Miss Davis was a very grand Diva. She was very human and didn't pull any punches. If she was unhappy about something, you were going to know about it. She clearly loved her family and came across as a sweet woman to the crew and other actors (from what I saw.) I wish she had produced more films with her production company. I remember enjoying her self produced film "A Stolen Life", where she played twins. I saw it many times when it was later shown on TV in the late 60's or so. As talented as Miss Davis was, I really feel she could have done even greater films (and we all know she did some great work.) Sorry about my rambling. Both were pleasant ladies in their own way (just like most of us are pleasant in our own way.) They were simply very different types of people trying to keep afloat with everchanging shifts and tastes that come with being a product with a sometimes fickle public. My father used to say he wished Joan would relax more and just be herself (he didn't know her well, but he saw and observed her often like the other crew members, make up folks, etc.) He felt she tried too hard to please people who didn't approve of her for whatever reason. Crawford was allegedly known for hurting a lot of people who stood in her way and/or spoke out against her nasty behavior. I would say Miss Davis was the nicer of the two from what I've heard. I'd prefer not to say any more. I don't want to come off like I'm judging folks. I'll stop here.
Hollywood Old Timer
- Hollywood Old Timer, do you have any tales about Lauren Bacall?
- Hollywood Old Timer, you are very sweet. Thanks for writing all this interesting stuff! I love old Hollywood!
- Yes, thank you, H.O.T.
- Yes, thank you, H.O.T.! Your observations are very astute and interesting indeed.
Since you sound like you hung out around Warner's, any observations about Ann Sheridan, Cagney & Jack Carson?
I've always heard Carson & Sheridan were one-of-the-gang with no attitute.
- [quote] "She never played flirty games with men. If she wanted a guy, she let him know it straight out. And Clark was the same way.
- Thank you! I made a mistake earlier in my post at R 312. I meant to say: underdog instead of undergod.
I remember seeing Miss Bacall in Hollywood over the years (at least three or four times.) I didn't know how exciting all this was until I was 14 or 15. I wasn't really that starstruck, but, it was still exciting. It didn't take me long to know I was different from other guys when I saw guys like Burt Lancaster and Charlton Heston in Hollywood. Miss Bacall was like a Hollywood socialite who was also an actress. She came off as being very confident. That's really how I saw her. She was grand in a very modern way, but different from Dietritch, Davis, Hepburn or Crawford, who came off as ladies from a different Hollywood era (even though Bacall had Bogart and a leading career in the 40's. She was well dressed and came off as a private and/or shy woman. She had a booming voice and she stood out in a crowd. Let me say that Miss Marlene Dietrich is still the grandest lady and Diva I ever saw in Hollywood. Talk about standing out from the crowd. I recall seeing her at Warner Brothers one day dressed in all white: gloves, light coat, shoes, blouse, slacks, headband, etc. I will never forget the respect she commanded just by being Dietrich. She was unforgettable! She had to be in her 50's at that time, but came across as a lady who was a few years younger. I think of her from time to time. My mom & Dad used to see her shows. They'd tell me all about them the next day. Talk about fascinating. She was so glamorous, elegant and refined. I could go on and on about her. Ah, Dietrich!
Hollywood Old Timer
- My Goodness! I'd forgot about Miss Sheridan and Mr. Carson!! They were the sweetest people! They both smiled a lot, were good natured and very professional. I loved the sound of Jack's voice. They were like your next door neighbors. What memories!
I don't remember Mr. Cagney that much. What I do recall was that he seemed shy, reserved and private. He was also said to be very professional. I saw him practicing a tap routine one day. I didn't know how special that was at the time. To be honest, I was only interested in Divas (and the hot guys of course.) I'm going to watch that documentary of Marlene Dietrich tonight. This thread has been fun for me. I'm going to now get some things done around the house. Its been fun remembering. Thanks for your interest. I'm glad you enjoy Old Hollywood and the Divas who will live on forever in films, photographs, books, etc.
Hollywood Old Timer
- Thank you for your tale of Lauren Bacall, H.O.T!
- Something else Joan and co. have that few modern day actresses have - an intricate knowledge of film-making. She knew how the light should hit her and where the camera should be angled, a lot of her knowledge was brought on by vanity, but still...
- Knowing where the light should hit YOUR FACE and where the camera should be angled on YOUR FACE hardly amounts to an intricate knowledge of film-making.
- Oh of course not, R322. What I meant was Joan's desire to look her best and to be the best actress she could be led her to spend a lot of time studying how movies were.
In regard to her contemporaries, I'm not sure if they knew much about the process of movie-making but every Old Hollywood actress knew the pose that suited her best, know what angle the camera and light should hit her face at.
Such things were compulsory at MGM's finishing school.
- Thank you, H.O.T.! Love to hear that about Sheridan & Carson.
- Betty Grable only quit movies. She was hugely popular on radio with her husband Phil Harris. She was tired of movie making work and all the sitting around. She'd been in vaudeville and theatre from childhood. Jack Cole did the choreography on one of her last films and later said that she "had had it with show business," and wanted a more normal life.
- Nice-to-know, R325. Only a few pages ago we discussed how many star's (then important) radio work is not acknowledged because it's not displayed on IMDb.
- You have your blondes confused, r325.
"Alice Faye only quit movies. She was hugely popular on radio with her husband Phil Harris. She was tired of movie making."
- I wanted to come back on because I thought of something I remembered earlier today. As most of us know, George Cukor was a good friend to Joan Crawford. He once paid a visit to her dressing room. Dad later told me who he was. I'll never forget the sight of Rock Hudson in Hollywood in the late 50's and early 60's. He was such a beautiful man. He looked like a guy who would be the life of the party (any party)! He had loads of charisma & was tall, engaging, down to earth, fit, lean, a clear, booming voice and lovely manners. There were whispers about him being gay. I felt bad when I discovered along with the rest of the world that he had Aids. Lastly, Andy Williams was a beautiful man. I met him one day in Beverly Hills by accident. He had the most beautiful manner, eyes, smile and vibe. He was just so handsome. RIP Mr. Williams.
