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Davis & Crawford & "Feud"


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I didn't see this mentioned anywhere else here, so sorry if this is repeat news, but I found it interesting that Olivia deHavilland brought a lawsuit against Ryan Murphy and FX over her portrayal in "Feud", just before her 101st birthday on July 1.  I'm sure the timing wasn't a coincidence.   ;)

 

Here's the article in Variety:

 

http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/olivia-de-havilland-feud-lawsuit-fx-ryan-murphy-1202484973/

 

 

LMREO!!!!!  Go Olivia! She's the only person aside from B.D. portrayed in the series that can sue. (someone must've sent her a copy. LOL)

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LMREO!!!!!  Go Olivia! She's the only person aside from B.D. portrayed in the series that can sue. (someone must've sent her a copy. LOL)

 

Yep, and given her success with "The De Havilland Law", I fear for Ryan Murphy and FX.   ;)

 

Just goes to show you, you're never too old to try something new!

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I didn't see this mentioned anywhere else here, so sorry if this is repeat news, but I found it interesting that Olivia De Havilland brought a lawsuit against Ryan Murphy and FX over her portrayal in "Feud", just before her 101st birthday on July 1.  I'm sure the timing wasn't a coincidence.   ;)

 

Here's the article in Variety:

 

http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/olivia-de-havilland-feud-lawsuit-fx-ryan-murphy-1202484973/

 

Eugenia, in the other "Bette and Joan" thread that's currently residing on page-2 of this forum, ChristineHoard resurrected that thread the other day and mentioned this, and then it was discussed at some length there.

 

You might wish to see the thoughts of others expressed about this there then...

 

 http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/125775-bette-and-joan/

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Eugenia, in the other "Bette and Joan" thread that's currently residing on page-2 of this forum, ChristineHoard resurrected that thread the other day and mentioned this, and then it was discussed at some length there.

 

You might wish to see the thoughts of others expressed about this there then...

 

http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/125775-bette-and-joan/

Thanks!! I was surprised when I didn't see it, but I should have looked harder. ;)

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Yep, and given her success with "The De Havilland Law", I fear for Ryan Murphy and FX.   ;)

 

Just goes to show you, you're never too old to try something new!

 

 

LOL!

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Yep, and given her success with "The De Havilland Law", I fear for Ryan Murphy and FX.   ;)

 

Just goes to show you, you're never too old to try something new!

 

But do you support this lawsuit?   To me it is downright silly;   There is nothing in the way Olivia was portrayed in that mini-series that comes close to being slander or libel.    

 

As you believe you know Olivia is my third favorite actress (after Davis and Stanwyck);   I love this grand lady,  but this lawsuit is nonsense.

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But do you support this lawsuit?   To me it is downright silly;   There is nothing in the way Olivia was portrayed in that mini-series that comes close to being slander or libel.    

 

As you believe you know Olivia is my third favorite actress (after Davis and Stanwyck);   I love this grand lady,  but this lawsuit is nonsense.

 

I read about the lawsuit, but didn't see "Feud", so I can't weigh in on this (I don't know if Olivia was shown in a positive or negative light).  If there were things said about her relationship with Joan, I would imagine Olivia would be sensitive about it (either that she felt what was shown was untrue, or she wanted to 'whitewash' the truth), but again, I can't make an informed decision.  

 

I was following the other "Feud" thread when the show was on, to get other members' opinions on it, but it seemed to get mixed reviews here.  I'd thought about trying to catch it on YouTube or somewhere else, but haven't been that enthusiastic.

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It would've been good if the series was half it's length. They tried to make it sound like this was a life long feud. (I wasnt buying it). And padded it's length. If they'd kept it to Baby Jane/Charlotte it would've been a lot better. There was a lot of playing with the facts and stuff shown that couldnt be proven or was tasteless (showing Buono getting arrested). Olivia was just there to provide some narrative "facts" (using the term loosely) She was almost always shown being interviewed by somebody..........

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It would've been good if the series was half it's length. They tried to make it sound like this was a life long feud. (I wasnt buying it). And padded it's length. If they'd kept it to Baby Jane/Charlotte it would've been a lot better. There was a lot of playing with the facts and stuff shown that couldnt be proven or was tasteless (showing Buono getting arrested). Olivia was just there to provide some narrative "facts" (using the term loosely) She was almost always shown being interviewed by somebody..........

