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- THE EXORCISM OF FAYE DUNAWAY
What's to say about this over-the-top film except to proclaim it a one huge must for camp classic buffs. Faye Dunaway gives all she's got and comes out smelling deliciously rotten as the legendary movie actress Joan Crawford who despises wire hangers and adopted children. Never an actress has been so frightfully dedicated to a role as Dunaway is throughout this 139 minute gem. She utterly acts as if her life depends on it, which probably does since she was given the A-list boot after the release of the film. To lovers of high standard bad cinema, however, she will always be the queen of the ball. Her scene-stealing performance definitely deserves top honors as the biggest bad movie we love moment there is. In fact, everything in MOMMY DEAREST deserves the highest praise, from its big budget grade B-movie look to its many jaw-dropping, pleasure-giving sequences (again, wire hangers anyone?). Aghast incredibility has never been this much fun in the presence of la Faye. Now all we need, besides this so-deserving Hollywood Royalty Edition, is seeing her again in the MOMMY DEAREST:THE HIDDEN YEARS sequel for us to die very very happy.-----Martin Boucher
- 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
- One of, if not the, greatest camp classic of all time!
I have to say that I'm baffled by the people who actually take this movie seriously and are seemingly offended by those of us who feel it has well-deserved its claim to the title- campiest movie of all time!
How bad is this movie? Well, its star, Faye Dunaway, blames it for destroying her career as an A-list actress and she's probably is correct in that assessment. Before "Mommie Dearest", she was the star of "Bonnie and Clyde," "Chinatown," and "Network"- each a bona fide classic of America cinema. Yet post-"Mommie Dearest," her career was reduced to such dreck as "Supergirl", "Dunston Checks In" and a failed reality TV series. I think another reviewer summed it up perfectly- it's very bad for an actor's career when audiences laugh at an actor's performance, and rest assured people have been laughing at Ms. Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford for decades.
Everyone has a favorite moment from "Mommie Dearest"- my favorite is when bratty Diana Scarwid's "Christina" returns home after getting kicked out of private school because she knew where the find to "the booze. And the boys!" Faye's "Joan" is being interviewed by a reporter, and Christina humiliates her with "That is a LIE!" And that leads to: "Why can't you show me the respect that I can get from any stranger on the street!?!?" because, as we all know, Christina is "not one of your FAAAAAANS!!!" Now, the look that comes over Faye's face- maniacal, cross-eyed, and tight-lipped- just before she puts her hands around Scarwid's neck never fails to make me laugh! It's just so over the top!
Why one star? As a camp classic "Mommie Dearest" is a five star film. However, "Mommie Dearest" was not made to be a camp classic. Further, it was not made to destroy the career of Faye Dunaway or derail Diana Scarwid's career just when it was getting off the ground (she's actually pretty talented). Also, its dramatic scenes were not supposed to make people laugh out loud. Since, the movie failed so miserably at what it set out to be then I have to give it just one star. I only give a funny movie 4-5 stars when it was actually meant to be a comedy. ...more info
- Mommie Dearest
Mommie Dearest is one of those movies to alot of people where the "real" truth comes out. Mommie Dearest happens to be about the famous movie star Joan Crawford. The movie is based on her and what happens when abuse is put on children and what damaged people are like such as, Joan Crawford. The movie is good, but some parts are alittle disturbing like the scenes where Joan abuses her daughter, Christina. We also learn alot of things about Joan including her distructing behavior, effects of alcoholism, fame,and fortune. The movie is fact and fiction mixed together. The reason I give this movie four stars instead of five is the famous scenes like the wire hanger scene are alittle exaggerated. I can believe it's true but they didn't have to go over the top if you know what I mean. I would definitely recommend this movie but only if you know somewhat about her and her life in movies before seeing it because you will enjoy it more. So as they say in the movie trailer, "The most dramatic role in her life was her life." (P.S. You will never think the same way about wire hangers again.)...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 need therapy. This movie is a trip.
