Outrageous and controversial this is the story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) as she struggles for her career and battles the inner demons of her private life. This torment was manifested in her relationships with her adopted children Christina (Diana Scarwid) and Christopher (Xander Berkeley). The public Crawford was a strong-willed glamorous object of admiration but Mommie Dearest reveals the private Crawford the woman desperate to be a mother adopting her children when she was single and trying to survive in a devastating industry that swallows careers thoughtlessly. The rage the debilitating strain and the terrifying descent into alcoholism and child abuse are graphically - and unforgettably depicted in this film based upon Christina Crawford's best-selling book.System Requirements:Running Time 128 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: PG UPC: 097360420845 Manufacturer No: 042084
The movie that made "No wire hangers!" a household phrase, Mommie Dearest is the very model of a modern "camp classic," so crazily outlandish that it's fascinating. Based on the scathing and scandalous tell-all bestseller by Christina Crawford, the adopted daughter of histrionic Hollywood movie queen Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest was billed in advance as a serious dramatic motion-picture biography. But it turned out to be something much, much weirder--a genuine Hollywood oddity that serves up a bizarre mixture of melodramatic trash and outrageous tragi-comedy. Joan Crawford won an Oscar for playing the role of the self-sacrificing mother, the woman who would do anything for her daughter, in Mildred Pierce. As depicted by Faye Dunaway (playing the hell out of the role as if she's determined to win another Oscar of her own, damn it!), her role as offscreen parent puts her in a league with big-time scary screen mommies such as Mrs. Bates in Psycho, and Angela Lansbury's ¨¹ber-mom in The Manchurian Candidate. Dunaway's Crawford torments and terrorizes her adopted children in myriad ways--making them give away their own birthday gifts and rousting them from their beds for frantic after-midnight bathroom-scrubbing attacks. And when, after the death of her Pepsico chairman husband, Crawford tells the board of directors, "Don't f--- with me, fellas!" one is very much inclined to heed her warning. --Jim Emerson
"Hollywood Royalty Edition" DVD Resuscitates Crawford Camp Classic Embodied by an Overcommitted Dunaway Even though she was the first runner-up for the New York Film Critics Award, Faye Dunaway disavows her performance as screen icon Joan Crawford because the camp following this 1981 potboiler has developed over the years has probably been overwhelming. To put it mildly, she is certainly watchable. However, every line she utters seems to have an exclamation point, and every gesture feels so grandiose that it's hard to figure out just what empathetic qualities Crawford had to engender her long-standing popularity. The glibly titled 2006 Hollywood Royalty Edition DVD package makes no bones that this is a movie that now caters to its huge gay following. Dunaway's snub in participating (as well as director Frank Perry's death) means having flamboyant director John Waters pinch-hit on the commentary track, and he manages to be both funny and insightful as he shares lots of apocryphal gossip and zingy one-liners to bring a whole new flavor to the execrable film.
Among his many errors in judgment, Perry decided to film the story of Crawford's mid-to-late years (or more appropriately, her adopted daughter Christina's version of it) as if the movie was one of Crawford's own overripe films. The problem with his serious-minded approach is that it veers so unpredictably back and forth between soap opera and pure camp that the only consistency is its artifice. The story begins as the movie star's career is in free fall at MGM in 1939 (when she was forced to film a true atrocity called "Ice Follies of 1939"). Aware of her professional dilemma, Crawford decides to adopt a baby regardless of being a twice-divorced single career woman. With the help of her studio lackey lover Greg Savitt, she adopts a daughter and later a son. Forever the publicity hound, Crawford presents her happy family in the most pretentious manner in front of the Hollywood press, yet hides a streak of cruelty that manifests itself into military-like parenting and savagely violent episodes. Not living up to her mother's exacting standards, Christina is shuttled off to boarding school and then convent school. She grows up to become a struggling young TV actress, as her mother becomes a corporate wife-turned widow slipping deeper into alcoholism.
Perry makes a fundamental mistake in switching the film's narrative perspective from Joan to Christina midway through the film. The consequence is that neither of their stories is fully told with any objectivity, especially what could have happened in Crawford's earlier years that would have led to such excessive behavior. Instead, we are given an endless parade of over-the-top moments - the tree chopping, the tile scrubbing, the wire hangers, the out-of-control strangulation - that the movie is simply too exhausting to keep up with the episodic storyline. With her reasonable resemblance to the movie star in full make-up, Dunaway carries herself confidently within the Crawford public persona and even achieves some remote moments of poignancy in between the shouting matches. Her strenuous efforts at verisimilitude, however, push her into an unsavory, demonic level of commitment to the larger-than-life role. It's too bad that almost everyone else is quite awful by comparison - Diana Scarwid frustratingly wooden as the adult Christina, Rutanya Alda irritatingly earnest in her blind devotion as Crawford's confidante Carol Ann, Steve Forrest looking like aged beef as Savitt and Howard Da Silva merely smarmy as MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer. The one exception is little Mara Hobel, who brings genuine cunning to the younger Christina.
The Hollywood Royalty Edition includes three dishy featurettes. The 14-minute "The Revival of Joan Crawford" shows the genesis of the movie from Christina's red-hot best seller with contributions from Scarwid, Alda and producer Frank Yablans, who speaks candidly about Dunaway's tempestuous perfectionism. The 14-minute "Life With Joan" focuses on Dunaway's total absorption in the part during the stormy production and includes an extended opening sequence that was deleted before release. The 16-minute "Joan Lives On" speaks specifically to the film's cult status with Waters and Crawford impersonator Lypsinka providing particularly comic insight to its gay following. There is also a photo gallery and the original trailer. It's truly for lovers of cinema camp....more info
Joanne Bogle DVD mummy Dearest Once again unable to purchase in New Zealand but able to purchase through your website. I had them with 10 days. Didn't go on my DVD player but plays well on the computer. Another one for keeps sake....more info
Oh Mommie...Don't I was totally unimpressed with this 'new' DVD, John waters commentary is pedestrian at best and Lypsinka didn't tell us anything we don't already know. Skip this one and tape it off AMC on Mothers Day....more info
The fiction hushed and shaded before such doses of chilling realism!
Around this unbelievable indoors behavior of one of the classical divas of the cinema, that constituted one of the most shocking and contrasting experiences told by her own daughter, it was possible to take into the screen.
The towering performance of Faye Dunaway still remains among her most pyramidal artistic achievements ever made. And a very special kudos to Frank Perry one of the most talented directors in those times who seemed to be gifted of that touch of genius for this sort of films (Do you remember him directing The swimmer?).
A chilling portrait about disaffection means. After you watch it you will understand the astonishing clarity of this Napoleon' s statement: "There are loves that kill".
Eeeeeeeew. I try to look away... Some of us have guilty pleasures. We'll channel surf and stop at "Flowers in the Attic", "Grease 2", or "Xanadu". We don't really understand why.
This is the notorious over the top movie from 1981 based on an autobiographical book by Christina Crawford, painting her adoptive mother as a psychotic perfectionist. Faye Dunaway seems like a tired drag queen. This movie takes itself too seriously. The real Joan Crawford slowly became more and more mannish over the years until she developed a swagger and voice that made John Wayne seem like Betty Boop.