Hollywood Old Timer
- Yes, HOT, I had a crush on Andy Williams. It was one of my earliest ones. I just remember feeling like I wanted to kiss him. I was about 6. He was something. So handsome and such a nice personality.
George Cukor once said that every great actress has an "irritating" quality about them. And when you think about it, he's pretty much right on with that one.
- Here's the all-time Quigley list from the last 80 years. John Wayne is #1.
All the top 10 are men. Doris is #11. Julia Roberts ties with Jerry Lewis at #13, Grable is #16. Liz is #25. Shirley Temple, Jim Carrey and Will Smith triple-tie at #27. Streisand ties with Robin Williams & Johnny Depp at #30.
Crawford ties with Greer Garson at #33.
Bette Davis ties with Mel Brooks at #92.
- [quote]George Cukor once said that every great actress has an "irritating" quality about them. And when you think about it, he's pretty much right on with that one.
All woman have an "irritating" quality about them.
- "IMDb claims Garland got paid $100,000 for "Words and Music", in which she plays herself."
Were the actors really paid differing amounts for individual movies back then? I always assumed that those under contract were paid a set weekly salary based on their contract.
- The nasty stories Esther Williams tells in her autobiography all have the same theme. Esther portrays herself as a lovely, loyal, fun-loving friend, and everyone else is a bitch. What seems clear, other than lots of made up "facts" in the book is that every one of Esther's run-ins with people seem to happen when they are all drunk. You can easily tell by these stories that Esther was a big booze bag.
- Lol at R 333! You made my night! Esther was a lovely woman. I remember her great smile, perky voice and gentle manner. She also had beautiful hair. From what I remember, she had a lovely personality. There's one thing some of the stars had in common besides a heavy smoking habit, and that was an alcohol problem. I saw some of that myself (I wont list names & episodes though.) I haven't read Esther's book, but now I'll have to get it. R 333, Thanks again for the laugh...I spilled my coffee!
R 329: I had a crush on him too. I'll never forget his bright blue eyes and speaking voice. Andy appeared to be a really nice guy. He was very sexy in person and on TV.
Nobody probably cares, but Roddy McDowell was hung. I saw him one day at the studio wearing light trousers that showed off his visible penis line. Yes guys, I was a size queen at 17. A lot of stars loved attention and knew exactly what they were doing when discreetly showing off certain body parts.
Hollywood Old Timer
- I am not sure this "Hollywood Old Timer" is real. Love the stories but there is nothing being said that is really inside information. "She was lovely.." etc. Anyone with imagination could write this same stuff. It's not unlike that woman who posted here a few years ago, daughter of Kurt Kazner? Susan somebody or another? She never really had any dish, either, just niceties and comments that anyone who liked old stars and read anything about them could have made up. I HOPE you are for real, HOT, because you seem like you have true memories of these old stars.
BTW, Crawford and Davis BOTH would have aged a heluva lot better but for the booze and cigarettes. Davis was already looking rough by the time of All About Eve and after that it was all downhill. Crawford looked pretty until just after Sudden Fear, 1952. In '53's Torch Song, the following year, she was terrifying with that garish red hair and caterpillar eyebrows. Her look never softened for the rest of her career, save for the occasional candid shot of her caught off guard.
- I'm real R 335. I've chosen to look on the bright side of things in my memories (which is why I have kept certain memories to myself.) I really don't feel its fair to say certain things when people are not present to defend themselves. This has been a fun thread to remember a special part of my life. I probably will not post again. When I made certain comments earlier, I felt like I was being negative and judgemental. I hope you understand. One last thing I'll say is that many actors and actresses fought for roles and were sometimes bitter when they went to rivals (as we all know.) This caused a lot of petty fueds, anger, unforgiveness, hatred and so on. In addition to genes, I'm convinced strong, negative emotions also caused some of the harsh aging we saw with some of the stars. I'll move on, but, I truly have enjoyed this. Its also made me miss my parents terribly. All the best to you all. Much love
Hollywood Old Timer
- Leave the old timer alone, ya big bully! Come back! Come back, old timer.
- Come back, Hollwood Old Timer! I love Roddy McDowell and want to hear more about the girls and Joan's loyalty to her friends. Mommie Dearest is on now and I wanted to read this thread again.
- Oh and HOT, if anyone here disrespects you then you just need to say, "Don't fuck with me, fellas!"
- R333 = Gene Kelly
- [quote]Were the actors really paid differing amounts for individual movies back then? I always assumed that those under contract were paid a set weekly salary based on their contract.
Judy's standard seven year contract with a set weekly salary was up in the mid forties.
At that point she was a major star (although not as famous as Queen of the Universe, Esther Williams) and renegotiated a new contract for which she would be paid per movie.
- I saw a bio on Bette last week on TCM and she said that for her USO gigs she got 50k. That's a pretty good chunk of change for a tour. Someone else interviewed was also talking about how Bette wore the same clothes everyday to show how "poor" she was while trying to sue Warner Bros. in her case in Britain. I guess it didn't work.
- [quote]Crawford looked pretty until just after Sudden Fear, 1952. In '53's Torch Song, the following year, she was terrifying with that garish red hair and caterpillar eyebrows.
She looks ten years younger in "Female On The Beach" than she does in "Torch Song" or "Johnny Guitar". Black and white hides a multitude of sins.
- Were movie stars actualy paid for USO tours? I would have thought they were done for no salary even if they were given generous expense accounts, as well as luxurious food and acomodations while out on the road.
- r344 That's what Bette said and I wanted to look it up before I posted but of course they don't mention specific salaries for the big stars but it does say that they were paid something like ten dollars a day? Something small like that but yeah, I imagine if you are one of the big stars you would need to be compensated well for time that could me used to make a movie. 50 grand is pretty good for getting to hang out and drink with young soldiers.
- Hollywood Old Timer i wish you could change your mind about never posting here again. You are so amusing and kind. I believe you, not even once i doubted you, you have not the manners of a liar, your replies are pure and honest.
Anyway, whatever you decide (if you post again here, or not) i also wish you the best. Love, hugs and kisses. You have the right to have your memories.