When I hear the alarm go off and the opening strains of Henry Mancini's piano creep in, I know I'm preparing for that journey into the best alcohol induced haze of the 80s on the "Crawford Memorial Interstate-81". Stops along the way include...
Being Let Go
Raw (Rare) Steak
Taking that special exit for "Wire Hanger Etiquette"
Chadwick, Love, and A Snitch
Near Death Experience
Soft Drink Wars
And Last Words before taking that final exit back to reality.
In a world filled with "F*** Me" Heels, Booze, Domestic Disputes and the biggest Taboo of them all, "Wire Hangers"... We all know She's a Movie Star, She a Bitch, She Dresses Well and She's Rich. (Quoting John Waters)
I've watched this so many times that I need therapy....more info
- Good for Camp
"Mommie Dearest" the movie was certainly made to be a serious, thought provoking film (any doubts, check interviews with Christina Crawford made before the film was released). While the idea may have been to bring child abuse to the forefront (this was 1981), the result was a camp classic that failed horribly. It is said this movie ruined Faye Dunaway's A-list career and if you watch this film, you will understand why.
Never, in her entire movie career, did Joan Crawford herself overact so histrionically. Where was the director on this film when Ms. Dunaway was chewing the hell out of the scenery? Did she think that widening her already huge, excessively lined eyes and snarling her far too made up lips was an accurate portrayal of Ms. Crawford?
Almost as bad are the two actresses playing Christina. Mara Hobel played Christina as a child and is passable for most of her scenes, although the scene where she is forced to clean the bathroom and gives her Tara speech of "I'll never go hungry again" is way too much for a child. Diana Scarwid, who has turned in good performances since this bomb of a film, surprisingly enough, is, shall we say, horrible. It's the inconsistencies that do her in. She overacts in some scenes, is dull in others to the point of wondering if anyone has checked her pulse lately. Additionally, I found her constantly changing accent unnerving. In one scene, although the real Christina was born and raised in California, Ms. Scarwid's distinct Southern twang comes out. Where was the director? Where were the editors?
The film certainly succeeds in being campy and funny, and there are a few memorable lines in the film ("Don't f*** with me, fellas!") but don't watch this one thinking it's going to be a serious, thinking film. Also remember that although it's about Joan Crawford, it doesn't say much about the lady, other than Christina's take on the events of her childhood. If you want to see Faye Dunaway chopping down a tree in the backyard in a drunken haze, or wandering the halls of her house, slathered in face cream and looking for wire hangers, this is your film.
The film also completely neglects Ms. Crawford's youngest daughters -- they are never seen nor mentioned.
And while the movie ends with Ms. Crawford's death, and Christina being informed that she has been cut out of the will "for reasons which are well known to her", it doesn't show Christina working on her tell-all in order to gain that inheritance one way or the other.
As a final note, sadly and ironically enough, Ms. Dunaway was one actress that Ms. Crawford mentioned in an interview as having a good future ahead of her, and with real talent. Little did she know that some years down the road, Ms. Dunaway would turn in a much ridiculed performance as the great actress herself. ...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
- you know what they say, flush twice becuse it's a long way to hell
Growing up in K?benhavn, I never knew of this movie before. Because what is most important are the classic films of the real stars. When I first saw this movie recently, I was appalled. This is not the film-biography of Miss Joan Crawford (may she rest in peace,) in the least bit. Imagine my surprise and shock when I found out that this movie has become analogous with Miss Crawford's good name. This is such a vulgar conundrum. Rather than telling the history of Joan's lifetime, instead this feature resembles a rather careless science fiction movie; like something straight out of "Tales from the Crypt."
Are you interested in the Real Joan Crawford? (Please know that anytime I mention Joan or Miss Crawford, I am only speaking of the Real Joan Crawford.) When you start reading about Joan and learning about her life and career (Joan had the longest and the most successful career in the entire history of modern American cinema), you will see for yourself that the "character" portrayed in this trash was a totally different creature, from another planet! And you will also learn that a crazed and violent woman, would not have lasted 6 minutes in Hollywood, let alone 6 decades, as Miss Crawford did.