Dunaway's character quickly becomes a frightening monster, each scene of anger more disturbing than the last. It's surprising that Christina didn't kill this woman or run far, far away.
It's like some awful car accident that you try to avoid looking at. The film has become a pathetic dark comedy, a true horror film. You cannot help but laugh at this load of tripe. And then wince.
If you want to see the real Joan at her scary best, check out Strait Jacket (William Castle's psycho-with-a-hatchet flick), Johnny Guitar (colorful western with palpable lesbian tension), and Queen Bee (nasty soap melodrama).
Just remember, darlings: Life will be fine as long as you keep an immaculately clean home, get your Christmas cards out on time, and smile for the reporters.
Hanger scene Over all I felt that the movie was really good, good actors/actresess, Mara Hobels acting ability was great for some one of that age doing a film such as this one, over all I enjoyed the movie alot but what was with that hanger scene, a little to extreme if you ask me. Over all except for that scene I loved the movie. ...more info
The Daughter's Last Word The film begins when a woman awakes at 4AM and begins to wash her hands and face She has a clothes closet big enough for a small store. It is Hollywood in the late 1930s. Joan visits an orphanage to give Christmas presents. Her talk tells about herself. She wants a baby, but must adopt. This child will live in wealth and comfort; what could go wrong? After Christina she adopts Christopher, another unwanted child. Spare presents are sent to the poor children at the orphanage. [No explanation of this personal choice.] Joan seems to be reliving her youth via her daughter. But as Tina grows up she develops a mind and will of her own. Joan gets the part she wanted. Tina imitates her mother.
Joan has a problem with her lawyer friend Greg. She insults him, and it is the end of their relationship. Her children play outside and make noise. L. B. Mayer tells Joan she must find another studio. Joan takes her anger out on her rose bushes. She practices her acting so she can be perfect in her next film. Tina has her own tastes in food. Joan hates wire coat hangers (as if that is Tina's fault?). [Does this reflect her fading career?] Tina is sent to a boarding school. She grows up, and learns acting. Joan has financial difficulties, this will affect Tina. Tina is more grown up now; she learns she was adopted. There is a very emotional scene, and Tina goes to a convent school. Will she benefit from this?
Joan marries a wealthy soft drink executive; her life changes. Christina has started acting. Joan's tastes are too expensive for Alfred. Joan know how to negotiate with top management; she won't be screwed over! Her daughter gets a part on a TV series. When Joan is ill her daughter accepts an award for her. And so the end comes for Joan. Joan's will leaves nothing for Christina and Christopher; no reasons given. [How much was her estate?] Christina's book is her last word.
The moral of this story is to never disinherit any of your children, especially if your closet is full of skeletons.
John Waters commentary makes up for dull special features This three star rating, mind you, pertains only to the extras featured on this DVD. I love the movie, more for Faye Dunaway's amazing performance then the campy script and flawed direction. "Mommie Dearest" will remain a camp classic for reasons only obvious to anyone who has sat through it more then once. Faye Dunaway has bitterly denounced this movie, and will go ballistic on any interviewer who brings the film up. It's sad too, because this is her most accomplished performance to date. Even more then "Bonnie and Clyde" and her Oscar-winning work in "Network". The film released in 1981 to scolding reviews and a bad press release. Apparently director Frank Perry really did intend to make this a full-blown drama, but audiences begged to differ, laughing in the aisles whenever baby Christina got slapped, dissed or tortured by the evil that was Joan Crawford. Dunaway deserved an Oscar for this role, I'm sorry. The fact that she didn't even get a nomination boggles me, because this is something no other actress could have pulled off as skillfully as her. (Dunaway did come in a strong second at the New York Film Critics Circle for Best Actress 1981).
If "Mommie Dearest" suffers in translation for most critics, the extras on this 'Hollywood Royalty' edition are no exception. We basically have a 45-minute documentary consolidated into three different sections, yet the producers of this DVD want you to believe its "Three Seperate Documenatries", when in reality, it's basically the same people on each one, wearing the same clothes, with the same music, AND the same movie clips from Joan Crawford's infamous western in 1954. They couldn't get the "Mildred Pierce" clips? Since Faye Dunaway is not part of the interviewed cast, we instead get the has-beens who have not had substantial careers since "Mommie Dearest". This includes Diana Scawird- who played the older Christina in the movie, and who you might remember as Michelle Pfeiffer's best friend in the 2000 flick "What Lies Beneath". Plastic surgery has not been kind to Ms. Scarwird, who looks like she spent more time stretching her face for the interview then her entire role in the movie. Also on hand is the loyal housekeeper in the movie, but I sadly have forgotten her name and am too lazy to look on the back of the DVD. Suffice it to say, along with the producer of the movie, these three people apparently lived on Mars for the past 25 years, since they all do nothing but praise the movie's "great script" and "wonderful direction". What trade papers did THEY read? The movie was universally panned for all aspects BUT Dunaway's performance. Even if she won a Razzie, with the exception of a few, most people had no problem with her, but did have a problem with the rest of the movie.
The writer and producer really got under my skin. He did have the decency to admit "I did have a tiff with Faye the first day of shooting, but then it was fine from then on there." You know what? I smell bull shiiit. Dunaway even noted in her great autobiography she had a terrible time making this movie, that it was an exhausting and agonizing experience. But the people on the DVD 2006 documentary make it seem like it was a walk in the park. Just like the movie, they want you to believe everything is just finnne and dandy.
There is one exception. Since I am upset there are no deleted scenes, at least the funny and very insightful John Waters (director of "Serial Mom") lets us hear his thoughts on "Mommie Dearest" in a very entertaining commentary. Waters seems to be with you in your living room as he talks, he's that fun. He also makes some very important observations during the film, like how many movie stars behave just how Crawford was panned to act, how Christina should be grateful she was adopted by Joan Crawford and not those strict as rocks Nuns. Also, he makes it clear this is a movie gay audiences love, because it's a way to cheer for the bitchy, rich Queen of the Movies who we love more when she's ripping other people to shreds.
I'd say if you really liked this movie, buy the DVD. Just be prepared not to have as much as promised. ...more info
YES MOMMIE This could be the shortest summation of a DVD release ever: biographical story of actress Joan Crawford as seen through the eyes of Christina Crawford. That is if that were all this movie was about.
In fact this movie hits and misses on a number of levels with more hits than misses. So let's focus on those. The film is based on the behind the scenes tell all tale of Hollywood actress Joan Crawford, past her prime and in need of something more fulfilling, she adopts a young baby girl and names her Christina, soon to be followed by a young boy named Christopher. All seems fine and dandy until the real Joan begins to show through as the children start to grow up.
When Christina begins to get more attention than Joan at things like her own birthday party, the terrible Joan surfaces, forcing Christina to do things like give away all of the gifts that she gets to the orphans of the world save for one item. But by this time Christina has learned to play the same sort of manipulative games her mother does and works her way into one extra gift.