- HOT needed to be a bit snarkier and with some FUN dish. It was like reading the ramblings of someone on Thorazine. A Stepford poster.
- MILDRED PIERCE star -ANN BLYTH-reminisces about playing VEDA PIERCE, and working with JOAN CRAWFORD
- How wonderful would Joan have been in a movie version of "The Stepford Wives" say circa. 1940 perhaps.
- I couldn't watch the whole Ann Blythe interview. Can someone give me the best quotes?
- [quote]George Cukor once said that every great actress has an "irritating" quality about them.
If this is accurate, then I gave birth to the Sarah Bernhardt of the 21st century.
- WOW! Ann Blythe has to be one of the most charming and gracious women ever. So different from her role in Mildred Pierce.
She looks like an 80 year old Lisa Vanderpump.
- Here's the TCM bit Ann referred to in the interview.
- Nice tribute R353. And Ann Blyth, as evidenced by the earlier video, turned out to be a very beautiful, articulate, classy older woman. I think it's obvious in this thread that Bette Davis was a better actress but couldn't match Joan in the glamour department. Later in life, Joan's acting appeared mechanical and mannish, something I've always attribued to her drinking, not a lack of talent.
- How can someone's acting be "mannish", R354?
- In The Divine Feud, many of Joan's directors, friends and costars described her as being "mannish." It's the wrong word, though, in that sentence. Sorry Marian.
- In her appearance? Her toughness? How can acting be "mannish"? It makes about as much sense as dancing being minty.
- Just go to your local leather bar and you'll see a lot of guys acting "mannish".
It's just that the girl shines through, making it bad acting.
- That reminds of the thread here a while ago called, "How Feminine are You?" or something to that effect.
Turns out DataLounge is full of alpha-males!
- [quote]It makes about as much sense as dancing being minty.
Ha ha! Wait! That's how I dance!!
- I adore Joan. I understand that there are a lot of people who dislike her due to the allegations in the book and that's fine. Joan was a complex person, we all are, but she had a heart and I think that little kiss she gave Sammy was evidence of her ability to empathize with others.
The kiss may seem like a small thing to most people but as an African American it showed me that she cared about people. She really didn't have to do that and I think she did it to make a point, a very subtle point. I like Joan and I probably always will. I feel the same way about Marilyn Monroe. And yes, Ann Blyth is absolutely stunning at the age of 80. She's beautiful inside and out.
- This is pretty interesting. I wonder how people get a hold of recordings like these?
Joan Crawford Telephone Messages (1976)
- Diane Baker has some interesting things to say about Joan in this short documentary about the making of "Straight Jacket."
The Making Of Strait-Jacket (1964 Joan Crawford Film)
- Thx so much for that link. I love you:)
- No problem, R364. I enjoy watching these clips when I find the time.
- Joan Crawford makeup test for "Strait-Jacket":
(I'm sorry if it's already been posted)
- Omg, R366! I loved that video. Joan was so classy and imposing in that test. Beautiful video, really. Thanks!
- Thanks, R366. Joan's posture is fantastic. The way she physically carries herself conveys confidence and power.
- I guess everyone has seen this 8 minute clip of Joan drunk, in a wheelchair, at an airport?
- Joan's look in Strait-Jacket is so fierce. I forgot about that flick...it's a good little film.
- I like that Diane Baker clip at r363. I love that Joan made an "entrance" when arriving on the set in her big limo.
Lee Majors laying in bed half nekkid! Woo and hoo.
Plus as an added bonus, we get to see some of Dorothy Kilgallen near the end of the clip. Not a pretty sight even though she is all dressed up and shimmering next to Joan on stage.
- Thanks for posting the great Strait Jacket doc at r363.
Diane Baker seems like a dear and she speaks so sincerely about Joan, pointing out her flaws but with great sympathy and perception.
I'd never heard before about Joan insisting on the freezing temperatures of her sets so her heavy makeup wouldn't melt and her skin would stay tight. Was that typical for the older screen divas?
I wonder what Dorothy Kilgallen's relationship with the film was? She seemed to be accompanying Joan on the press junket everywhere it went. Was she a producer on it?
- HA! How fitting that no one offered the late Miss Crawford any birthday wishes on this discussion thread yesterday! I am laughing derisively! HAAAAA!
- R369, no i hadn't seen it before. Personally i found it touching and i don't understand why some people stuck on the fact that Joan could be more human and faulty at times. This woman had a tough life and i believe that she stands fucking alright carrying those experiences she was carrying. A person wrote about the embarrassing aspects of this video, well, welcome to life hon, life is full of those moments, life cannot have deleted scenes like in a movie. There is not montage there...
Joan stood pretty nice for a tipsy person and she was very interesting in this video too. Thanks for posting it.
- [quote]I'd never heard before about Joan insisting on the freezing temperatures of her sets so her heavy makeup wouldn't melt and her skin would stay tight. Was that typical for the older screen divas?
In olden days, there was little air conditioning and movie sets were quite warm, sitting around in one all day would melt one's makeup.
- Hollywood Old Timer, I'm sorry you were hurt by the skeptical troll who questioned your truthfulness. Whenever we have an entertainment industry insider on DL who posts interesting stories about the stars, one or two of these trolls shows up and attacks the person posting. I don't know if they're just doing it to be obnoxious or they're trying to shut you up, but please don't take it personally--people like that are everywhere on the Internet and they're a pain but honestly they just come with the territory.
I don't think you were saying anything out of line, by the way. I think you were being kind and respectful, certainly by DL standards!
- When I found out that Joan Crawford had a shih tzu named Princess Lotus Blossom I knew she was all right. Same with Meyer Lansky and his shih tzu, Bruzzer. If you love a shih tzu, all is forgiven.
- I can remember dear Paul Huntley the famous wig designer telling me that if they didn't get all the closeups on Bette Davis, Lillian Gish and Ann Sothern on Whales of August done before 3 pm, the rest of the day was useless. Their faces (and spirits) began to sag after eating lunch.
The Ghost of Vincent Price
- Do you think that Christina Crawford lied in some parts of her book about Joan, or that she overdid it? There is also an incident that connects Christina with Elvis Presley.