This movie is an absolutely hideous prevarication which is one hundred per cent dishonest. I cannot begin to tell you how abhorrent it is that Joan's good name is attached to anything even remotely general in this film. With miserable, subpar, inferior performances, all involved are worse then the next. It's no wonder this movie is infamous for being one of the most lousiest movies, ever made. When Diana Scarwid is carrying on or crying, she is incapable of garnering any type of emotion from this viewer (except perhaps disgust.) As an actress (at least in this movie,) she is lacking two instrumental qualifications; knowledge and capability! Ironically, it was Joan who always knew the imperativeness of these two traits and always delivered in every single film that had her good name on it. Incidentally, Diana Scarwid is the only actress in the entire history of American Cinema to be nominated for both an Oscar ("Inside Moves") and then a Razzie the following year, for this ludicrous desight!
In 1984 Variety published a petition signed by hundreds of Joan's family members, friends and colleagues which simply stated: Our Lives are More Beautiful for Having Known You! My life is more beautiful for having known the real Joan, too. Joan always had life-long working relationships with many of her costars, directors and colleagues. They have always only had kind things to say about Joan. For example, Ben Cooper and Ann Blyth have often spoken about how Joan was such a hard-worker and how she was so kind to them. When this movie came out, Ms. Bette Davis (may she rest in peace) thought it was disgraceful and she let it be known publicly. Bette had many compassionate and considerate words to say about Joan, over the years. "I was not Miss Crawford's biggest fan, but wisecracks to the contrary, I did and still do respect her talent, " Bette Davis said continuing on, "but I knew she wouldn't appreciate my pity because that's the last thing she would have wanted -anyone to feel sorry for her." (BTW, Joan always also had many kind words to say about Bette Davis as well.) Do I even need to tell you that none of this was portrayed in the movie that has Miss Crawford's name? Or I suppose that goes without saying, since it certainly wasn't on Paramount's agenda to portray Joan as she really was.
Faye Dunaway plays the "character" with a lot of pent-up aggression and in most of her scenes winds up resembling a psychotic, street-walking, transvestite. I don't hold Faye Dunaway solely responsible for this movie. Because for the most part she was just following orders. And, I have been told that over time she has completely denounced this film. My granny used to have a saying: shame is always better late than never. Why didn't Frank Perry (the director) and Robert Getchell (the screen writer) or Frank Yablans (the producer) choose to describe Joan's life with substance and facts? Instead, they each chose to take the road often traveled; they decided to tear down Joan's image and mold their "character" into this disgusting and grotesque woman! This movie is purely the work of fiction and it is equally the work of some ignorant and amateurish people. Joan Crawford wore many hats throughout her legendary life. She was a friend, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a professional, an actress, a leader and most of all she was a human being. What this movie negates is any life or body that personifies the "character." It's like watching a cheap cartoon that was thrown together at the last minute simply to make a few bucks for Frank Yablans and the other lazy fat cats at Paramount.
Where is all the good that Miss Crawford did during her life? The USO work she did? The work for the American Cancer Society and for Jerry Lewis, as well as the countless other charities she always participated in? Joan also set up a program to fully pay for the medical care of many of the studio's laborers who were unable to afford it on their own. Remember, this is decades before medical insurance. And she did this purely out of the goodness of her heart and she did this without any fanfare or any type of publicity. In fact, Joan was resolute that no one should ever know about this.
Where are Joan's husbands? This film only showed Joan's last husband. Joan remained tight with all of her husbands, and even took in Franchot Tone when he was too sick to take care of himself (many, many years after they separated!) And, this neglected to show any of Joan's good friends or family. The film only showed a lawyer by the name of Greg Savitt (Steve Forrest) who is perhaps based on Joan's friend Gregson Bautzer. Although there are no other similarities besides the name. It's a shame Paramount couldn't simply make this movie without using Joan's name. But in their defense, no one would have ever seen this movie and it would have disappeared quicker than a ray of light. The film also does not depict Joan's daughters (who have always disputed these malicious, untrue urban legends) because they each threatened to slap Paramount with a slander suit if they were mixed up with this half-baked turkey.
