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Joan Crawford


Guest Girl, Crawford

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Although I favor De Havilland as mentioned in a previous post Joan Fontaine is also appealing although a bit mousy. I much preferred her as the b-tch in "Born to Be Bad". Also like Miriam Hopkins especially the way she speaks. She was a hoot in "Old Acquaintance" , "The Old Maid" (both with diva Davis) and also "The Children's Hour" (1962). Of course I have been enjoying the Crawford films this month on TCM. She was something else and I adore her.

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Guest v, mike

I read Mommie Dearest and actually found Christina to be a capable writer. The thing that makes me shudder is to dishonor (anyone read the ten commandments lately?) a parent in such a horrible, permanent, irretrievable way. Two wrongs do not make a right. And it's unsporting to strike ANYONE when they are down and unable to defend themselves. (in this case the ultimate DOWN, meaning DEAD). What I find most unsettling is the fact that this book was rushed to the presses so soon after Joan Crawfords death. And after seeing Christina recently on Larry King, TCM, etc., I am struck by her robotic, glassy-eyed continuous delivery of her pet mono-topic. Is she slightly "off" or is it just me? She sounds like she has a circuit loose in the way she just bitterly goes on and on....could'nt she just throw in ONE nice anecdote about her mother every ten minutes or so? It would help her credibility. I am sympathetic to her child abuse, but I think a person who would hold their parents up to such total disrespect and public humiliation is wrong.

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Guest K, Sandy

Yes, that's what I think too, Alix. Olivia had a stronger screen persona than her sister, IMO. I do admire Joan's performances in those films, as well as her interpretation of JANE EYRE. But I must say that I prefer Olivia. And for all those out there who would decry Melanie Hamilton in GWTW: Melanie was not a namby-pamby goody two-shoes. She was good and kind, yes, but she had a backbone. How about the scene when the Yankee deserter comes to Tara? Or the scene with Madame Belle Watling? Melanie was the only person who REALLY understood Scarlett and loved her unconditionally. She was more of a sister to her than her own sisters were. Only an actress with the strong core and calm presence of Olivia de Havilland could pull that role off.

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Oh I agree 100% Sandy, with your description of Melanie Hamilton. No one really loved Scarlett unconditionally like she did. Mammy comes in a close second, but she gives Scarlett "grief" all along the way. Melanie had the potential to be a namby-pamby role, but Olivia made her a strong woman. The mamby-pamby role was Ashley Wilkes.

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Guest K, Sandy

Thanks for your support, Alix! I expected to get some grief for my opinions about Melanie. I may still get some yet, but I say, bring it on! :)

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Guest Vados, Mike

I can't stay away from this "Joan" board! She is such an enigma, her career that spanned the entire history of Hollywood, her own ages and stages, then the scandal after her death. I agree with you, Jery Son, about her earlier films. I like these best, because for a long time the only Joan Crawford movies I had seen were later ones, where she had become the self-remade, voice-coached, unpenetrable "JOAN CRAWFORD -STAR OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE". She's great in this "role", of playing the perfect movie star, but it's interesting to see the earlier, more human side of this beautiful lady. The other night I took a second look at "The Women" and was really struck at how fresh and natural she seemed in this role. To me, I found this younger, slightly less sure of herself Joan very, very appealing. A little bit of vulnerability still seemed to be able to poke out of her persona at this point in her acting life. (this isn't my favorite movie, but she's good in it. The two "Joans" that are featured, Crawford and Fontaine, make it worth watching to me. I know many people absolutely adore this movie, sorry to step on any toes, but I'm somewhat in agreement with Joan...Norma Shearer is not my absolute favorite actress. ) The other movie I saw recently and really loved was that silent Lon Chaney (awesome talent) movie THE UNKNOWN (1927). Joan Crawford! She's so young and absolutely gorgeous in this. I almost have never seen a more beautiful woman. I am so glad I taped this movie, I know I'll watch it over and over. Those eyes...How could a woman who looked like that NOT become a movie star? It was inevitable.