 

In the later episodes Olivia was shown supporting Davis and being a very warm and loving friend.   Showing this was key to the entire series which was mostly based on how Hollywood men and the 'system' would try to manipulate actresses,  especially aging ones,  by creating rivalries and the bogus view that many female stars were just angry hags that hated each other.    

 

Showing the strong bond between Olivia and Davis was a way to expose the above as the myth it mostly was. 

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Olivia de Havilland, looking so sweet and demure, was a scrappy little fighter, as she proved when she took Warner Bros. to court in 1944 and won. If she had lost her career in the industry may have been done. As a winner, though, she got some of the best roles of her career in the next few years, winning two Oscars in the process. All actors owed her an indebtedness, as well, for her victory.

 

If nothing else, Olivia de Havilland shows that at age 101 she is still a fighter, clearly offended by the accuracy of the portrait of herself in the series.

 

The last of the living legends (or close to it, at least) from the Hollywood studio era and she shows us that her fighting spirit remains undiminished. Here's hoping Olivia lives to see the final court verdict. I've a strange feeling that the lady will will herself to do so.

 

Even if she loses the lawsuit Olivia is ready to go down swinging. I have to admire the lady's fighting spirit.

 

7WvPvRV.jpg

 

Still plenty of fight left

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In the later episodes Olivia was shown supporting Davis and being a very warm and loving friend.   Showing this was key to the entire series which was mostly based on how Hollywood men and the 'system' would try to manipulate actresses,  especially aging ones,  by creating rivalries and the bogus view that many female stars were just angry hags that hated each other.    

 

Showing the strong bond between Olivia and Davis was a way to expose the above as the myth it mostly was. 

 

 

Overall, I wouldnt say she was portrayed unfavorably, but I could see her objecting to it. Having her say things she never said (in public at least). She was mostly a talking head. She did figure prominently in that one episode.

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I read about the lawsuit, but didn't see "Feud", so I can't weigh in on this (I don't know if Olivia was shown in a positive or negative light).  If there were things said about her relationship with Joan, I would imagine Olivia would be sensitive about it (either that she felt what was shown was untrue, or she wanted to 'whitewash' the truth), but again, I can't make an informed decision.  

 

I was following the other "Feud" thread when the show was on, to get other members' opinions on it, but it seemed to get mixed reviews here.  I'd thought about trying to catch it on YouTube or somewhere else, but haven't been that enthusiastic.

 

 

The series is entertaining and well acted. Lots of funny dialog. And great costumes/sets. It's worth a look if you have the time. But just take what's portrayed with a heavy grain of salt! I took issue with a lot of things that werent true, or couldnt be proven to be true even happened......

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  • 8 months later...

Olivia de Havilland’s ‘Feud’ Suit Tossed by Appeals Court

 

A three-judge panel has tossed out the defamation suit brought by actress Olivia de Havilland, in a ruling that affirms the right of filmmakers to embellish the historical record.

De Havilland sued FX Networks last year, alleging that the miniseries “Feud” included a damaging portrayal of her. The case was closely watched because it appeared to threaten the ability of filmmakers to portray real events with fictionalized elements. But in its ruling Monday, the court unanimously held that such portrayals are protected by the First Amendment.

“Whether a person portrayed in one of these expressive works is a world-renowned film star — ‘a living legend’ — or a person no one knows, she or he does not own history,” Justice Anne Egerton wrote. “Nor does she or he have the legal right to control, dictate, approve, disapprove, or veto the creator’s portrayal of actual people.”

http://variety.com/2018/biz/news/olivia-de-havilland-feud-lawsuit-tossed-1202736605/

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48 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

Thank goodness. I have a dear friend who loves Joan Crawford and I've wanted her to see this. Now, maybe they'll release the DVD soon.

As much as I love and respect Olivia I didn't support her in this lawsuit.    I'm going to assume she was brainwashed by some lawyer out for a buck (and if that isn't correct,  please don't inform me otherwise because that is what I want to believe, ha ha). 