The film focuses on the battles of wills between the two, watching as they pick at each other, fight with one another and eventually come to terms with one another. While Joan as portrayed by Faye Dunaway comes off as a raving lunatic most of the time, Christina (played by Mara Hobel as a child and Diana Scarwid in young adulthood) comes off as a spoiled brat who has just as many problems. Whether or not those were inflicted upon her by Joan is something that could be the topic of a psychiatrist symposium I would imagine, but at the same time the similarities between the two far outweigh the differences.
So much for the surface story we as viewers are given. Because not only are we entertained by the story itself, we are given the rare treat of a movie that many have called a camp classic. Its also become a favorite (or so you might hear) of the gay community, thrilled with the over the top antics and make up used by Dunaway making her Joan convincing at one point and way out in left field at others. The penciled in eyebrows and bright red lipstick at times make her look more like a female impersonator than an actress portraying another actress. But somehow she makes it believable at the same time.
At the height of her own career when the film was made 25 years ago, Dunaway is said to have campaigned for the role. She does it well but never up to Oscar winning standards. It's more of a People's Choice Awards type performance, where the actor is awarded for making the audience question who the real person behind the character seen on screen is. Her performance is one that makes you want to go out and rent a Joan Crawford movie just to see if the crazy woman seen here was showing any signs of strain in her real movies as well.
There is little way that you could walk away from this without knowing the catch phrases that have been repeated ad nauseum since. "Did you scrub the floor today?!", "Why must EVERYTHING be a contest?" and of course "No...wire...hangers!". It seems that these phrases have done more to promote the repetitive viewing of this film than the mere knowledge of subject matter or performances would in another film.
The new release of the DVD is called "The Hollywood Royalty Edition" and sad but true it not only reflects jokingly on a line from the film but on a time few remember these days. There actually was a time when Hollywood starts were looked upon as the American version of royalty. Back when stars were made by studios and PR men. These days they're more often concerned with the impression they leave as political pundits as opposed to being well crafted actors. It's enough to make you miss the good old days.
The new DVD comes complete with the new film as well as a photo gallery, the trailer for the film, three behind the scenes featurettes and a commentary track by the king of camp, director John Waters. What seems to be missing is a track or short on the main actress Faye Dunaway. During one of the extras here we are told that she has for some reason tried to distance herself from this film. Odd since she tried to hard to get the part let alone makeover herself to "be" Joan Crawford.
What we are left at in the end is not just another Hollywood bio pic, but a movie that goes beneath the surface to the underlying problems of a tortured soul. I never thought of that years ago when I first saw this film. Upon repeated viewing, the campness wears thing and beneath is revealed a woman trapped in her own plastic world, a woman who knew little about how to show/give love and a woman who wanted nothing more than to be loved.
Good but not the best When I found that Mommie Dearest was being rereleased in a special edition with extras, I was glad to hear that the movie might finally be restored to its original 4 hours. I was disappointed when I received this version to find out that none of the delected scenes are included and Faye Dunaway refused to participate in the DVD. It is a shame that the first book that told the TRUTH about child abuse was turned into farce. This movie could have been so much more....more info
Damaged DVD. I got this movie for my mom.LOL. For xmas. I opened the dvd put it in the dvd player and it was skipping. BRAND NEW! I looked at the dvd and the ring in the middle looked a bit damamged. I wont buy another!...more info
Completely Satistified!! NO WIRE HANGERS....EVER!!!!! LOL!!! Do i even have to say it?? I Love this movie!! The service was excellent!!!! The disc was brand new and what more do i need to say? DO BUSINESS WITH THIS PERSON!!!!...more info
Brilliant This is a great DVD and John Waters' commentary is great. If you love this movie, you should purchase the Hollywood Royalty edition. It's fun!...more info
TRUE TRASH. AND WE LOVE IT! Is there a guiltier pleasure than this 1981 big-screen take on the life of Joan Crawford? Faye Dunaway chews, swallows and spits out the scenery, the script and the co-stars--subtlety and sensitivity take a back seat glaring color, great thumping plot points and a diva's performance that would make the best of Bette look rank. Miss D's performance is so over the top and so incredibly awful that the release of the DVD is a blessing--we can now control the Dunaway Dosage, and watch it a bit at a time.
Mommie Dearest is true trash. It's loud, crass, unbelievably uncomfortable, taste-free and, ultimately, pretty stupid. But, hey, isn't that what guilty pleasures are about? ...more info
Why Can't You Give Me The Respect I'm Entitled To!!! I sat in a movie theater watching in wide-eyed wonder at the image of Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and I knew I was in for a treat! And Boy,did Faye deliver! She was always a bit over the top with directors that didn't know how to handle her(much like Crawford herself) but I wasn't ready for the spectacle I was about to witness! And I howled with laughter and loved her for it! Yes, Crawford would not likely be voted,"Mother Of The Year" but the image of Faye,dressed in black and her face covered in cold cream and a slash of red lipstick is nothing less than a camp nightmare as she stalks about,ripping clothes from the dreaded wire hangers,he face a Kabuki mask of torment! Faye took her place as a Camp Maddonna with this performance and,if you dare,watch it more than once,even twice. Diana Scarwid is much better in the role of Christina than people give her credit for. Faye plays Joan like high opera and Diana wisely underplays,giving her line reading a gravity that other actresses would have been too cowed to attempt. And, now,The Special Collector's Edition! This is a must-have for so many reasons!
Hooray for John Waters commentary I bought it for the Waters interview. He can make me laugh because he finds the obvious unusual, and the unusual obvious. He paints a very sympathetic portrait of JC, which I wouldn't have thought possible. I like to hear him speak because he makes me think differently about people and situations, and I love people who can make me appreciate art in a new way. He's like a museum docent who can make the Mona Lisa titillating.
He praises the director and made me appreciate the photography, clothes, scenery and I saw how this movie fits into the "woman's picture" genre. ...more info
Scared the heck out of me.... When I was kid watching this on cable it scared the poop out of me. My mom wasn't nearly so scary but she was quite a disciplinarian so I could totally relate.
It wasn't until recently I realized this is not a horror movie but good, solid campy fun. Either way it's a fun movie!
Fortunately, only the tree...... She was a STAR that had turned into a COMET.
This is what the whole story is all about.It's so scary when Joan chopped down the tree,an outburst of frustration,(raptus?)almost loosing her mind.
Joan Crawford is one of my favorite stars,gracious,classy,sweet aggresive,determinated,a fatal beauty, exceptionally one of the best Hollywood idols in the story of cinema.
Falling down is a hard grip for a beautiful superstar
especially if it used to be a star that splendoured!!I like Faye Dunaway in this movie as much as Crawford in her movies.