'...the singer was not always sweet and friendly towards women. When Christina Crawford, the adopted daughter of Joan Crawford, visited Presley, they were watching Bonanza in the TV room. "Elvis had been puffing on a cigar ... as Christina tickled him and kidded around, apparently seeking more direct attention." Suddenly, as Buzz Cason relates, "she slung the contents of her cocktail glass right into Elvis's face. ... The cigar went 'phhhtttt' and he jumped up. ... He grabbed her by the hair. 'Get this bitch out of here!' he screamed, leading her toward the front door as she struggled to keep up with the rather quick pace as he was pulling her locks. Turmoil ensued as the 'boys' scrambled to assist trying to prevent too big of a scene."
Did she mention that to her book? I found it in Wiki.
- [quote]Do you think that Christina Crawford lied in some parts of her book about Joan, or that she overdid it?
- And what about June Allyson's comments that Christina told the truth about Joan Crawford in her biography?
Please tell me!
- Hedy Lamarr visits Joan Crawford
- You mean the story about June going over to Joan's house where Christina was sitting and not allowed to talk.
June didn't like Joan. They lived on the same street. June went over one day, she thought Joan was phony and self-centered. June had no knowledge as to what went on in Joan's house.
June Allyson adopted her child from the same orphanage Joan got Christina.
- Nice pic, R382. Joan looks short there and it's easy to forget that Joan wasn't a tall woman, only about 5'3''.
I've oft imagined her a dominating woman. In the scene in "Johnny Guitar" on the balcony she looks tall but then next to any co-star she doesn't.
- R383, thanks for replying. Interesting trivia. And yes i like the photo of Joan with Hedy Lamarr too. Brunette power! Hehe!
- Well i just read about June Allyson this:
'After the death of first husband Dick Powell, she went through a bitter court battle with her mother over custody of her son Dick Powell Jr., and adopted daughter Pamela Powell. Reports at the time revealed that Dirk Wayne Summers was named legal guardian for Dick and Pamela, as a result of a court petition.'
'(June Allyson) Filed for divorce once during her marriage to Dick Powell, but the turbulent marriage lasted until his death from cancer in 1963. She struggled with alcoholism following his death which may have triggered a custody battle against her mother.'
Well, that maybe implies that June Allyson was clearly a little prejudiced towards motherhood and here maybe we can make the connection with her view on the Christina Crawford's book about her mother. Just saying...
- June and Joan:
- R387 wow!
- [quote]I've oft imagined her a dominating woman.
Truly, people don't oft often enough!
- R366 The "AGE 29" on the clapboard was hilarious.
Joan would have fit right in on DataLounge.
- That's Hedley, R385.
- To be fair r390, isn't the the brunette wigged-version of Joan in Strait Jacket a flash back at age 29? She's seen as her older self with what looks to be her own grizzled grey hair in the contemporary scenes.
- Joan Collins played Joan Crawford's role in the remake of "The Women", "The Opposite Sex" with June Allyson in Norma Shearer's role.
(In this scene, she appears very lesbian-y next to hyper feminine Collins.) Allyson slapping a very beautiful Joan Collins:
- R392: I thought it was funny in one of the clips on this thread when the director of Straight Jacket said:
"I told Miss Crawford [who admitted to being almost 60 at the time] that her character would be 50 -- and she said, 'Don't you mean 40?'"
- A wonderfully directed musical number from the same movie:
- [quote]"I told Miss Crawford [who admitted to being almost 60 at the time] that her character would be 50 -- and she said, 'Don't you mean 40?'"
- That line reminds me of the director of Myra Breckenridge telling an 80 year-old Mae West that her character would have been an agent in the business for 40 years.
Mae's response: "That wouldn't be possible. Mae West never plays a character older than 25."
- Omg, R393, thank you so much for this link. I absolutely adored it. Lol! Kewl!
- I can easily picture La Crawford delivering Madeline Ashton's lines, only in real life --
Maid: Good morning, madam. You look absolutely marvelous.
JC: Hey, wait a minute. Aren't you forgetting something?
Maid: Well, it's only Thursday - you told me just to say it...
JC: Well, never mind that. I think I need you to say it every morning.
Maid: Very well. "Oh, madam! You look younger every day!"
JC: Thank you, Rose. Thank you very much.
- I have a feeling Joan would have been a lot more fun to hang out with than Bette.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
By 1936, although Bette Davis now lived in Crawford's neighborhood, Brentwood, in a rented house owned by Greta Garbo, her monthly expenses were enormous. She was the main support of a family that included her mother, her sister, her husband, a maid, and a chauffeur. "I have no savings," she told the New York reporter, "no expensive furs or jewelry." Her salary at Warner's was modest, that of a featured player, but she hoped it would soon be adjusted upward, "commensurate with her importance as an Oscar winner and star."
To ensure these changes, Bette had hired a new agent, Michael Levee, who also happened to be Joan Crawford's agent. At the start of that year, Bette was making twelve hundred dollars a week, which was considerable for those Depression years but paltry compared with Joan Crawford's annual salary of $244,453. With Joan's representative as her agent, Bette demanded more money and perks. She wanted what Crawford was receiving, and more. "How much is Joan making?" she asked Levee. "Does she get free clothes, a car, promotional expenses?" Levee, who preferred to treat such matters as confidential, was reluctant to release this information. "My GOD!" said Bette. "Every time Crawford has a headache or a bowel movement she calls Hedda or Louella Parsons, and you're giving me this 'confidential' shit?" Levee submitted her new requests to Jack Warner, who turned them all down. Bette instructed Levee to break her contract and place her with another studio, preferably MGM, the home of Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford.