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Guest olmsted, l

Mike, like you, I can't stay away from this board. And also like you, I'm finding that I LOVE her earlier films from the silent and pre-code eras. I love the Joan of the '40's with her charged magnitism and intense brashness, however, the younger, more vulnerable Joan appeals to me more. I'm not sure which one I would choose as a favorite, but I really enjoyed FORSAKING ALL OTHERS with Clark Gable the other night. This was a REALLY funny movie. I am biased though, because I love ANYTHING with Gable--especially when he plays a soft hearted sweetheart like in this one. Someone on this board mentioned that they didn't like Joan as a blond--I didn't think I would either (especially since I'm always partial to brunettes), but after watching THIS MODERN AGE, the blond hair grew on me--it really makes those big gorgeous eyes of hers stand out. The other night, before NO MORE LADIES, Robert Osborn told a story of how Joan heard of a letter from Gail Patrick (a girl trying to make it in Hollywood). Joan had her come to a photo shoot and then arranged for a screen test for her using Joan's makeup man and wearing an Adrian gown. THEN Joan lobbied to get Patrick a part in the film, which she got. Osborn said something like how this Joan is very different from the one portrayed in the book Mommie Dearest. Hmmm, yes it is. Too bad all this is overlooked these days by most people. P.S. Mike, did you catch NO MORE LADIES--Joan Fontaine is in it too!

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Guest jeanecooper

Since this has now become the "I Like Melanie" Fan Club site, I'll hop on board. I totally agree that for strength of character - Melanie had it. The scene in her parlor where she continues to read, despite both the internal and external turmoil attacking her. When she warmly greets Scarlett to Ashley's birthday party, puts her arm around her waist and even compliments her outfit. Secure in knowing that Scarlett's strengths would have overwhelmed poor pitiful Ashley - Melanie was generous. Doesn't she even reply to to India Wilkes's snub, at the Twelve Oaks BBQ, "Scarlett is just high spririted" But still, her strength in character might not have produced enough "chutzpah" to steal away Frank Kennedy and pay Tara's taxes, nor actually pulled the trigger to kill the renegade. Sometimes even a steel magnolia has to play dirty. For that Scarlett was #1.

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I was watching my tape of the AMC William Haines bio last night, and I finally caught Christina Crawford saying something NICE about her mom! She related several incidents which showed Joanie's loyalty to Billy Haines and spoke about how her mom stuck by him when the studio outed him and he was pushed off the screen. She told how her mom included him on party lists and asked him to decorate her elaborate home, thus giving him a push into the interior design field. Honestly, these comments are the ONLY comments I think I've ever heard where Christina speaks in a positive way about her mother.

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I always sort of thought that was why Scarlett & Melanie were such good friends. They were both tough as nails, but in different ways. They complimented each other perfectly as best friends.

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Guest son, jery

Alix, our wonderful Billy boy must've been a great favorite among the Hollywood gals because Marion Davies, the fab Kay Francis and many other movie queens came to Billy Haines rescue. Can't you just imagine having him at a party? He'd be the perfect party animal. I re-watched "West Point" last night and thought he was beyond adorable. Joan Crawford was a friend, indeed. I'd love to find out more about Billy's companion, Jimmy Sheilds. He must've been somebody special.

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Joan Fontaine was only "mousy" and a "victim" when the script called for it. She was anything but "mousy" or "victimized" in THIS ABOVE ALL, THE AFFAIRS OF SUSAN, IVY, SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR, SEPTEMBER AFFAIR, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD and she had a very strong film person in LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN. I much prefer her acting over several others mentioned previously and that includes Olivia. But I did like Olivia in TO EACH HIS OWN and THE HEIRESS. In her later 50's and 60's films Joan played a sophisticate and a b_tch in several films.

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Guest olmsted, l

Liz, I agree, and as an actress, I actually find it more difficult to play the "mousy" victim rather than the strong, sharp-tounged broads. Maybe it's just me, but vulnerability is harder to pull off than force, intensity, and passion--which seem to come more naturally to me...LOL! :) So hats off to Joan Fontaine for being brave enough to come off "mousy".

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I agree...he sounds like someone who would have really livened up a party! And I'd love to talk antiques with him. I don't think I've read much about Jimmy, except in the context of Billy. I think the author of "Wisecracker" talks a little about him, and he's slightly mentioned in the Haines TV bio, but you're right, he's certainly not discussed much. I would absolutely love to see Haines in SLIDE, KELLY, SLIDE and BROWN OF HARVARD. The teaser clips they showed on that bio were tantelizing indeed. It looks like the film is crisp and clean too--no nitrate decomposition. What a shame that this man was the #1 box office draw in the early 30's and we see so little of his work.