Last night I saw Joan Crawford on a special awards show hosted by Merv Griffin.  Not sure what year it was but John Wayne did mention Reagan and that he was running for governor of CA,  so I assume 1966 or 67,  placing it around 4 -5 years after 'Baby Jane'.  

Joan was funny,  very gracious to the other young actors on the program as well as Robert Vaughn and very entertaining.   No bitterness or anything else negative in slight.   But she did get in a funny plug in for Pepsi.  

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Sure.  I don't recall seeing any "damaging" portrayal of Olivia in that show.  Makes me wonder what SHE saw that made her think so.  Well at least, I saw nothing that would cause me to lose respect for her as an actress, or change how I feel about her reputations as such.

Sepiatone

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I love Jessica Lange, and I adore Bette Davis. Like Joan Crawford (not nearly as much as Davis though), and I can watch Susan Sarandon. 

But you know Hollywood....they feel they have to fictionalize certain elements on true stories or movies or series based on real people or otherwise the shows may put people to sleep.

I have no doubt that Davis and Crawford despised each other. The fact that Crawford practically gloated having accepted the Oscar for Anne Bancroft for THE MIRACLE WORKER, rubbing salt in Davis' wounds, is proof enough of that to me.

I believe the two women never got along was because they both thought they were the Queen of Hollywood, and that Hollywood wasn't big enough for two Queens. They were both strong-willed and had many a fight with the heads of the studios. But to the real depth of their mutual disdain for each other, only the two ladies would know.

As for Olivia's problem with FEUD, I can't comment on it either, since I haven't seen it, but it's hardly a secret that she and Joan Fontaine were not at all close. As for the 'b----' comment, maybe it's a case of thou does protest too much. But then again I have never heard anyone say that Olivia actually called Joan that, at least not publically. Again, only Olivia herself would know the legitimacy of this myth.

 

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3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

While I didn't see Feud, from what I gathered, Olivia was upset that she was portrayed as having called sister Joan Fontaine "a b----." 

Yes, that was what was mentioned in the lawsuit and this is why the judge dismissed the case.   There is a clear historical record that Olivia and Joan didn't get along (duh).   So the show's producers didn't have to prove that Olivia actually said that word,  but instead under artistic creative licence,  only that any dialog used represented their overall relationship.   I.e. that she might have called her sister that given the state of the relationship. 

 

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9 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Sure.  I don't recall seeing any "damaging" portrayal of Olivia in that show.  Makes me wonder what SHE saw that made her think so.  Well at least, I saw nothing that would cause me to lose respect for her as an actress, or change how I feel about her reputations as such.

Sepiatone

I think its more of a general nervousness about any portrayal after Mommie Dearest. I remember while the series was going on, the child of one of Joan's adopted children did an interview. He enjoyed the series yet, could not get his mother to watch any of it.

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I've read that de Havilland referred to her sister as "the dragon lady."  I'm not really sure what that means, I'm sure she didn't mean it as a compliment.  I assume that "dragon lady" might be related to stereotypes about some Asian women and seeing that de Havilland and Fontaine were born in Tokyo, maybe this is related?? I don't know though.  I've never heard of de Havilland or Fontaine identifying as Japanese.  I've read them referred to as "British-American." 

Re: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.  While I definitely don't think they were BFFs by any means, I feel like the feud between them has been exaggerated over the years and at this point, the stories have probably become legend even if they're not entirely true.  From what I've read/heard, while the ladies weren't friends, they seemed to remain civil on the set and get their work done.  Their careers and lives followed such a similar trajectory and they had a lot in common, I think it was personalities and ego that got in the way.  It seems that their feud was escalated by the publicity department to get crowds in to see What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Since then, the feud has become legend and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'s longevity and reputation is only enhanced by the Bette/Joan feud.

When Mommie Dearest was published, even Bette Davis defended Joan Crawford, "I was not Miss Crawford's biggest fan, but wisecracks to the contrary, I did and still do respect her talent.  What she did not deserve was that detestable book written by her daughter.  I've forgotten her name.  Horrible." 

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I just read about the decision, as I have been tracking the case since the beginning. I talked to one of my friends about this, and my friend said: "You know, maybe what she saw of herself she didn't really like seeing, and given her age, she is concerned about her legacy." 