In December 1936, while Bette Davis was attempting to rebuild her film career, Joan Crawford for the third year in a row was named the Top Box Office Star in America. In February 1937 she was named the first Queen of the Movies by Life Magazine. On the set of her latest MGM film, Love on the Run, the fans of Motion Picture magazine were given an inside look at the royal treatment bestowed on their favorite. "She appeared wearing a billowing organdy gown," said the magazine. "Two handmaidens held the dress up so the flounces would not get dirty. One girl got her a chair. Another turned an electric fan on her. Another brought her a phonograph and started playing sweet music for her. The Queen was very gracious." She was joined by her husband, Franchot Tone -- "full of a superiority complex" -- who advised her to stop the interview." A rug was unrolled from where they standing, to the door of Joan's portable dressing room," said the magazine. "Mr. and Mrs. Tone strolled along the rug and disappeared into the dressing room, never to be seen again."
In her life as Mrs. Franchot Tone, the metamorphosis began right after the wedding. Following their honeymoon in New York, the couple returned to L.A., to reside at Joan's home in Brentwood. "Hello tree; hello house -- I'm home again," said the happy bride, who proceeded to wipe out every trace of Doug Fairbanks by gutting the interior of the house.
In Liberty Magazine, Katharine Albert provided an intimate glimpse of Mrs. Tone at home, preparing for one of her intimate dinner parties. "In her bedroom," wrote Albert, "after badminton, as expert fingers arrange the crisp chestnut curls, Joan reads the most important fan mail, sent by her secretary at the studio. The downstairs maid then appears, asking Madame to put her final approval on that evening's menu. 'Clear soup, stuffed lobster, duck and wild rice, endive and chive salad, hot cherries in ice rings -- white wine with the fish, champagne with the fowl, coffee, and Napolean brandy.'
"Check," says Joan.
- [quote]I have a feeling Joan would have been a lot more fun to hang out with than Bette.
I disagree. Joan Crawford was delusional, Bette Davis was bluntly realistic. Crazy can be entertaining, but isn't really a lot of fun to be around for very long.
- Thank you for the post, R401.
- Have you never seen Bette's interviews with Dick Cavett? Of course, she'd be the more fun to hang out with!
But having personally worked in show business for over 30 years, and with many big stars, I can tell you that hanging out with many of them is a lot more fun than working with them.
- Last known footage of Joan Crawford (1974)
- On "The Lucy Show"
OBVIOUSLY in serious decline.
I had my own hair and my mouth wasn't wonky at the same time...
- Joan's "Desperately Seeking Susan" phase
- Miss Davis is coming for lunch?
- As if any other image of "decline" is ever necessary.
- [quote] A rug was unrolled from where they standing, to the door of Joan's portable dressing room," said the magazine. "Mr. and Mrs. Tone strolled along the rug and disappeared into the dressing room, never to be seen again."
Who does this?
Joan Crawford, that's who!! And don't you forget it!!
- Serious question:
Why was Franchot Tone such a catch?
- R411, he supposedly was well-endowed and was on the kinky side.
- [quote]he supposedly was well-endowed and was on the kinky side.
He came from money too.
- Bette Davis was not a stranger to fucking the husbands of women she didn't like. She was accused of fucking the husband of Miriam Hopkins (Anatole Litvak) at one point. Maybe she got "dangerous" with Joan's hubby too.
- Methinks Franchot Tone was impressed with women that had a "common" touch. Bette Davis fit into that category, but Crawford got to him first.
"This has remained secret for more than 70 years, but Davis, on her last visit to London two years before her death, revealed it to me: the love of Bette's life was a man she could never marry because he became Joan Crawford's second husband.
"She took him from me," Davis admitted bitterly in 1987. "She did it coldly, deliberately and with complete ruthlessness. I have never forgiven her for that and never will."
Interestingly, Tone went after Barbara Payton in 1951. If you look up the word "common" in the dictionary, her picture should be there. Payton tired of Tone and threw him over for Tom Neal. Tone went crazy with jealousy, confronted Neal, and got the holy crap beat out of him. He was hurt so badly, he went into a coma and Neal and Payton saw their reputations shredded from the bad publicity.
Payton ended up as a five dollar hooker on Sunset Blvd before dying young. Tom Neal wandered into a restaurant near his home in Palm Springs one day and mentioned he had just shot his wife. It turned out, he actually had. He served six years of a ten year sentence for manslaughter and died 8 months after he got out.
- I wonder why Franchot Tone wasn't pushed by the studios into bigger stardom?
If he was so wildly attractive to both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford he must have had something more than just BDF and the accomanying attachment...
- Franchot Tone's mother, Gertrude Franchot Tone, who came from a socially and politically prominent Upper New York family, was a militant suffragette, and passed on her feminist ideology to Franchot. Unlike many of his macho male acting peers, Franchot was sympathetic towards his leading ladies' concerns, and his female lovers, which included many famous actresses and socialites, remarked that he made them feel beautiful and was interested in their minds and ambitions in life.
- "I Am Not Ashamed!"
Barbara Payton in her own words.
http://books.google.com/books?id=CGmXR3fwKmQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=I am not ashamed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MKpQUbHGE8Tx0gGMxICQBg&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=I am not ashamed&f=false
- Was Tone ever the male lead in a film? He always seemed to be the third wheel, like a more cosmopolitan version of Ralph Bellamy or Don Ameche.
- None of these dames was fit to carry Greer Garson's underwear!
- Greer Garson? Are you serious R421? Yuck
- The queens of Dallas all thought highly of Greer Garson when she lived there in retirement, ruling over the social set.
- Neither Bette nor Joan kept their looks. Joan kept her figure but that face post, say, 1953 or so was scary. Bette just got dumpy and frumpy all around. My heart always has a soft spot for both ladies, though. Poor Joan came up hard scrabble and, with steely determination, CREATED Joan Crawford. She had more ambition than most any other female star in Hollywood to BE "somebody." And, yes, MGM trained her to be a star moreso than an actress. For her, "glamour" was her job as much as turning in a performance. That all was bullshit to Bette Davis who was an actress FIRST and who eschewed the whole glamour mill. She was never a beauty and she never relied on it. By sheer force of will, Bette Davis was glamorous, though, I must admit.
- Whatever glamour Bette Davis had, disappeared after ALL ABOUT EVE.
Joan kept hers much longer.
- I am sure Crawford would have had cosmetic surgery done, if it was as common in the fifties and sixties as it is today.