LOVE IT!!!!!!! This is one of the few movies I can look at again and again. They did a Great job on this movie-we will never know the true story and I am ok with that. Movie Stars are real people with real issues just like us -wait with way more issues then us. Sorry this kind of treatment happens to a lot of children and it is sad becuase sometimes it does not come out till its to late. In closing I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!...more info
Mommy Who? This move will always be a classic in our family. With Joan Crawford's demands and strict parenting I can see why her adopted daughter would want to let the world know her story. From the time Joan made Christina eat raw (or rare as Joan claimed) steak for days, to the whole wire hanger scene and the cutting of Christina's hair for imitating her mother is all unfortunate but a little humorous. Children always imitate people whom they admire or are a big influence in their lives. Joan did not have to react to such extremes. And the axe scene. Can't forget that wild night. "Christina, bring me the axe". Lol... However they did share a better relationship as they got older. Don't forget when Christina lived on her own and Joan would stop by to pay a visit or when Joan played Christina's part in a popular soap opera show (although Joan was much too old for that role). My main question is where was Christopher during all of these situations? The movie didn't show much of him. I know this movie was about Christina's relationship with her mother, but they could have put him in more scenes, especially as an adult. How was Christina's and Christopher's relationship? I'm not sure if some of the movie was exaggerated or not, but I do know it was unacceptable that Joan didn't leave a penny or any possesions in her will for her children. That's just down right dirty and spiteful even if Christina tested her a bit as a child. That's what children do and they get disciplined appropriately, not with cruel and unual punishment or abuse. But I'm not too sure if the whole story is all biographical. Futhermore, Faye Dunaway played that role phenomenally and was truely convincing. This is a movie that will never be forgotten and will always remain a collectors item. ...more info
This ain't my first time at the rodeo! A new special edition of the camp classic "Mommie Dearest" has just been issued with many treats that will certainly delight fans. The special features include a commentary from John Waters which is mildly entertaing but could have been richer and much better had he researched actual facts about the film. Instead, he simply muses on the costumes, actors, set decorations, etc. Not bad, but could have been better!
Three featurettes (all slightly under 15 minutes) are also included. These could have been combined into one long feature since the participants are practically the same in each. In the first "A Revival of Joan," Frank Yablans discusses how he came on board and his personal vision for the film. He talks about how director Frank Perry was hired as well as the casting for the film. Diana Scarwid (older Christina) and Rutanya Alda (Carol Ann) are also on hand. "Life with Joan," the second featurette features the same participants. Yablans talks about an original opening sequence with Joan on the set of "Ice Folies of 1939" in which she cuts her foot but insists on going on with the scene. Rutanya and Scarwid recall working with Faye Dunaway. Rutanya offers some interesting comments about her character - "Carol Ann" was actually a combination of three different servants who worked for Joan Crawford during her lifetime. Yablans also discusses the most infamous scenes like the "no wire hangers" scene. Director Frank Perry actually cut down the lemon tree as it proved too strenuous a job for Dunaway!
Featurette 3 is "Joan Lives On," again with the same interviewees with the exception of female impersonator Lypsinka. They show him in the make-up chair getting made up as Joan and then he shares his thoughts about the film in make-up. Yablans, Scarwid and Alda talk about the films premiere, the reponse from the public, the gay fan base, the publicity campaign and speculates as to why Faye Dunaway has denounced the film.
One odd note about all three of these features is that the only footage they show of Joan Crawford is from "Johnny Guitar." Couldn't they get footage from her other films, notably "Mildred Pierce"?
Also included is a photo gallery consisting of 34 images, mainly stills from the film as well as producation shots.
This is a must-have dvd for hardcore fans of the film. Enjoy!...more info
Mommie Deadly: An Alternate Reality In A Galaxy Far, Far Away Given the film's current cult movie status one is tempted to believe the 1981 MOMMIE DEAREST was a critical debacle and a box office fiasco. That is not really the case. It is true that critics generally considered the film a failure, but many of them admired certain elements of it; it is also true that box office fell below expectations, but it was not a box office disaster in the same sense as the 1980 HEAVEN'S GATE or the 1981 INCHON.
It is also true, however, that audiences howled with laughter at the film when it debuted, and although leading lady Faye Dunaway received a number of critical accolades for her performance as Joan Crawford, she also received an equal number of devastating reviews--and it was these that caught the spotlight. It was a humiliating experience for an actress particularly noted for her perfectionism, and rumor has it that Dunaway feels the film ended her career as a major film star. Whatever the case, Dunaway quickly developed a strategic silence about the film that she has maintained for some two decades.
Seen today, it is easy to identify the core problems of the film. The most obvious is the script, which is extremely inconsistent in quality and yet perversely consistent in a style that can only be described as soap opera hot-house to the nth degree. This is particularly true of the dialogue assigned to Dunaway. Infamous lines such as "No More Wire Hangers Ever," "Tina! Bring Me The Axe," and "I'm Not Mad At You, I'm Mad At The Dirt" have become a staple of every drag queen from Maine to California.
But the ultimate disaster here is director Frank Perry. Joan Crawford was a larger-than-life personality; the role is written to reflect this; Dunaway plays the role as it was written. But it would seem Perry sought to heighten the effect: the rest of the cast is extremely, extremely restrained. This must have seemed like a good idea in theory, but it proves a terrible mistake in actual fact. No matter what Dunaway does with it, she can NEVER seem less than wildly overwrought in comparison to the rest of the cast, and the effect is very peculiar indeed.
The designs and the cinematography also clash in an incredibly bizarre way. There is absolutely no doubt that everything about the film is exactingly accurate: that is indeed the look of the period, right down to the very last detail. But the photography is extremely flat, and you are constantly aware that the sets are indeed movie sets, the costumes are movie costumes, and so on. Yes, it is all beautifully rendered, but you can't buy into it as anything real.
The Hollywood Royalty Edition DVD edition offers a good but by no means flawless print of the film and several bonuses. It is unfortunate that they are not particularly illuminating. While director John Water's commentary is enjoyable, he approaches the film only as a fan. Even so, Water does make several telling points: many of the things that Crawford does which seem so odd (bathing the face in ice, for example) are actually commonplace cosmetic necessities for movie stars; many of the things the film treats as abuse were, although carried to wild extremes in the story, typical of child-rearing practices of the 1940s and 1950s.
There are also three short documentaries featuring a number of cast members, most notably Diana Scarwid; these are actually entertaining for the fact that those who appear still seem to regard the film as "a good movie." The only really significant interview is with Lypsinka, an artist who has driven Crawford impersonations to the level of wicked satire and high art, and who offers a number of interesting personal insights into the iconography involved.
Like the film itself, the bonus package has two great failures. The first is that Faye Dunaway does not appear in interview or commentary; it would be very interesting to have her own take on the film, its failures, and its afterlife. Given her sentiment, it is an understandable non-involvement; less understandable, however, that there is not so much as a potted biography of the actress--or indeed of any member of the cast, for there are no written notes of any kind.
The second great failure of the bonus package is that it contains no factual information on either Joan or Christina Crawford. There is no indication here that those who knew both women are sharply divided over the accuracy of the portraits both here and in the book by Christina Crawford from which the film is drawn. A number of people, including actresses Betty Hutton and June Allyson, supported Christina Crawford's accounts, but an equal number, including actress Myrna Loy and Christina's younger siblings, flatly stated that Christina's accustions were largely fictious.