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Guest son, jery

I know this is Joanie's folder but just one more mention about her favorite buddy, Billy Haines. I would absolutely be in Movie Heaven if I could see our boy, Billy, in "Tell it to the Marines" and "The Smart Set." In the stills and posters I've seen of both flicks, they look really juicy. In "Marines," Billy is co-starred with rugged, handsome Lon Chaney Sr. In "Smart Set," Billy's smoking a cigarette while grinning slyly at Hedda Hopper who also has a knowing grin on her face--like they're sharing some juicy gossip. Billy is definitely a mega-star who should be studied in modern entertainment history--like several of those mythical gods and goddesses--especially Clara Bow!

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We'd ALL be in movie heaven, Jery, if they'd serve up a big helping of Billy Haines' movies. He certainly is one star who deserves to be rediscovered--not for any other reason than he was an awesome actor. He deserves his own thread, so we fans can discuss him! (Actually a lot of our favs deserve their own threads, so we can have a concentrated area for our discussion.)

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Guest K, Sandy

I've got a whole heap of videotapes here in readiness for the Joan marathon tonight! I've seen THE WOMEN many times, but I don't know a thing about any of the other films being shown. I've never even HEARD of ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 starring Joan and James Stewart! Anyone seen MANNEQUIN, THE SHINING HOUR, SUSAN AND GOD, STRANGE CARGO, WHEN LADIES MEET, REUNION IN FRANCE, ABOVE SUSPICION and the aforementioned ICE FOLLIES and want to comment? Should I just try to tape them all?

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Sandy if anything be sure to tape "Strange Cargo" where Crawford goes one on one with Gable in this intriguing allegorical movie. The film also has a spiritual message from the character played by Ian Hunter in a fine performance. You won't be sorry.

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Guest Duffy, Mike

Realize that Christina is "family", and so, quite able to observe and document a side of another family member that no outsider could possibly know. I believe her, yet feel sadness for both women. Also, what about the other kids in the family? Have they not corroborated her account of their childhood experiences?

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Guest vados, mike

I am a relatively new Fontaine fan... but was always a fan of Daphne DuMaurier, and especially "Rebecca". I first read this book at a camping trip with a friend in the CA redwoods. it became an unexpected "something extra" to look forward to...Eveningtime around the camp fire reading this "page-turner" aloud. It was great! So when I heard it was a famous classic movie also, I was hesitant to watch it, suspicious that no actors could portray (with any great success) the subtlety and depth of the quirky characters Miss DuMaurier had so keenly created in her book. Hearing that it had been directed by Hitchcock, however, gave a heightened curiosity to see it, and I succumbed. Well, it was one of the few times for me the movie was as enjoyable as the book. All those wonderful actors did not hurt the recipe one bit, I am sure. But this was my introduction to Joan Fontaine, and I was SOLD! There's some little quality she has... it's not "sweetness"... it's something indefinable... and attractive! It really does seem that the actors I like best have a kind of restraint... is that the right word? Not really. But it's hard to explain. I just know it when I see it.... and appreciate it! Wow! She played that akward girl so painfully well. I shuddered in embarrasment for her. My other 3 favorites in that movie are of course Mr. Olivier (who I just saw in MARATHON MAN last night..Cool! I love that guy..what versatility.), Gladys Cooper, and last but not least Judith Anderson ...who I almost admire more than the other 3! But I wrote about her somewhere else in this board...can't remember where! And, Oh, I am OFF TOPIC already..please forgive all this rambling.

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Guest Y., Bruce

I was wondering when and if TCM will be airing the new documentary, "Joan Crawford-The Ultimate Movie Star". It was aired only twice (both on Aug.1), and I had no idea that it would only be on that one day. I was out of town prior to that, and tuned into the last part of it while visiting someone. It looked so good; finally a comprehensive well-done documentary on this great actress. But, please, TCM, air it again! After a month of watching Crawford films, I am even more anxious to see this new documentary. I checked the September schedule, and don't see it in the lineup. Lots of us probably missed the one-time August 1 showing. Thank you very much.. I'll keep watching.

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Guest Duffy, Mike

The idea that family secrets should remain as secrets is exactly what has prevented wife beaters and child abusers from being brought to justice over the years. These abusers need to have the bright lights shined onto them so they can be recognized,vilified,humiliated, and condemned for the human monsters which they are. Crawford's case illustrates that even people with money and an adoring public can be secretly devilish. Do you suppose that NORMAL people are movie stars? I doubt that this is so. I imagine that 99% of the movie star types have ghastly skeletons in their closets.

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