- Bump for more.
- Joan with the family:
- I bet she got nothing but smart-aleck backtalk:
- The stars of MGM in 1942. Joan is absent:
- Where's Judy.
Oh, and I never really thought that Katharine Hepburn was a lesbian....but I've changed my mind.
- Wasn't Joan at the WB in '42?
- With hindsight, I would say Kate Hepburn looks like she invented lesbianism in that MGM anniversary shot.
June Allyson, 3rd row center, waiting for the 1950s
- With Judy, Clark, Myrna and Lana among the missing, it seems queer that LB felt it was the right time to take the anniversry photo.
- [quote]Wasn't Joan at the WB in '42?
No, not until the following year. Although Mayer was doing all he could to push her out, it's not that surprising she isn't in the photo.
[quote]With Judy, Clark, Myrna and Lana among the missing, it seems queer that LB felt it was the right time to take the anniversry photo.
Gable enlisted in the army in 1942, the year this was taken.
Maybe Judy and Lana were on war bond tours? Or perhaps Judy was just having one of her many absences.
Myrna Loy had taken a break from acting (check out her IMDb) which is why she wasn't there. From Wikipedia: "With the outbreak of World War II, she all but abandoned her acting career to focus on the war effort"
- [quote]No, not until the following year. Although Mayer was doing all he could to push her out, it's not that surprising she isn't in the photo.
Joan BOUGHT HERSELF out of her contract after 1943's "Above Suspicion". MGM would have happily re-signed Joan - just for less than she had been making of course, but Joan was terrified that one more flop would end her career for good. She was NOT fired or eased out at all.
- I love this thread!
- [quote]Joan BOUGHT HERSELF out of her contract after 1943's "Above Suspicion". MGM would have happily re-signed Joan - just for less than she had been making of course, but Joan was terrified that one more flop would end her career for good. She was NOT fired or eased out at all.
Yes, Joan did buy out her contract. I never said that she didn't. But Mayer was trying to get rid of her, Joan was very expensive and her movies were steadily losing money so he kept giving her bad properties in the hope that she'd break her contract.
She was considered past her prime in the early forties and Mayer was happy to get rid of her. He also didn't like her personally.
- That picture of Joan, Al and the kids is awful. They all look like shit.
- The stars of MGM in 1942. Labelled.
- The stars of MGM in 1949:
(Sorry, I couldn't find a better version, but there are some others on the Google Images)
- [quote]That picture of Joan, Al and the kids is awful. They all look like shit.
Joan looks decent, however Cynthia and Cathy were no lookers.
- Wow, by 1942 Greer and Lana were firmly ensconced in Metro's finest on-set dressing rooms. Joan must have seen the handwriting on her trailer door as it moved further and further away on the lot.
Mr. Sydney Guilaroff
- Last but not least:
- R444, Apt A is Jean Harlow, but can you make out who resided in C?
I wonder if the rooms were stacked so that Crawford lived right above Shearer. I can imagine her stomping around and making unecessary noise into the wee hours of the morning.
I also like to imagine the walls were thin and Joan could hear Shearer fucking her brains out and then Crawford remarking to friends, "Norma was up all night...she must have been securing her next role."
- I can't work out who it is, R445. But I do know it's from 1937 if that could help.
- If it's 1937 it must have been Eleanor Powell, who next to Jeannette MacDonald, was MGM's other big musical star.
- R441, here's a bigger version, with that bitch Lassie moved to the center. MGM Silver Jubilee.
- ^ Hmm, turns out it wasn't really any bigger. Oh well.
- In the later anniversary photo they all seem to be seated alphabetically. Judy and Clark showed up for this one but still no Lana or Myrna as far as I can see.
Interestingly, Errol Flynn and Jennifer Jones are in the photo though neither were contract players. Must have just been doing a one picture deal. Two Barrymores, which must have been quite prestigious.
I think there's yet one more anniversary photo, I guess 5 years later, that's pretty sad...you can tell Dore has taken over, there's much less glamour.
Esther Williams, Queen of the Swimming Pool Lot
- Do not be alarmed, but...
- This pretty little girl grew up and uttered the immortal words: "Jungle Red!!!"
- "It's friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship.
When other friendships have been forgot, ours will still be hot.
Aladaladalada dig dig dig."
- Back to R366, with all the sad delusion and monstrous desperation, you can still see the instincts and experience Crawford maintained in her - um - maturity. She knew the camera and she knew the lights. Her work at characterization - the various mental states at the various ages - is interesting. Since it was just makeup and costume tests, she didn't have to do what she did, but she was professional and rather fascinating.
I seldom can watch her without seeing some semblance of camp. But in stills and brief scenes she could really bring a strong and even affecting visual impact. Almost a silent screen presence.
As hard as she worked at control and technique, I wonder if she had let a little more of that craziness out if it would have left her a better actress. Davis knew how to go for broke. So did Rosalind Russell, Katharine Hepburn, Stanwyck, even Ginger Rogers. But Crawford always - ALWAYS - seemed to be holding on to her image of herself as an actress in performance. Not that some of her scenes weren't great - "Mildred Pierce" has more than any - but you never had the sense that behind that construction there was anything of substance. Just ambition, hunger, and a rather cheap and shallow understanding of what it was to be human.
- Blah, blah, blah, buhbuhblahhhh...
- Her decline started at a Supermarket, whilst shopping for red weirdos.
- R440, that looks more like those Academy Award luncheon group photos. Why is there a large Oscar to the right?
- Hand in your gay card r457. That photo is very famous.
You'll note LB Mayer sitting smack dab in the middle of the front row with Greer, Hedy, Kate and Lucy.
- R457. that was a photograph done for Life magazine in 1943. The "missing" stars, including Judy and Lana, were away on war bond tours. Some were in the service like Gable. Otherwise, EVERYONE who was considered a star or contract player of note was summoned/ordered to appear for the picture. They really didn't have a choice. L.B. was "God." Joan was gone from MGM by the time this pic was taken. The Oscar cardboard cutouts were just for visual effect.
- Good God. What's wrong with these people?
