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Joan Crawford as SOTM January 2014

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Hey, we agree on something else! William Haines has the boyish charm and incredible good looks that make him so much fun to watch. I particularly love him in " West Point". He has my vote for a SUTS day...................

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Was watching the third of the "Flapper Trilogy" last night & as usual I was admiring the period detail, among other things.

 

In "Our Blushing Brides" (1930) there was a scene where the

Edward Brophy character had just purchased a new Ford (likely a Model A 4 cylinder as they were first released in 1928). Joan was there to provide support as Edward Brophy stripped gears in an effort to learn how to manage his new muscle machine. A proud Brophy blurts out that his new car gets great economy at 30 miles per gallon...

 

This struck me... The year was 1930 and modern cars of the day were getting 30 MPG. I know this to be a fact as I had an acquaintance (now passed away) that was still driving an unmodified 1928 model A that his mom bought new that year. We would take it for a spin around town and He told me that he could drive his A all day long at 45 miles per hr and never get less than 33 miles per gallon. Now this was during the day when the Lincoln highway was still a fairly recent acheivement and most of our roads were quite rough, so vehicles such as the T & A were solidly built for endurance & reliabilty. The A was built like a tank by todays standards with a heavy bumper & heavy sheet metal. And yet it acheived 30 MPG. By the way, the 4 cylinder T's also acheived similar fuel economy..... My Greatgrandfather still had one when I was a kid.

I drove cars in the 70's that got better than 40 MPG and still have a 3 cylinder non-hybrid that that I've tweaked 59 mpg on cross country trips at 60 miles per hr avg cruise speed (BTW that was not the most economical model available then). But today, in the year 2014, automakers rave at what fantastic fuel economy the modern gasoline car engine acheives when their 20 plus thousand dollar vehicles are rated at 35 mpg.

We haven't come very far at all at getting the fuel economy that we really should be getting today when, by contrast in 1929, 30-33 mpg was a common reality. Granted horsepower has increased dramatically, but at what cost fuel economy?

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*Our Blushing Brides* (1930) ~ early product placement and M-G-M self-promotion: two observations while watching the first night of Joan Crawford, Star of the Month (I missed Ben Mankeiwicz's intro and outro to the film, and I apologize in advance if he shared similar insights).

 

I found it interesting that Louise Beavers's character (she's uncredited) offered Joan Crawford's Jerry a Coco-Cola because "it would make her feel better" after discovering Robert Montgomery's Tony was a cad.

 

I also thought it was (unintentionally) telling that Joan Crawford wanders into a theater screening *Let Us Be Gay*, which was released by M-G-M the same year. The film was a vehicle for Norma Shearer and Rod La Rocque, but the voices include neither the actress nor the actor (La Rocque had a very distinctive voice; that's him hovering over the piano in the photo above).

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>William Haines has the boyish charm and incredible good looks that make him so much fun to watch. I particularly love him in " West Point". He has my vote for a SUTS day

 

Well, that makes two of us! Let's hope the TCM programmers are reading this thread...

 

:)

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If Edward Brophy's car had been driven at today's highway speeds, I doubt if he would have averaged any 30 MPG. Even the dropoff in fuel economy between 55 MPH and 75 MPH is 23%. And of course as you point out, all that extra horsepower is what eats up the fuel.

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I really enjoyed seeing Joan Crawford's silent films that were aired on TCM. She is an excellent choice for Star of the Month because her films span so many eras.

 

I also enjoy seeing the films of Wiliam Haines. One of my favorite films of his is SHOW PEOPLE with Marion Davies.

Here is a clip from that movie:

 

 

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Caught a couple of Joan's early works yesterday. What always struck me was that in the '30's, her look and acting was way different than I was originally familiar with. She seemed to have gone from having Claudette Colbert eyebrows to sporting catepillers a decade later. I think the '30's Crawford was more attractive and a better actress than in her later career.

 

I remember the TV show SCTV did a parody of "Humoresque" with actress Catherine O'hare playing Joan, and concert violinist Eugine Fodor doing the Garfield role. In it, they fitted O'Hare with a dress that fit over an obvious pair of football shoulder pads, and gave her eyebrows that looked like Groucho's. Fodor greeted her with wisecracks. He held up an object the size of a Duraflame log and said, "Here. I tripped over your EYEBROW PENCIL on the way in. And by the way, Bronc Nagursky called. He said he wanted his shoulderpads back!" A hilarious bit.