When all is said and done, and in spite of performances and moments that are actually extremely good in isolation, MOMMIE DEAREST is a film that falls under the "so bad it's good" category of cult films. While I am taken aback by the bizarre nature of the movie, I personally find the amusement involved almost as dark as the movie's plot; it is not among my cult film favorites. Even so, I can understand the appeal it has for others, and I give it three stars on that basis.
Campy, cheesy, and over the top...what's NOT to love??? Personally, I think it took two to tango in the Christina Crawford/Joan Crawford "Mommie Dearest" relationship. I believe that Christina was a dreadful little brat who did everything in her power to push her mother's buttons. And I also believe that Joan Crawford was a bit of a control freak and possibly even a raving bitch.
But the movie is so over the top (Joan picks Christina up from boarding school after Christina gets in trouble, brings her home, and then, in front of a magazine reporter, proceeds to try and choke her to death?!), so campy ("NO wire hangers EVER!!!"), and so incredibly cheesy that it can't be taken in any other way than tongue-in-cheek. Anyone looking to this as a true depiction of the Joan and Christina relationship needs to step back and get a clue.
Cool movie, Faye Dunaway looks the part of Joan Crawford to a "T", and it's all very cool and fun. Just take it with a HUGE grain of salt...it isn't biographical, it's just too ridiculous to be.
**And even if you're not a fan of Crawford, there's no way you can watch this and take it as gospel. It's just too over-the-top, and too many things have been disproven over the years....more info
Without Dunaway this mind-numbing debacle would warrant no respect at all... Okay, so I'm not here to debate whether or not Christina Crawford's memoir was accurate or not, or whether or not this movie portrays Crawford in a light worthy of her because I never knew her and so I cannot judge. I hear people defend this film and its interpretation of the screen legend, and then I hear people ambush this film as if it were a production of the antichrist.
Fact remains that the film, regardless of authentic merit, is really bad.
That isn't to say that it isn't entertaining, for if I said that I'd be lying; but the film is far from a great movie. It is a camp classic, but the sad part is that that was not the films initial intent. No, this was supposed to be a dramatic representation of child abuse, and instead it became a nightmarish comedy. Every scene is over-the-top as is every performance. Honestly, it's only Faye Dunaway who walks away from this movie with her dignity (although I doubt she sees it that way) for her campy and outrageous performance is genuinely wonderful.
Forget the Razzie, I seriously would have nominated her for Oscar.
The film chronicles the tormented lives of young Christina and Christopher Crawford, the adopted children of Hollywood royalty, Joan Crawford. The early years were wonderful for Christina, but soon after the adoption of Christopher things began to change and Christina's life became one of fear and suffering. She was abused mentally, physically an emotionally. She was shipped off to a boarding school where her tyrannical mother continued to control her. She was used and manipulated and lied to and through it all she stood by her mother until her death, where Christina found out she was left with nothing.
Like I said, I'm not sure how much of this `horror' story is actually true, but whatever.
The film goes to great lengths to create conflict with every scene. Even the simplest of moments are flooded with outbursts or agitation. I don't think there is a single scene where a shady glance is not delivered or a harsh word is not spoken or an unnerving moment of manipulation is not displayed. This is one of the reasons the film is dreadfully mediocre, for it doesn't understand how to create a reality out of reality. It goes so far over-the-top, browbeating the audience with atrocities that even the actual events come off as a farce.
The acting is also a very sore spot. Diana Scarwid is terrible, as is Rutanya Alda and even young Mara Hobel. I tell you, only Dunaway understood how to work with the eccentricities. She's outlandish and over-the-top and campy as all get out but in a very deliberate and articulate way. She knew how to make a very unbelievable tyrant watchable and ultimately believable. Any other actress may have tanked this entire film and really cast it into obscurity, but thanks to Dunaway's inspired turn, this rather forgettable misstep became a camp classic that many adore to this day. The film as a whole may be a high D, but Dunaway herself is a solid A. ...more info
Mommie Dearest I could never get sick of this movie... much more interesting than the book by Joan's daughter (which was a complete snooze fest.) Fantastic movie. I ordered this from Amazon and got it like 3 days later on standard shipping....more info
Lost opportunity Christina Crawford's much discussed (and often challenged) biography of her famous mother was a story that might have made a magnificent, terrifically affecting film version. Sadly, this sumptuous production is a misfire, despite a valiant effort by Faye Dunaway in a performance that has moments of brilliance, and more moments of camp. Fans of the grotesque have lionized the movie and exaggerated its value over the years, but if that kind of thing is your bag, go see Lipsyncha live onstage and get the real deal. There's practically no sympathy for the little girl in this version of the story: for some reason, she comes off as a whining, demanding, and precocious adversary instead of the victim she probably was. Diana Scarwid, a fine actress, practically sleepwalks through her scenes as the teenaged Christina, and the movie has no momentum or drive. The photography is wonderful and the opening credit sequence promises a delirious and evocative journey through old Hollywood. But after an intriguing start, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fizzles. To those who worship this for its unintentional comedy, what can I say? You deserve better. Rent "Trog" instead....more info
I GOT TAKEN The DVD I ordered arrived blank. There was no movie on it at all. I got taken! I will never order again....don't trust. It's to bad....more info
Dunaway Is As Good As Brando Ever Was I don't know if this review will reach anyone. Hopefully someone. This dvd is a must for anyone who has seen this film and loved it or anyone who wants to see it. Also an excellent way to learn more about Joan Crawfod and more importantly, Faye Dunaway.
Dunaway disowns this part and I think I get why. The part took its toll on her emotionally and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest screen performances ever on film. And what did this gifted actress get in return? Bad reviews, jokes and a "cult" film on her behalf. Come on, I wouldn't really want to talk about it either.
Dunaway did take the time to express some feelings in her book Looking For Gatsby. So I would appreciate it if all you reviewers on amazon who trashed this film or (God help us) Dunaway herself, to read about the time and effort she put into this performance and how she did it. I'm sorry but i'm tired of people laughing at this movie and not taking it seriously. You can't throw descriptions like "over the top" at this woman because you lack perspective and appreciation of talent.
No one ever tore apart: Al Pacino in Scarface, Marlon Brando in the Godfather/Last Tango in Paris or Anthony Hopkins in Scilence of the Lambs (Hopkins,by the way,felt that her portrayal of Crawford is one of the best performances of all time). But when a woman dares to even come close to Marlon Brando's talent, people make fun of her. Also, Dunaway has made some other incredible films, i can't list them, it would take too long. Check out 3 Days of the Condor. She had to play second fiddle to Robert Redford and stole the show with a touching, sad and heartfelt character. Simply put,stop with the disrespectful reviews.
Now, this dvd did an incredible job with the extras. The commentarty with John Waters is hysterical but also very informative and touching in a way. The interviews with Diana Scarwid, Runalta Alda and Frank Yablins gives us even more information, gossip, background stories that help us understand the film and how it was made.
I hope this helps people who are interested in the dvd or are fans of Ms. Dunaway. The second reviewer of this dvd wanted to defend Crawford and I wanted to defend Ms. Dunaway. You can't defend one and not the other. ...more info
Funny in parts, disturbing in others, & likely embellished OK have a lot to say, so I will try to say it succinctly and clearly without banging on. :-)
Firstly, there are SO many opinions about Joan and "Mommie Dearest". My opinion is that Christina likely embellished a lot of what happened, and therefore the movie probably shouldn't be taken as a biographical movie.