- R455/R460 is a cunt who has been dropping her little turds around the DL. One wonders if she is such an expert on the subject of boredom why she doesn't slide her ass to someplace more suitable for her sensibilities. Like a flushing toilet.
- Thanks R40, on behalf of all those in DL who always wondered what one wondered when wondering. You have a flair for the pissoir.
- What music did Joan listen to?
- Joan was training to become an opera singer in the late thirties.
- All it takes is a little training, and then you too can become an opera singer.
- [quote]What music did Joan listen to?
- [quote]What music did Joan listen to?
Sea Shanties, of course.
- "The Shining Hour" was just shown on TCM -- 1938 movie adapted from a play, starring Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Robert Young, Margaret Sullavan, & Fay Bainter.
Excellent soap opera, with Crawford perfectly cast as a not-quite-nice dancer who marries above her station & then makes matters worse by falling in love with her husband's brother (whose wife has become her best friend). She did a great job & held her own against the rest of the extremely accomplished cast.
She's not my favorite but she really did do fine work sometimes & this is one example of her best.
- Mildred Pierce will be on TCM tonight, check your ,ocal listings.
- David Niven wrote of having to endure records Joan made of herself singing various arias, which she played at her dinner parties in the late 1930s.
- [quote]she really did do fine work sometimes
A while back I caught some of a silent she did and she was very good. Very expressive with her face and body language but not the over the top, none of they eye rolling and hand to the throat kind of thing you see in most silent films.
- Clip from [italic]The Circle[/italic] (1925):
- R472 Thanks for posting that. Who is her co-star there? Gay Gay Gayerson?
- R473 That was noted silent actor Gay McBottomly. He never crossed over to talkies because his deep bass voice did not resonate with his fans.
- Thanks for the labels on the R440 MGM pic. Seems like quite a few A-list stars are missing, Half a dozen are Big Band leaders (celebrities, sure, but not really movie stars). I also see that two men are not labeled, anyone know who they are -- the two guys sitting between Gene Kelly and Robert Taylor, second row behind Irene Dune.
- I like her in this silent (then again I like her in most things) "Our Dancing Daughters."
- "Our Dancing Daughters"
- And if you have the time watch the whole thing.
- R475, the older man is Lewis Stone - "Judge Hardy," father to Mickey Rooney's Andy Hardy. His name is off to the right with a barely visible line connecting it to him.
The younger man is Jean-Pierre Aumont, a French actor in the 30s who then signed with MGM. His name tag is on the floor in front of Irene Dunne and Susan Peters.
- Joan isn't featured, but I couldn't find a more apt thread.
A gal's gotta have her Lustre-Creme:
- Don't laugh, Bette Davis is described as "beautiful":
- Joan Crawford for Lustre-Creme:
- Be fair, R481. It's her hair that is described as beautiful.
- Actually, it is her:
"Bette Davis, beautiful Lustre-Creme girl"
And her hair looks awful.
- Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and her second husband Martin Arrouge
- It must have been a Crawford contractual stipulation to have at least one shot where a band of light illuminates her eyes while the rest of her features remain in shadow.
- My PBS station recently showed the 1964 Bette Davis movie "Dead Ringer," where the Davis played twins.
- Joan Crawford with Anita Page...
- Omg! What is that? Joan...what the fuck!
- R487 Die, Mommie, Die! Is based on that film.
- This picture was only added to her IMDb, a few days ago; Ann Blyth looks good for her age:
- The Crawford was no stranger to lesbian activity.
- MORE of The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
Adela Rogers St. Johns was at Warner Bros. during the making of "Dangerous." "
"I didn't know Davis too well," she said, "but I knew she had a reputation for being tough on her leading men. She hauled off and socked Charlie Farrell over some misunderstanding on one picture, and Jimmy Cagney got the brunt of her temper on another. So, when Dangerous began and the reports went out that Bette was behaving like a little lamb with Franchot, I suspected something was up."
Davis and Tone held frequent meetings in her dressing room. The actress explained he was a serious artist and she needed his input on her character. "Playing an actress," she said at the time, "is unlike playing an ordinary woman. All her gestures are a little too broad, all her emotions a little too threatening. Her greed, her insatiable zest for living, her all-encompassing ego make her seem completely pagan, but an articulate pagan, one who knows all the tricks of the trade,"
During the making of Dangerous, Joan Crawford suddenly announced her engagement to Franchot Tone. There were no immediate plans for marriage, she repeated: "Marriage makes lovers just people." Her relationship with Franchot was one of utter freedom -- although, according to Bette, Joan kept Tone on a short leash throughout the filming. "They met for lunch each day," she said in 1987. "After lunch he would return to the set, his face covered with lipstick. He made sure we all knew it was Crawford's lipstick. He was very honored that this great star was in love with him. I was jealous, of course."
But not beaten. She appealed to Franchot's actor's ego. She had Laird Doyle, the writer of Dangerous, add new material to his scenes with her. This of course necessitated additional rehearsals, and more private meetings with her. "She almost drove herself crazy, scheming on how to get Franchot away from Joan," said Adela Rogers St. Johns, who eventually carried the news of Bette's romantic interest to Crawford.
"Oh," said Joan, when told of the competition, "that coarse little thing doesn't stand a chance with Franchot."
"I mentioned that Bette was a fine actress," said St. Johns, "and was going to become a big, big star."
The latter news apparently intrigued Crawford. She called Adela a few mornings later and asked the writer if she would accompany her to the set of Dangerous. "To my knowledge," said St. Johns, "this was the first time Bette and Joan had been formally introduced."
"We met previously," said Davis, "at a party at Marion Davies'."
"I met many lovely people at Marion's," Crawford insisted, "but Miss Davis was NOT one of them."
At Warner's that day Crawford, the bigger star, was "her usual gracious self," said St. Johns, "while Bette did her best to ignore her, keeping those huge eyes of hers fixed like a bayonet on Franchot." The visitors stood on the sidelines and watched Davis emote in the scene where she visits Tone in his office and tells him he is a sap to believe she ever loved him.
"You! With your fat little soul and smug face. I've lived more in a single day than you'll ever DARE live," said Bette as Joyce Heath.