 

Sepiatone

 

Edited by: Sepiatone on Jan 4, 2014 10:43 AM

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My favorite Joan Crawford films are from the early 1930s: GRAND HOTEL and RAIN. Her work in GRAND HOTEL especially is so nuanced and "real." I suspect that in her later films she consciously adapted her acting to fit with the more melodramatic style that was popular.

 

I have just discovered her silent films (when they were aired on TCM this month) and have enjoyed them very much.

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The later POSSESSED was certainly better than the earlier POSSESSED. Clark Gable as a millionaire lawyer? Give me a break.

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I agree with you that Gable was out of place in the 31 version of Possessed but I wonder if the main reason is that we are conditioned to view early Gable as a shady type. e.g. Gable was so good in his role as **** in Manhattan Melodrama where William Powell played the lawyer and the one that runs for governor. Gable was also great as the gangster cad in movies like A Free Soul.

 

After viewing these early 30s Gable films and seeing Possessed for the first time last night, yea, Gable looked out of place.

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As one of around a dozen films with Gable released in 1931, the year he would skyrocket to stardom, POSSESSED had an early attempt to figure out the Gable persona, as obviously his image had yet to be established. The slightly earlier, A FREE SOUL had made him aa.star, and set the pattern, but that didn't mean MGM wouldn't stumble in setting the parameter of said image. A bigger niscasting was as a Salvation Army worker in LAUGHING SINNERS.

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>I also enjoy seeing the films of Wiliam Haines. One of my favorite films of his is SHOW PEOPLE with Marion Davies.

 

I like that film a lot, too. They are both at their funniest in SHOW PEOPLE. And you have to love all those great cameos from people like Charlie Chaplin.

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I agree Joan Crawford was at her most attractive in the 1930s. Around 1930, in one of the many reinvenfions that would keep her a star for nearly half century, Joan attemptrd.to emulate.the look of her idol,.Greta.Garbo, and.slimmed.down.considerably. She especially attempted.the hollow cheek look, which she accomplished successfully. Her eyebrows also became pencil thin, as was.the style of the time. sSoon Joan would be inspiring others with her new look, from her many fans to stars like Dolores Del.Rio. But Joan would move on. She would start to emphasize and exagerate her ostensibly bad features, and by the mid 30s, she was known for her big eyes, wide.gash of a mouth, and her wide ahoulders and back (this with the help of Adrian's designs, including his revolutionary shoulder pads). By the mid 30s, she had also initiated the return of the more natural eyebrow. Of course, as time wore on, she would accentuate these more and more, into the 40s, 50s.and beyond.

 

 

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Since Joan Crawford is Star of the Month, I wonder if TCM will air the clip of MGM chief hair stylist Sydney Guilaroff saying "Damn good actress."

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With all that had happened since, the feuds, divorces, drinking, pills, child abuse, Mommie Dearest etc, I was very moved by the performances of Joan in Paid and Possessed. She really was a wonderful actress and her singing voice wasn't bad either. I wish I had met her in person when she was still alive. The closest was my Jamaica High School music teacher who sounded and looked just like her then in the 60s.

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Most women are more attractive when they are younger, but in Crawford's case, even more so.

 

Even allowing for face lifts, how many big time actresses have held onto their basic facial features and figures much beyond their early 40's? Not too many that I can think of. Loretta Young, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck and Kim Novak are about the only ones who come to mind immediately, though I'm sure there are others. Most of them either just got bloated a la Liz Taylor, or went in the Crawford direction of looking like they were wearing a 10 layer mask of makeup in an attempt to push back the clock. It's an uphill battle that very few women (or men, for that matter) can hope to win.

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I finally got to watch *Sudden Fear* last night. I'm not a big Crawford fan but this film was terrific. Even though the theme is a familiar one, there were some nice touches to keep you in suspense. I liked Myra's skillful way of handling her problem, though her plan eventually unraveled... I liked the scene of Joan in the closet peering out, and you could see the beads of sweat on her forehead and the look of terror in her eyes. Well done.

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I've really enjoyed these films of Crawford's today on TCM. Especially THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS and TORCH SONG. Thumbs up!

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I am truly enjoying all the Crawford films this month. The lineup today was excellent ( though not a big fan of Torch Song ) Dare I say it, I will be a bit sad when January ends.

 

Edited by: CountessDracula on Jan 24, 2014 11:23 PM

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> I will be a bit sad when January ends.

 

So will I! It's been a great batch of films.

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