Every scene in this movie is purely the work of a not-so-clever-imagination. But the one with the "monster-character" complaining that she "lost her contract with Warners" is such a shoddy lie that everyone can see right through! Joan never lost her contract with Warners (or MGM!) As a matter of fact, she continued making movies for Warners even after she was no longer under contact with them. What this movie doesn't tell the viewer is that in 1954 the Federal Government abolished the Studio System (this is known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, which not surprisingly involved Paramount Pictures; the company that produced this sewage!)
Faye Dunaway's "character" doesn't look anything at all like the real Joan; especially Joan Crawford circa 1939. Faye Dunaway had a much more thick level of makeup, and her build was larger, her hair was totally off (the real Joan's hair was much thinner and more of a mousy brown with lovely soft curls and always much, much shorter), and her voice was rather husky and harsh. Joan was actually very soft-spoken. Please try to remember how sweet and ladylike Joan sounded in all of her classic MGM movies of the 1920's, 1930's & 1940's. Not to mention how patient-sounding and loving Joan was in one her 5 career-defening pictures, 30 years into her long career, "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" Also please know, that at the time this farce is to take place, the "character" is only 30 or 31 (Joan was born in San Antonio, Texas on March 23, 1908 to Mrs. Anna Bell Johnson and Mr. Thomas LeSueur.) However she (the scary-looking "character") looks like she's at least in her forties or fifties; because this creature looks so old and harried, not to mention tired and unattractive. There are even some scenes with Faye Dunaway that make me think that even Freddy Krueger was a sharper dresser. Please know that Miss Crawford was a classically beautiful lady who always looked her shining best when she was in public. Miss Crawford would never have dared go out in public if she looked even half as bad as Faye Dunaway did in this.
Joan's life is so captivating because she accomplished so much. Joan knew how to please her fans and keep up with the times by constantly reinventing herself. Of course, Miss Crawford was most famous for being a flapper, a shop girl, a scream queen, a matriarch and a society matron. And, Joan was always a courageous trailblazer who started nationwide fads countless times. There was even an entire Joan Crawford department at New York's flagship Bamburger's Store throughout the 1930's and 1940's. IMO Faye Dunaway did not embody any of these qualities or any of Joan's ever-changing styles and looks. Faye Dunaway truly was the very worst possible choice to play Joan. The producers should have had at least three diverse actresses portray Joan, throughout all times of her life. Perhaps they could have had an actress like Jennifer Jason Leigh or Julian Anderson portray Joan as a teenager. And, a beauty like Ms. Emma Samms or even Judith Light portray Joan during her twenties and thirties? It's rather difficult to say who would have been best to play Joan during her forties, fifties and later years. Perhaps either Ms. Joan Collins, Julie Andrews or Dixie Carter or Julie Newmar or even Miss Elizabeth Taylor.
The only movie set shown in this nonsense was "The Ice Follies of 1939." Why? And the idiot producers/director showed the "monster" on an ice-skating rink which is absolutely false as far as the movie "Ice Follies" is concerned! In that movie, Joan played Mary McKay, an actress. Did the producers even watch a single movie that Joan made? Did they know anything about her? Apparently not. And, this is perhaps the most egregious and blatantly reckless error, not to mention one of the most offensive to Joan's true persona. What's going on? Come on people! Joan Crawford made many movies with some of the greatest actors of Classic Cinema, including Clark Gable. And Joan Crawford's name always took first-billing in each of her movies! Keep in mind that this movie takes place starting in 1939, and MGM (Miss Crawford's studio for 18 years) released another picture, The Women in 1939 that is very well-known (and one of Joan's 5-defining pictures.) And, Miss Crawford also made a couple of excellent movies in 1940, including Strange Cargo with Clark Gable and Susan & God; not to mention "Mannequin" and "The Shining Hour" both from 1938!