Secondly, I agree with many others who say that Joan did the best with what she could, even though she maybe shouldn't have been a mother. She still loved her kids despite what she did to them, and when they disregarded (or when she _felt_ they disregarded) what she asked of them, whether wrong or right, she punished them as any parent would do (although she apparently went a little overboard at times). The scene where she beat Tina in the mother-daughter pool race, and she said "No one ever said life was fair Tina..." was a good lesson. Tina threw a fit about it, and Joan didn't stand for it, as no parent would. It appears that Tina chose to be angry at her mother for the discipline she often gave her, which was her problem, not Joan's. I used to do the same regarding my mother, and am learning it's a choice and I need to build a bridge and get over it.
OK, there goes the succinctness, darnit! :-) Third, Christina was angry at her mom and in what I see as another little-girl fit (sorry but that's just how I see it), made the book and movie to get back at her mom, who was deceased and couldn't even defend herself. Well guess what?: My mom was a single parent, and verbally and physically abused me also, also with the intentions of being a good parent and doing the best she could (and had a lot of the same issues Joan did), and has said just that to me. I've learned therefore to forgive her, due to that reason, just as Christina & anyone like her would be recommended to do (hopefully Christopher did also). It has freed me from a lot.
However good or bad this movie was, and whatever the circumstances surrounding it and its actors are, I will say that I am realizing that Joan was one tough b***h, didn't take any crud from anyone, and was a strong woman who did what she could with what she had. Anyone who deals with lack of self-respect or cowardice (including myself) would do good to use her determination as an example.
In spite of the over the top acting and blown-out-of-proportion way the incidents are depicted, I have found myself laughing like anyone else at several of the movies moments, namely during the hangers scene where she shakes the hanger in front of herself and says "Why?! Why?!" LOL You also can't go without mentioning, "Helga...When you polish the floor you have to move the tree!" LOL!
Sorry for the rant guys and gals; hope it was worth something to somebody!...more info
A disjointed camp classic Movies become camp classics when they are released with one intention but received another way. This was clearly meant to be a serious drama, but the underline hysteria and shrill dialogue made for silliness and humor. "Wire hangers" and "Bring me the axe!" became instant catch phrases, and even all these years later we still laugh at it. But, it's really not so funny.
Christina Crawford tells her tale of being adopted by none other than movie icon Joan Crawford as an infant. While she was given a chance at a better life, she was forced to endure the brunt of Joan's violent mood swings, alcoholism, and struggles. Unable to have her own children, Joan adopted her children not because she really wanted to give back, but as a publicity stunt. I believe Christina, as many have accused her of lies. Having several friends whose alcoholism and drug abuse have distroyed their families and severed ties with friends, I have seen it first hand. I have seen the terrible temper tantrums, the irrational behavior, and physical distruction on material things as well as the bruised faces of spouses and children. They know full well what they are doing, and maybe they are truly sorry for what they have done, but they are too self centered (like Joan) to change their behavior. A child has no choice but to absorb it, as they are dependent upon their abusive parent and can't escape. We have a tendancy to think that this happens only to poor, uneducated, urban or rural people, but it's going on right next door to you in suburbia and even on Millionaire's Row. It makes you wonder what goes on behind closed doors and how well you really know others. Who would have ever suspected that a glamourous movie star or those who live in wealth and privilage would also be so dysfunctional?
Some things were hyped up and exagerated, to be sure. Had this movie actually been taken as a serious documentary, it would not have flown too well. Faye Dunaway was so over the top she came off more as a ham and less as an actress to me. But then again, this being a camp classic, that's the point....more info
Depiction of a Less than Good Mother Unfortunately, if a lot of this film is true or based on truth, this Hollywood icon was not a very nice person. Terms such as dysfunctional, sadistic, psychotic to name a few come to mind. Faye Dunaway gives a stunning portrayal. Watching this film I often wonder to what lengths would Hollywood studios glamorize and market their stars and at what cost to whom. I like Steve Forrest's character. He brings some degree and humanity to his role that offsets Dunaway's frenetic portrayal. No matter how you slice tit up this film does entertain and certainly brought the controversy of this movie star to light.
Mommy Dearest Arrived on time and in the exact condition as stated in their description. I would use them again....more info
what goes on inside "the four walls" Mommie Dearest tells the story of life in Joan's Crawford's household primarily as seen through the eyes of her adopted daughter Christina. The film has a great cast and the action moves swiftly, keeping your attention at all times. I must confess I cringed at a few scenes that others found funny; but then again in many ways I identified with Christina more than I identified with Joan Crawford! The cinematography is excellent and the choreography is also quite professional. I am surprised that it opened to mixed reviews; perhaps some people mistook some over-the-top scenes as inartistic camp, which, even if it was camp, wasn't that bad at all.
When the action starts, we quickly meet Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) who prides herself in being "Hollywood Royalty" and having the nicest home in Brentwood. She slaves tirelessly to fight to be a star at MGM studios even though the word on the grapevine is that her career is beginning to go downhill. She is romantically involved with lawyer Greg Savitt (Steve Forrest) who works at MGM; and he tries to get her better movie parts. He also manages to get Joan a baby which she desperately wants to fill a void in her life. Greg has his reservations about Joan's suitability for motherhood as he sees Joan pushing the young Christina (Mara Hobel) too much in swimming pool races and more; but he does nothing about it. Joan even adopts another orphan she calls Christopher but we still see Joan through the eyes of Christina. This makes sense because this movie, as you may well know, is based on Christina's tell-all book about her childhood and adolescence with Joan Crawford for a mother.
And life with Joan isn't easy. Joan beats her daughter and flies into rampages over cleaning a bathroom floor that was already quite clean to begin with; and the "no more wire hangers" part of the same scene has Joan beating Christina even more when Christina was way too young to take care of herself. When on one occasion Christina accidentally discovers Joan with a man, Joan is so horrified at the negative publicity this could create that she sends Christina off to a boarding school--only to eventually pull an older Christina (Diana Scarwid) back out of the school after an innocent kissing moment with a boy.
Joan perceives Christina as wanting everything to be a "contest;" is this true? Does Christina see her mother for what her mother really is? Why does Joan adopt a second child if things with Christina weren't always so smooth? What about the effects of Joan's drinking, affairs with a lot of men and being dropped from both MGM and Warner Brothers Studios--just how much tougher will this make their lives? What happens when Christina gets older and is too ill to play her role on a soap opera? No plot spoilers here--watch the movie and find out!
I agree with reviewers who write that it's a shame that nobody from the Crawford family cared to participate in the extras that we get on this DVD. Sure, it's great to hear what the producer/screenwriter Frank Yablans and John Waters have to say about the making of the film; but of course this just isn't the same.
We'll probably never know for certain just how much truth there is to Christina's book and this movie--but one thing is clear: even if just half of this is true, Joan must have been a very intimidating mother and I assume life with her must have been difficult at least sometimes as Joan Crawford was quite the perfectionist.
