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bansi4

DAVIS or CRAWFORD

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Who's it gonna be Bette Davis or Joan Crawford? Rivals for years in Hollywood it should be interesting to see who your favorite of the two Oscar winning actresses are and why.

I believe we had this subject a long time ago however it should be a hoot to see which of the two the new(er) members choose and of course the old reliables too.

 

Lets bring it on!

Mongo

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Joan Crawford. She had the edge in looks and, sometimes, even in talent.

 

Besides, the Sonic Youth song about Joan was much much better than the Kim Carnes song about Bette.

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For me, definitely Bette Davis! Why? Oh, the usual reasons; I liked her roles more...I like the general and underlying attitude she conveyed more than Crawford's-- her slightly more refined brand of bitchiness.

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Hmmm, I never heard the two songs you're talking about, Venerados.

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Look for "Mildred Pierce" on Sonic Youth's album Goo.

 

The Kim Carnes song was called "Bette Davis Eyes" and was a big hit in the 80's, I think

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Wow, I think I started a trend! Anyway my vote goes to Bette Davis. There's just something about her. She can be a total witch in a movie, and I'll still like her (very uncommon for me since i always enjoy the "nice girls or guys" in movies) However, since I'm only 18, and happened to see Mommie Dearest before seeing any of Joan Crawford's movies, (even though I'm sure the movie was exaggerated) I still can't watch her without cringing a little. That's also probably because I've only ever seen her in "bad girl roles" like in The Women, and I've seen Bette Davis in All About Eve, Now, Vowager, and The Old Maid along with her "bad girl" movies like In This Our Life, and Jezebel.

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Valvolina: my preference is for Bette Davis as well. She is in some of my aboslute favorite films of all time (Of Human Bondage, Now Voyager, All About Eve) and is a dynamic powerhouse in all of them. But, since it seems that the film "Mommie Deariest" has somewhat soiled your taste for Crawford (unfairly too, considering the gross inaccuracies contained in the film) I suggest your watching her film "Mildred Pierce." When I first saw it, I too had strong reservations about Crawford, but that film changed them all. Her performance in that film impressed and touched me *so much* that I began to look at her work with a new perspective and now am a very big admirer of hers! Even though Bette takes the cake in my own personal opinion, Crawford deserves due respect-- she really was a star.

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My vote is for Bette Davis. There are not too many of her films I would change the channel on. As for Crawford, I change the channel everytime she is on the screen. The only film I watch of hers is Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. I'm not sure what it is about her that bothers me. I have had this feeling about her ever since I was a kid in the 60's and would see her films on the weekend afternoon movies. It didn't help years later to read all the bad print about her behind the scenes. Oh well, maybe someday I'll lose this childhood feeling about her and be able to watch her in a film without Davis.

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I have to give my vote, and a very close one, to Bette Davis, and in part it's because from the moment she hit Hollywood, she immediately started taking risks that most actress hadn't taken, and wouldn't take for some time to come, that could have easily destroyed her chances of ever becoming a star, and having a long and successful career in Hollywood. Those risks included everything from her make-up, through a normal aging process in her later years, to how harsh or unappealing she appeared in some of her earliest roles as an actress delivering her lines. She never shied away from taking risks about anything....and Miss Crawford sometimes did.

 

And, it really is hard for me to place Bette Davis above Joan Crawford, because all else aside about her after Christina Crawford's pathetic "I hate mommie!" book, she is still one of the finest actresses ever, and that just can't be ignored (smile).

 

ML

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I have to go with Bette Davis. She just had more talent than Joan. Even when comparing their early work, when they were still "honing their acting skills" so to speak, Bette is so much better - just look at "Of Human Bondage" and "Dangerous" - Bette was a natural, born actress - and a powerhouse of a woman to boot. Joan had to work at it more - she wasn't a natural. In her early movies you can see that she's really working at it, whereas Bette just took the role and ran - and spun it into gold. I also happen to like more of Bette's movies. "Now, Voyager" and "All About Eve" are two of my all time favorites. But don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Joan's as well, and thought she was brilliant in "Mildred Pierce." By the time she got that role, she had developed into a great actress.