Perhaps, the producers wanted to show the "character" on the set of a movie ("Ice Follies") that most people have not seen, so no one would have anything to compare their "version" to? "Ice Follies" was never released in the US commercially, except as an ultra-rare laser disc boxed set; years after this came out. Perhaps, they wanted the viewers to think that Joan was not a successful actress and only made b-pictures? This could not be further from the truth! I know this is a low-budget, grade-b film so maybe I am giving it too much credit? Perhaps to offset their expenses and huge salaries, Frank Yablans and company simply decided not to pay for the usage of one of Joan's most famous titles? (FYI, anytime a movie title is mentioned in another project this must be licensed through the proprietary owner.) Even so, they could have not even mentioned the title and fans would have known which movie was being referred to if it was depicted accurately and with respect to Miss Crawford. Regrettably, Accuracy and Respect are two qualities that this movie utterly lacks.
This movie also neglected to show any of Joan's later activities. What about the "Legendary Ladies Event" that Miss Crawford co-hosted for Rosalind Russell (one of Joan's friends for over 40 years) in 1974 or her book tour for her 1971 NY Times best seller, My Way of Life? Joan was also very involved with her church and it goes without saying that this was never reflected in the movie that is supposed to be her life story. A typical day for Miss Crawford in the late-70's was spent corresponding with her fans, doing charity work, and entertaining friends at her home. Joan also continued working until she was well into her late sixties.
Another aspect that this film chose not to discuss or detail was that Joan was a single parent! How many women chose to have children during the 1940's and 1950's without a husband? This was completely unheard of. In fact, in the sate of NV, Joan actually set presidence; being one of the very first single mothers ever to adopt in that state! Joan truly is a courageous pioneer for alternative families. "She was a fine woman. She had two fine careers; one as an actress and one as a businesswoman and she never lost control," those are the words of Mrs. Jordan (speaking about her mother.)
Some have had the nerve to say that Joan would have appreciated the attention this movie garnered her. That is another falsehood. Perhaps to appease their own guilty consciences, the producers made up that last lie? Make no mistake, if Miss Crawford was still alive, she would have had a lot to say about this repugnant mess; none of it being positive in the least, little bit. But, I am happy of one important aspect. I am elated to know that Joan was not alive to see this massacre of her good name. It was extremely cowardice to do it after her passing. However, at least Joan left this life knowing that she was loved and knowing that her public knew the truth and respected her as a dramatic-artist.
Joan Crawford's biggest successes were the more than 90++++ classic films she made. It is rather unfortunate that in the year 2006 the star of such classic movies as Sudden Fear, Grand Hotel, Humoresque, "The Women," "Our Dancing Daughters," and many, many other beautiful films is now synonymous with something that has not a thing to do with her...! It does make me very sad because I know how kind and how giving and generous Joan was throughout her entire life, to everyone she came into contact with.
You know, it's important to mention that none of the studios that Joan ever worked for were interested in producing this horrific concoction. When the screenplay was shopped around in late '79, no reputable studio would even consider slandering Joan's good name. Because they all knew that these were terrible untruths and they also knew that Joan's 6-decade movie career was eons bigger and more important than any lie that could be said about her after she passed on. Keep in mind, Joan's two biggest studios (or the studies she made the most movies for or the most "important" films for) are MGM and Warners. And coming in at a rather distant third is Columbia. Joan never worked for Paramount. The closest link she had was her '54 Republic classic, "Johnny Guitar." At the time "Johnny Guitar" was produced and distributed, Republic had zero ties with Paramount (they were then under Consolidated,) but has since been grandfathered into their collection via an acquisition from their parent, Viacom.