Overall, Mommie Dearest is a very good film, however true or biased it may be; and I recommend it for fans of Joan Crawford and even for fans of biopics. I liked the extras on this DVD as well.
Mommy Dearest This is a great piece of work. Faye takes the cake. She did recieve an oscar for it quite a few years later. When everyone realized that this movie ruined her career. But camp is all it is. If you read the book, the divine feud it will expose most of Christina's lies. Like the scene where Joan took her out of boarding school for making out with a boy. She actually got kicked out for boinking him. Or when she was suppose to be shacked up in solitary confinement in the monestary. The book shows pictures of her on holiday with the family? I guess the biggest kick in the teeth is where Christina said that her mother lost here contract with MGM and chopped up the rose garden. Joan had to pay Mayer 50 grand to get out of the contract so she could play Mildred Pierce at Warner. Her oscar winning preformance. This is not a boring movie. It will keep you entertained. Just take it for what it is....more info
Hollywood Royalty John Waters' commentary during "M.D." was funny and spot-on. This is a film that is underappreciated and misunderstood as being too campy and over-the-top. Well, it is sometimes, but it's one of Faye Dunnaway's best performances. Favorite line: "I should have known you'd know where to find the boys and the booze!" I love it....more info
the Big Kahuna of camp classics Joan Crawford, with her impossibly-arched eyebrows and gargantuan shoulderpads, was a camp icon long before MOMMIE DEAREST even went before the cameras. Thanks to Faye Dunaway's performance in the film, Joan Crawford rose to the position of camp's High Priestess, and fans wouldn't have it any other way.
Joan Crawford's adopted daughter Christina began writing the book "Mommie Dearest" shortly before Joan's death and allowed her to read the drafts. It was for this reason alone that Crawford completely cut Christina out of the will (though Christina manages to leave out this important fact in her many interviews and personal appearances). The poison-filled tome did manage to destroy the reputation which Joan had carefully guarded and maintained throughout her professional life; but in recent years her films have gradually found their audience once again and Crawford is now looked upon as one of the leading lights of the classic cinema, as she should be.
MOMMIE DEAREST recounts the early life of Christina Crawford, growing up as the daughter of the reigning Queen of Hollywood. There is little doubt that Joan Crawford was a very demanding and strong woman, an alcoholic with deep-seated psychological phobias. But this does not make her an abuser.
In the film version of MOMMIE DEAREST, Faye Dunaway gives a very eerie recreation of Joan Crawford (which spans from 1939's "Ice Follies of 1939" to her final days). Much has been made of the infamous "NO WIRE HANGERS...EVEEEEER!!!" scene, and Dunaway has that rare ability to capture much of Crawford's agonies. Equally-strong is Mara Hobel, who gives a deeply affecting performance as the younger Christina. Diana Scarwid is memorable as the older Christina.
But it must be noted that so many incidents in the film were glossed-over in favour of Hollywood fantasy. No one will really know what exactly happened in the private relationship of Joan and Christina, but reading between the lines (and being quite aware that much of the book was written with sheer hatred and blinding anger), it becomes very clear that Christina was a little brat who did everything she could to push her mother's buttons.
MOMMIE DEAREST remains to this day a feast for the lovers of camp; from Faye Dunaway's one-line zingers, the outrageous clothes of Irene Sharaff, to the mealy-mouthed Christina played by Diana Scarwid. This deserves it's place on the shelf next to "Valley of the Dolls" and "Trog".
Dramatic, Intense Mommie Dearest protrays the life of Christina Crawford who was adopted by Joan Crawford. Joan had mental problems I guess, because there are scenes where she makes Tina eat blood red raw meat, swim from one end of the swimming pool to the other several times, and the most dramatic of all.. the infamous clothes hanger beating. And then sends her to a boarding school for years! Then leaves her Nothing in her will. Why did Joan treat her daughter so harshly? And I think Tina probbally hated her mother because there is a scene where they actually fight! I saw this movie years ago, and read the book and did a book report on it.A word of Warning, Please Dont let young chirldren view this movie, Its INTENSE, &DRAMATIC! Watch if your interested on Joan Crawford, or Tina....more info
Credit where due, Blame where due Film is considered a director's medium, right? Then the praise or blame for this film belongs primarily to
Frank Perry, a respected director who filmed such classics as "David and Lisa." Secondly, the praise for this
movie should be given primarily to Faye Dunaway, whose fearless, bravura performance lifts it above the
director/producer/writers, who let he down.
Frank Perry and the producer Frank Yablans have first writing credit on the film, and so they should get the
lion's share of praise or blame. Tracey Hotchner and Robert Getchell, who are credited third and fourh, should
come in for lesser shares of praise or blame.
So. Whatever you think of the film, set your sights on these names: Frank Perry, the director, who is primarily
responsible for he film. Frank Yablans, the producer, who chose the writers and the director. And the
four writers. Frank Perry (the director), Frank Yablans (the producer), and the four writers, (Frank Perry,
Frank Yablans, Tracey Hotchner, and Robert Getchell). These are the people to praise and blame. Along, of
course, with the fabulous Faye....more info
Mommie Dearest is flawless.... "No more wire hangers"...I always remembered this scene from when I was a kid. After buying this movie and watching it numerous times...I am convinced that Faye Dunaway IS Joan Crawford. The woman's performance is absolutely FLAWLESS! The rage that surfaces in this film is exceptional. It's nice to see the release of anger in such prestigous upper class life. Yeah, we are all human!
Her costumes are magnificent and the story flows beautifully! Definitely a must have for your library!...more info
Mommie Dearest DVD Great movie, I am glad to have it in my collection. It is one of my favorites....more info
MOMMIE DEAREST'S JOAN CRAWFORD & ROCKY HORROR'S FRANK-N-FURTER: SEPARATED AT BIRTH? ... and as for Christina, all I can say is that her childhood could have been far worse - I would have traded mine with my stepfather for hers with "Mommie Dearest" in a heartbeat.
Although Joan may have been highly volatile (maybe even a little crazy), I don't believe that it was her intention to be a tyrannical or mean-spirited mother, as it appears that she tried to provide her children with the best of everything. Running a single-parent household isn't easy, and like many celebrity parents, Joan was deeply flawed on two counts in particular: 1) what was best for Joan was always priority #1 over her children's needs; and, 2) her apparent inability to control her over-the-top emotional outbursts. But are these weaknesses in character so unusual among big stars? What would an adult-aged Lourdes have to say in a written memoir about mommy Madonna, I wonder?