 

What I've always found funny about these two is that their careers almost paralleled each other. They both started in the early 30's, and became major stars by the 40's, and then their careers dropped off in the 50's, and they did campy stuff in the 60's. And both of them worked up until they died - they never wanted to retire. I think that out of their later work, I liked Bette's campy stuff more - movies like "The Star" and "Dead Ringer." Joan's campy stuff went way over the top, like in "Berserk."

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Well, Venerados, she isn't my pick of the two, but I think she's great, as well!

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Davis is God. This tiny dynamo--five foot 2--played everything--from psychos, Southern belles, slatterns, killers, grande dames, gun molls, etc. I loved the way she took the mean, dark roles that most Hollywood queens shunned. She said in one interview that she had a horror of being judged a Hollywood Glamour Star. I saw her one night here in NYC when she appeared at the Lincoln Center Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony. There were many stars there but when Bette made her appearance, the crowd went crazy. She looked fabulous in her fur piece, black gown, jewels. Even from a distance you saw those laser blue 'Bette Davis' eyes. Crawford was great too in some of her roles but in the early fifties, she began sporting those huge eyebrows and that exaggerated mouth. That scared me. Her best role: as Helen Wright in "Humoresque." Bette's best role: as Stanley Timberlake in "In This Our Life" and as that sultry, mudering small-town dame, Rosa Moline, in "Beyond the Forest"--a movie that TCM never airs.

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Easily I'd choose Davis, not just for the incomparable depth of her talent, but because I can't recall another actress, before or after her, who displayed such passion for acting. And how could you not admire the tremendous risks she took in fighting her studio bosses for so long for better parts? I would say that Davis also conveyed a bit more vulnerability beneath the tough exterior than Crawford did, although I do view Crawford as a fine actress anyway. (But, now that you mention it, why did Crawford later resort to that exaggerated brow/lip/shoulder look? She always looked like a walking Hirschfeld cartoon.)

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venerados support is on the way. Between the two stars it's Joan Crawford for me.

To begin with she was hot to trot in her pre-codes notably "Our Dancing Daughters", "Untamed", "Laughing Sinners", "Paid", "The Duke Steps Out", "Letty Lynton"

Sadie McKee" etc. Always liked the poor girl themes ala Barbara Stanwyck when she went from rags to riches (most of the time). The unusual film "The Unknown" with Lon Chaney as Alonzo the armless who pines for her. The there is "Rain" as Sadie Thompson the tough broad with the dangling jewelry and that cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth. Into the 1930s with "The Bride Wore Red", "Mannequin", "The Women" as Crystal Allen who juiced up the movie. Also "Strange Cargo" whose teaming with Clark Gable in many films were magnetic. In "A Woman's Face" she shed her beauty to play a scarred woman. Then there was her Oscar winning role in "Mildred Pierce", her steamy pairing with John Garfield in "Humoresque", her Oscar nominated turn as a woman going insane in "Possessed", "Torch Song" she sported those gorgeous gams, "Johnny Guitar" as Vienna she rode that horse like nobody's business, "Harriet Craig" Godliness is cleanliness, "Flamingo Road" an over-the-hill carney, "Sudden Fear" another Oscar nomination scared to death of her deranged husband, "Queen Bee", "Autumn Leaves" a May, December romance (heck all the actors did it), "The Best of Everything" again spicing up a film. Into the 60s joining Bette Davis (finally) in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in a funfest of horror and onto "Strait-Jacket" and "Berserk".

A beauty from the beginning with superb bone structure and changing with the times in looks she survived five marriages and was always loyal to her many fans.

I have an autographed photo and many notes from her on the little blue writing paper.

While living in New York the construction workers, cabbies, cops etc stilled whistled and wowed her.

Don't get me wrong I adore Bette Davis however its a bit more for me when it comes to Joan.