Besides being overall lousy, boring and sloppy, the reason why I do not find this movie entertaining or funny or a "camp classic" is because it was billed as a truthful story and is the complete and total opposite. As I have already detailed, there is not one shred of truth in this film. Instead, this movie simply gloms onto Joan's good name and drags it through the mud. A woman who dedicated her entire life to others, who absolutely transformed the way films are made and who genuinely gave all of herself to her family, her friends and her public is now regarded as a joke, all because of the abominable lies that this movie promoted. Now I'm supposed to laugh at that? No one deserves that type of injustice or desecration. Least of all, Miss Crawford.
Please don't let this scare you off from learning about a wonderful and very talented movie actress. I can assure you that Joan Crawford's real legacy is the good that she did during her life; not these aspersions. If you're interested in learning about the true Joan Crawford, I recommend watching some of her pictures. Joan has always said that her true biography is on film. As you may know, Joan has a very detailed movie library that may look intimidating at first, since it is so long and impressive. A good place to start is her boxed set , which includes some of her greatest movies. I am also told that Warner Home Video will be releasing a second set sometime in the future. And if you have digital cable, you can also catch some of Joan's films as her classic movies are often shown on: Turner Classic Movies, the American Movie Channel, the Fox Movie Channel, Encore Western and The Movie Channel. (Visit tv - now dot com to see Joan's upcoming schedule.) There are also a slew of good books about Joan. I recommend either: Conversations with Joan Crawford, Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters and A Portrait of Joan: The Autobiography of Joan Crawford.
Joan never betrayed anyone who believed in her or gave her a chance. Joan, speaking, later in her life: Do you know what I would put on my tombstone? "I care what my fans think of me -now and forever." ...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
- Mommie Dearest DVD
Great movie, I am glad to have it in my collection. It is one of my favorites....more info
- Mommie was definitely dearest
I have read the book and seen the movie of Mommie Dearest and I must say that after all the research I've done on Joan Crawford - Mommie dearest depicted her accurately. She developed OCD and manic depressive behavior...I have heard people who knew her say that she wasn't that way - but if you are used to being fake and phony for the sake of appearances, people who know would never know how horrible you treat your children...I have seen the other children that she adopted after Christina and Christopher and they say they never saw that, but understand there was a large age gap between Christina and Christopher and those children...speaking as an eldest child - we make sacrifices for younger siblings that they are not even aware of...I honestly believe that Joan Crawford was a vain, manic depressive, alcoholic abusive, oversexed woman afraid of being labeled as old and unwanted...more info
- Infamous Movie Version Of The Highly Sensational Tell-All Biography By Christina Crawford
While I have an absolute horror of any kind of child abuse I find that the film version of Christina Crawford's notorious book on growing up in the far from happy household of movie legend Joan Crawford is fascinating and indeed quite addictive viewing. Long adored by the "camp", film going community, "Mommie Dearest", is undoubtedly remembered for all the wrong reasons and I feel a viewing of it is like watching a multi car pile up in slow motion; you can't stand to see what's about to happen but you can't take your eyes off it. Being a devoted fan of Joan Crawford and her incredible Hollywood career spanning almost five decades I'm of course horrified at the way both the book and film tore her reputation to shreds. In order to be able to enjoy Faye Dunaway's wild performance as Joan Crawford whether it be total fiction or very close to the truth, I tend to separate this film from the real life movie legend and just go with all the over the top fun that makes "Mommie Dearest", such entertaining viewing. Faye Dunaway I believe is incredible in the title role despite it being far removed from how the character was originally planned to be depicted during the film's planning stage. The film certainly has a lavish look to it as befitting a major Paramount production and is filled with first rate period recreation, sensational costumes, and sets. On the camp side of things however it is a film littered with outrageous lines, bizzare laugh out loud dramatics, and two very scary abuse scenes that still send shivers up my spine. "Mommie Dearest", makes totally eye opening viewing of the first order and whether or not it accurately depicts the Hollywood Diva in a truthful light, it is essential viewing for any fans of old Hollywood and movie stars in general.