Christina Crawford also seems to overlook the fact that Joan was facing a lot of pressure in many areas of her life, pressure that the average person couldn't possibly begin to comprehend. The Hollywood machinery may have made Joan a big star in her time, but those days were behind her and roles for a past-her-prime diva were few and far between. It's just too bad that we'll never get to hear Joan's side of the story regarding Christina and "Mommie Dearest"....more info
Mommie Dearest Classic, the name speak for it self, if you don't know about this movie (young and old) then you need to see it. One to watch over and over for years to come. ...more info
"There's a liquor store on the right..." Mommie Dearest (Hollywood Royalty Edition) is worth it just for the movie itself. A lot of people have described this movie as "campy" but I don't really see anything "campy" about it. Oh my god, Faye Dunaway is a genius as she portrayls real-life villian/actress Joan Crawford. Dunaway is one hell of an actress, it is upsetting to hear that this particular film ruined her incredible career. I love her performance, the way she looks exactly like Crawford, and her many facial expressions throughout the film. Buy it, buy it, buy it, Mommie Dearest has to be the best mother/daughter film of all time. No wire hangers ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
True to the book Obviously the book has more detail but the tyranny of absolute emotional and physical control is starkly captured.A magnifiscent portrayal!...more info
Might as well have "Propery of MGM "tattooed on my backside I first saw this film on cable a year after it was released. I found it extremely compelling and in no way campy. I was about 11 years old then.
Having grown up and now out of the closet, I can sort of understand the campiness and over the top emoting of certain scenes, but I have to ask: doesn't it bother anyone that somehow the subject of child abuse is being used as camp value?
I know there are two sides to this coin: those who believe Christina was brave in coming forth about her child abouse and those who think she was just a spoiled, ungrateful brat who did this only because Joan left her nothing in the will and that Joan wasn't around to defend herself. I tend to slightly fall with the latter.
I know much has been made about Faye Dunaway's performance. I think it's one of her best. For all those who say it's over the top, I would say: how could you not play a star form the Golden Age of Hollywood and not be larger than life? Look at Cate Blanchette when you first saw her as Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator"? She came on like gangbusters until she settled down and we as the audience saw her as Ms. Hepburn I think it would have to do with the direction. Not to put director Frank Perry down, but I think if a much stronger director had been guiding Faye, I don't think she would've received much criticism. I still think it's a great job.
The problem with the film is that there's no continuity to the scenes or why Joan's emotions went from one extreme to the other. One minute she's won the Ocar for Mildred Pierce, the next is the (in)famous "No Wire Hangers" scene. You don't know what year it was when incidents occured unless you've read the book or followed Joan's career thoroughly.
One thing about Joan Crawford: she always remained loyal to her fans. As she said "They're the ones who really made me!". I wish more celebrities would remember that in todays age.
But there are some very powerful scenes: I've always loved the opening scenes of Joan getting ready for the days work at MGM, obsessively cleaning her hands and face; the cruelty of Hollywood and MGM in particular as Louis B. Mayer (Howard DaSilva) almost casually letting Joan go from Metro as she is dealt the ultimate humiliation off being labled box office poison; the scene where Joan tells Christina she's broke and scared about her financial situation; and of course the scene that is most memorable: Joan facing down the board members of Pepsi after Al Steele (Harry Goaz)has passed on. It's over the top, but in the best way: showing that this woman is not going to be brushed aside so easliy. It's Faye/Joan at her best.
I disagree with the Golden Raspberry awards on this picture. I don't think it was the Worst Picture of that year(Endless Love anyone?)and Ms. Dunaway wasn't the Worst Actress. It's not a perfect film, but it's compellingly watchable from beginning to end.
I loved the supplementary material presented. John Waters supplied a great audio commentary and the featuretts were very fund. Might I say that both Rutanya Alda and Diana Scarwid looked stunningly beautiful. It's too bad that Steve Forrest and Mara Hobel weren't there to share their thoughts and feelings.
It's too bad that Ms. Dunaway won't speak about the film anymore. I don't think she has anything to be embarrassed about. This is one of her best performances and I would indeed say it rates up there with work in Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde and Network.
mommie dearest my sister loves this movie so I was glad to find it for her. no retail stores sell it, when she got it she was exstatic. i of coarse bought one for myself as well, but I have yet to watch it....more info
Giving It The Respect It Deserves I am writing this because I am one of this films FAAANNNS!
Set from the late 1930's intil 1977, this 1981 film serves as one of the greatest accidental comedies ever written for the silver screen.
The film shows what Christina Crawford claimed about her mother Joan- that she physicaly abused her as a child. It can be difficult to watch the first time through, because Dunaway's Joan is truly mean to the Christina character. After your inital viewing, you can laugh because the film is acted to the hilt, mostly by Dunaway, who graduated from the Faye Dunaway School of Over Acting. I thought it was just in "Mommie" that she came across this way, but then I bought "Network" and "Bonnie and Clyde". Mara Hobel, playing Christina as a child, struggles with a bad script full of language that seems too old for her, and she is so annoying I found myself cheering for her next beating. Diana Scarwid, who has proven to be a wonderful actress in her own right since "Mommie", portrays Christina as a teenager and adult. I think she carried what was left of the script and the story. After all she delivers some of the films most powerful lines to a simmering Faye Dunaway:
"I wanna know, why did you adopt me?" and "Because I am NOT one of your FAAANNNS!"
It's a great film worth two viewings, but I don't know that I'd count on it for historical accuracy or as a basis of knowing who Joan was. I mean I doubt she crossed her eyes when she was upset or overly happy. I give the film 5 stars not because it is a piece of Cinematic masterpiece, but because it's just pure fun....more info
Hollywood Royalty Edition.. I think its fantastic that this film is finally getting "the respect that it's entitled to" with a special edition DVD to commemorate the 25th anniversary but there's one feature thats missing that I would have always hoped to be included if a special edition ever came out of this film.
The Deleted Scenes....
The lobby cards issued for the film contain scenes from several sequences that were deleted from the final cut of the film, including:
Joan drives around the MGM lot in her car, apparently just before she visits L.B. Mayer & finds out she's fired.
Joan talks to young Christina on the beach.
Adult Christina talks to Joan while wearing the same dress she wears to the awards ceremony at the film's conclusion.
The pressbook for the film goes into detail about several of the scenes, including one sequence that was cut from the film. Apparently they filmed an entire sequence where young Christina runs away from home and Joan goes out looking for her in her car.
While It's dissapointing that these arent going to be on the extra features menu I still can't wait for the waters commentary to re-invent the viewing experience that is Mommie Dearest!.
Big Fun What else is there to say about this movie? I bought this version for the John Waters commentary. I'm glad I did, however Waters' commentary is not as funny as I'd have guessed; it is informative and well-reasoned though. That's good, but those aren't qualities I would have necessarily expected from John Waters....more info
no more wire hangers I have a lot of mixed feelings of this movie. First off, I have to give props to Faye Dunaway for playing Joan Crawford the way she did. She was impecable. The face did not really look like her, but everything else did.
OVerall, I thought the movie was a little overdown. Some of the scenes that were in the movie, I felt should not have been there. FOr example: The scene where one of her lover was going to leave, it took them about 10 minutes to do that scene.
The scene in the barn, where Christina gets caught making out with the boy. THat is not how it was written in the book. She supposedly was raped. I don't understand why they would rewrite a scene like that.
I always belive to make a really good bio pic it needs to be extremely long. That way they can cover everything. I also felt that this movie did not focus on the relationship enough between mother and daughter and more on Joan Crawford. Finally I did not really like this movie....more info