As far as that bok is concerned the actress wasn't even cold in her grave yet when it was published. It was "planned" and she wasn't here to defend herself.

There was a saying around M-G-M "Shearer got the productions, Garbo supplied the art and Crawford made the money to pay for both". Enough said.

 

Mongo

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Mongo - That's so cool that you were able to correspond with Crawford. I've read about how she wrote to each and every fan, and I've seen many of her notes on that blue stationary for sale on ebay, which goes to show how much she cared about her fans, and how she gave each of them attention. Like I said before, Crawford was great, and DID develop into a top notch actress, but I still think Davis had her beat when it came to talent. However, I do think that Crawford was the bigger "star" because she played the part more, and payed attention to actually "being" a star - it meant a lot, if not everything to her.

 

All considered it's really hard to pick one over the other. They both were great in their own way, and gave us some of the greatest performances in the history of film. They're both legends, and will continue to be long into the future.

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Yeah moviejoe, Crawford was very cordial with her many fans. I received my last letter from her a month before she died. She liked to hear from fans during her birthday

(which is next week) and I used to send her a nice card each year. I once sent her a full page color portrait of herself from a 1940s movie magazine and she got a big kick out of it and thanked me. I was so bold as to ask her where she kept her Oscar but she didn't tell me.

She wrote me via her New York address as well as her California address.

I also heard that some fans were invited to her apartment while they were in New York.

In my eyes Crawford was quite a lady and she will always remain one of my favorite movie stars. She was a star.

 

By the way I did see Bette Davis in person along with Olivia de Havilland when they were doing a promotion bus tour for "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and she was a hoot. It was at the Loew's Metropolitan in Brooklyn and while on stage she threw roses from her bouquet into the crowd and I got one. It's pressed in an art deco frame.

De Havilland was sweet and reserved and looking beautiful. My wife was talking to her through the window of the tour bus she was on. Davis was hiding at the front of the bus and a few elderly fans spotted her and they kissed her hand. I also got some snap shots during a question and answer period of both actresses.

Needless to say it was a memorable day.

 

Mongo

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Well neither one of them was my favorite, but of the two, I would have to say Bette Davis. I believe her roles had more depth and she wasn't afraid to appear desperate or unattractive on the screen. Actually, she sort of specialized in that. Anyone bold enough to star in a film that required her to look as she did in "Whatever happened to Baby Jane" obviously did not mind putting performance above prettiness. Although Crawford was in that film as well, her role did not require such a shocking appearance.

 

 

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Well, my vote goes for Bette. She was an outstanding actress in so many remarkable films! I think for me it's also a matter of what I grew up on. My mom introduced me to Bette Davis' movies from the time I could walk so she was a part of my childhood so to speak. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knockin' Joan Crawford here....she was a wonderful actress (although I'll have to admit I agree with the others who said when she did that eyebrow, hair, shoulder pad thing later in life she kinda freaked me out). I just saw the movie "The Unknown" the other day in fact and was impressed once again with her range and how she was able to change her "look" with the times.

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Bette has my vote. I love Joan, but there is something unadorned about Bette that endears her to me. She's a real woman's woman. Joan stood her ground, but differently. Both talented actresses!

 

Maperette

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Bansi4, thanks for that great post! Unfortunately, Joan Crawford has gotten a pretty bad rap because of that dreadful movie "Mommie Dearest". It is so wonderful to hear lovely, positive things about her. Sounds like she was a very caring lady who genuinely appreciated her fans! I love the work by both actresses. They were both strong-willed, beautiful, top-rate stars! Although I've seen more Bette Davis movies than Joan Crawford ones, I couldn't really say which actress is my fave at this point.

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yeah, i'm with ya on that, moviejoe. Bette was the more talented actress. Joan was good too, but, Bette was more versitile. she played vicious vamps like in Jezebell, noble queens like queen elizabeth in "the lives of elizabeth and essex". and every movie she is in, she gives a great performance.

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