Is this story fact or fiction? I guess the majority of us will never really know. Considering the very divided opinions even from close contemporaries of Crawford's I have to assume "Mommie Dearest", holds some truths, however over the top they are depicted here, and also contains much that is fiction. The film certainly has remained in the public eye all these years since its release in 1981 because of its outrageous excesses and especially because of the white hot manic performance from Faye Dunaway in the lead role of Joan Crawford. Personally I couldn't imagine any other actress playing this part and Dunaway seems to be one of the few modern actresses that still seems to possess that old "Movie Queen", persona that is so apt here. In her performance she is at times savage, frightening, tragic, and yes even in a couple of short instances extremely vulnerable which makes it a riverting viewing experience. Of course the main joy of watching "Mommie Dearest", is in witnessing Faye Dunaway uttering some of the campiest and most unforgettably hilarious lines ever in a major motion picture. They alone deservedly earned the film an honoured place in the camp hall of fame. Who can forget Faye/Joan firing off such gems as,
"If you can't do something well DON'T do it at all!",
"If you want to clean the floor you need to MOVE the tree!",
"Helga I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt!". (My favourite),
"Tina! Bring me the axe",
"Damm it! I may as well have "Property of MGM", tattooed on my backside!"
"I might have know you'd know where to find the booze AND the boys"
and how could any viewer ever forget their first shocked reaction to the now infamous,
"Don't f..k with me Fellas!!"
Beside all this the supporting players certainly have their work cut out for them trying to get a look in. Rutanya Alda as the (fictional) loyal personal attendant Carol Ann manages in her calm way to actually make an impression against the Dunaway juggernaut and both Mara Hobel and Diana Scarwid who play Christina at different ages make an interesting team in bringing this obviously very complex and troubled character to the screen. The story begins in 1939 during production of one of Joan Crawford's lesser efforts in "Ice Follies of 1939", and progresses right through to Joan's death in 1977. Many aspects of her life are noticeably cut out in the film version such as the fact that Joan had two younger children who she also adapted, while Crawford's exit from MGM as depicted in the film is fictional as it was Joan herself who when going through one of her famed "reinventions", actually pulled the plug on MGM. Production wise Paramount went all out and spared no expense in bringing "Mommie Dearest", to the screen. The period recreation of the eras stretching from the late 1930's right up to the mid 1970's is first rate and the sets recreating Crawford's lavish Hollywood home, the MGM studios, and 1950's New York are certainly among the film's major strong points and often stand out in stark contrast to the rather trashy proceedings on screen,. Special mention I feel also needs to be directed towards famed costume designer Irene Sharaff's magnificent clothes for the film. With a long brilliant designing career in Hollywood already behind her I believe her costumes here rival in magnificence and attention to detail her earlier stunning work on 1963's "Cleopatra". Considering the total destruction this film and the earlier book did to Crawford's memory, Sharaff's creations alone certainly did the real life Movie Queen Joan Crawford proud and at least helped preserve her reputation as one of Hollywood's best dressed women during its far off golden age.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- "Best Movie Ever Made!"
Probably the greatest biographical film ever made, "Mommie Dearest" holds a place in American pop culture not only as a film classic but a movie people still talk about nearly 26 years after its initial release. No matter what you think of it the film comes across as an absorbing drama that pulls the lid of Hollywood's elite. The film basically ruined Joan Crawford's image as a beautiful, articulate, hard working actress and Faye Dunaway's career has never been the same. Most know the whole story...it's excellent. So I'll go into detail about the DVD. Film is beautifully restored with a ton of bonus features including the trailer, picture gallery with still shots not seen in the film ,and a behind the scenes making of the film. A must for any Hollywood film buff!...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!
- 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
- Mommie Dearest
This is a really good movie but I had talked about it so much to my kids that they said it wasn't as good as I made it out to be. Oh well, this generation just doesn't realize how lucky they are!...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".
(Single-sided, dual-layer disc)...more info
- Mommy Dearest
Arrived on time and in the exact condition as stated in their description. I would use them again....more info