"It was a powerful scene," said St. Johns. "The contrast in style between her and Franchot was striking. I could sense Crawford ding to attention beside me. She knew that Davis could never compete with her sexually, but talent-wise? That was another horse race indeed. And Bette was the champion in that field. Joan knew that, and so did Franchot. You could see the sparks flying off him as he worked with Bette. She was the first real actress he had worked with since he came to Hollywood. There was also some talk that he was writing a script for both of them to do. But Joan put a stop to that, real fast. Three days after Dangerous was finished, despite her objections to marriage, she took off with Franchot to New York, and the next thing we heard they were married in New Jersey."
"It was Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne who made me change my mind about marriage," said Joan in 1935.
- The Divine Feud (cont'd.)
"[Lunt and Fontanne] managed to blend their professional achievements so magnificently well with their private life. They inspired Franchot and I to humbly enter the same happy union."
Whatever anger Bette Davis felt when she learned that Crawford had married Franchot Tone, her unhappiness was lifted when Jack Warner told her he had bought the rights to the hit New York play The Petrified Forest, and she would play Gaby, the leading female role. In November 1935 filming was already under way, while Dangerous was being given a fast edit for a December release, to qualify Bette for Academy Award consideration. Another reason for the haste was Jack Warner's desire to capitalize on the success of Franchot Tone in Mutiny on the Bounty, released on November 7. The MGM film was a giant hit, with Tone receiving the best reviews of his Hollywood career. The Warner Bros. merchandising department was told to feature the actor prominently in the ads and photos for the Bette Davis movie. "LOOK OUT FRANCHOT TONE! -- you're in for the toughest MUTINY -- you've ever faced, when BETTE DAVIS rebels in DANGEROUS,' was one of the popular logos.
Davis, when told of the campaign, said she didn't mind the emphasis being placed on Crawford's new husband. "Franchot was a swell guy, a really top-drawer person," she said. 'And at the time I felt the picture needed all the help it could get. It wasn't something I was crazy about."
The critics felt otherwise. "Penetratingly alive ... electric," said the Los Angeles Times. "A strikingly sensitive performance, in a well-made bit of post-Pinero drama," said the New York Times. Oscar voters were similarly impressed. In January 1936 she was listed as one of the nominees for Best Actress.
Davis wasn't going to attend the ceremonies, she insisted. The nomination was a gesture of sympathy, for being ignored the year before. On March 5, the morning of the banquet, she came down with the flu (a psychosomatic condition used by Crawford on HER Oscar day), but, bullied by her mother, Bette agreed to attend with her husband Ham. She would not get "gussied up," however. Her hair, back to its original mousy brown, had already been permed, and instead of a formal gown she pulled a navy print dress from her closet.
Arriving at the banquet at the Biltmore Hotel with Ham and her mother, Bette found there was no room for them at the studio's front table, where Jack Warner sat with producer Hal Wallis and directors Michael Curtiz and Max Reinhardt. Placed at the side of the room, Bette applauded enthusiastically as one by one the major awards bypassed Warners and went to RKO for Best Script, Best Actor and Best Director. Bette was sure that RKO would pick up Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn (Alice Adams). When D.W. Griffith went to the podium to announce the winner, she managed to smile.
"The winner is Bette Davis, for Dangerous," said Griffith. Making a short speech, the actress was polite, displaying the barest of emotion, although she claimed later that inside she was happy to the point of exploding.
Leading a standing ovation, Jack Warner beamed from table one, while at table two a vanquished Best Actor nominee, Franchot Tone, leapt to his feet as Bette passed by and embraced her. "Oh, God, he was always a gentleman, the tops," she recalled. Franchot's wife, however, remained seated with her back to the Best Actress, until her husband said, "Darling" Turning her head, the immaculately groomed and spectacularly beautiful Joan Crawford looked up, then down at the Best Actress winner and said,
"Dear Bette! What a LOVELY frock."
- Thanks for posting, R494, I always wondered when and how they first met.
- What did Vincent Sherman have to do with "Baby Jane"?
- I believe Joan killed Roby Heard. Alternating the hammer between strike surface and claws.
- "The Crawford was no stranger to lesbian activity."
Maybe we should ask 'charlie.' Surely he knew Crawford, him being in NYC at the same time she was. He'll be able to deny Joan had lesbian tendencies for all of the DL gays.
- Some other big stars I noticed were missing from the MGM 1942 Anniversary photo:
Ann Sothern, Eleanor Powell, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan. And little Virginia Wiedler.
- Even in her later years Miss Crawford never shied away from showing her gams:
- Possessed (1947)
One of Crawford's finest performances
- I totally agree with you R501! To me, it's her best performance. Excellent.
- [quote]On "Charlotte" I had my own makeup concept for Bette, which lasted about five minutes. She would say to me, 'Don't fuck with my face.' But she was a pro, with a great sense of humor. Once she gave me an eight-by-ten photograph of herself superimposed on the body of a Playboy cover girl. It was a very erotic pose. Some people thought it was really Bette. 'If this gets out, it's your ass,' she told me.
I wonder if it was a photo of her from Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)? In it, she plays wife to Keenan Wynn who shows everyone a picture of her where she's a total hotsy-totsy in a bathing suit, but it's obviously her face from the early 1930s pasted onto a model's body.
- JOHNNY GUITAR was the first movie I saw, aged 8, and it was so incredibly vivid, what an introduction to movies! It wasn't a flop here in Europe but remains a cult classic, I love it every time I see it.
Also Joan's other camp classics like Female On The Beach and Torch Song, of course by the 60s she was doing rubbish like Straitjacket and Berserk.
- I think it's so quaint we still have a couple of old pets who call her "Miss" Crawford.
- I think that someone ought to check Joan's whereabouts the two days before they found Elizabeth Short, don't you?
- Oh, she was just getting older. At that time actresses past their prime just walked into the sunset- nobody knew what to do with aging movie stars (except character roles and TV).
But Crawford, Davis, Stanwyck, etc. soldiered on, with varying degrees of success.
- What a great thread!