I thought a lot about what my friend said reading the news today. My thoughts on the case when I've seen clips of Feud and do want to watch it, since its up my alley anyway (Bette Davis wanted Susan Sarandon to portray her and that was my hook-in, so to speak and Joan Crawford's grandson did approve of how Feud was going to respect Joan's legacy that was tarnished by his aunt that made his mother not even touch Mommie Dearest (1981)). That being said, I am surprised that Olivia didn't allow her lawyer to reveal the truth that the defendant did qualify by her own treatment of Joan, which the series did touch on in creative license. I mean- having read No Bed Of Roses (1978), there is a series right there exploring stage mothers' effects on sibling relationships in show business. That isn't to say I don't love them both any less equally, I am not their mother, who pitted her daughters against each other and who favored Olivia. Joan was smart and her book is eloquently written. But, I digress. 

As a playwright, I guess I should be happy since I can take anyone in show business history and write about them and not get sued, but since I do love Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford, I feel glad that Ryan Murphy could explore age-old Hollywood sexism through Feud. Now, on to age-old royal drama in Feud: Charles and Diana (which oddly, de Havilland portrayed the Queen Mother in an early 80s television movie). 

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20 minutes ago, hepclassic said:

As a playwright, I guess I should be happy since I can take anyone in show business history and write about them and not get sued,

The dismissal of the suit doesn't allow an author to just say (write about) anything, especially for someone that is still alive.    E.g. if they had said that Olivia had Flynn's child and then placed it in an orphanage I assume that would be actionable since there is no factual basis for such a story line.

As you note there is an historical record that Olivia and Joan didn't get along (I have all of the books the two have written about their lives as well as the both The Sisters).   Making up dialog related to their sour relationship falls under creative licence because of this historical record.           

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20 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I've read that de Havilland referred to her sister as "the dragon lady."  I'm not really sure what that means, I'm sure she didn't mean it as a compliment.  I assume that "dragon lady" might be related to stereotypes about some Asian women and seeing that de Havilland and Fontaine were born in Tokyo, maybe this is related?? I don't know though.  I've never heard of de Havilland or Fontaine identifying as Japanese.  I've read them referred to as "British-American." 

Re: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.  While I definitely don't think they were BFFs by any means, I feel like the feud between them has been exaggerated over the years and at this point, the stories have probably become legend even if they're not entirely true.  From what I've read/heard, while the ladies weren't friends, they seemed to remain civil on the set and get their work done.  Their careers and lives followed such a similar trajectory and they had a lot in common, I think it was personalities and ego that got in the way.  It seems that their feud was escalated by the publicity department to get crowds in to see What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Since then, the feud has become legend and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'s longevity and reputation is only enhanced by the Bette/Joan feud.

When Mommie Dearest was published, even Bette Davis defended Joan Crawford, "I was not Miss Crawford's biggest fan, but wisecracks to the contrary, I did and still do respect her talent.  What she did not deserve was that detestable book written by her daughter.  I've forgotten her name.  Horrible." 

Joan and Olivia were born in Japan because their father worked there. The marriage did not work out and Lillian and the children moved to California. I think the move was more for health reasons (Joan was a sickly child) but I think the marriage was in trouble anyway. I think their father wound up going back there later on...

Bette blew hot and cold about Mommie Dearest. Sometimes joking about the details. Sometimes deploring it, depending on her mood. Bette wound up having her own Mommie Dearest book later on from her own daughter, B.D. (though it was far less dramatic in detail).....

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I agree the feud between Davis/Crawford was most likely blown way out of proportion.
I can absolutely believe Crawford being bitter when a plum part she would have liked to played was given to Davis and similarly Davis hissing over any of Crawford's successes. It happens when you have two (or more) people vying for the same position within such a cutthroat business.

The public loves "dirt" on celebrities and publicists still capitalize on it-just look at all that's been published over Jennifer Anniston's love life.
I'm sure the idea these two great actresses acted like cats clawing at each other is titillating to some, but I think it was much more just a personal jealousy over attention & career than anything else. Remember-you have to have a big ego to even be in show business....

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