Mommie Dearest

Well, Jerry is on his cruise (it was completely booked and we couldn’t add me), and I’m on vacation a little bored. I went antiquing with Mom today and found an old Smith-Corona portable typewriter that I just had to have! I will post pics tomorrow along with some of my other finds/gifts from the past two weeks.

Since Jerry isn’t around, I’m going to settle in and watch a movie. He’ll watch old movies with me, but usually falls asleep lol, so I’m going to watch Mommie Dearest tonight. I’ve never seen it, can you believe that? For all the trivia I know about Joan Crawford, and I’ve never read the book, or seen the film.

I thought I would look up some behind the scenes or trivia information before I watch it, so here goes.

Enjoy your Wednesday night friends. Hope you are all doing well!

–The part of Joan Crawford was originally to have been played by Anne Bancroft, who left the project once the screenplay was completed.

–Contrary to urban legend, the scene in which Joan Crawford substitutes for her daughter Christina Crawford on the soap opera was NOT filmed on the Cunningham living room and kitchen set from “Happy Days” (1974).

–The first film to nearly “sweep” the Golden Raspberry Awards (or RAZZIES), with five “wins” (including Worst Picture and three out of four acting awards) from a then-record nine nominations.

–It was reported that in an interview that Joan Crawford said only Faye Dunaway had the talent and guts to be a true star.

–A month after the film was released to bad reviews, audiences flocked to see the film armed with Ajax and wire hangers to actively “participate” with the film in a manner similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Paramount seized on this new found notoriety and began to bill the film as a camp classic, with ads and posters proclaiming, “Meet the biggest MOTHER of them all!”

–Little love was lost between costume designer Irene Sharaff and Faye Dunaway. “Yes, you may enter Miss Dunaway’s dressing room,” Sharaff once said, “but first you most throw a raw steak in – to divert her attention.”

–Faye Dunaway mentions in her autobiography that she screamed herself hoarse during the filming for the notorious wire hanger tantrum scene in this movie. She called Frank Sinatra for help, and he gave her some pointers on how to get her voice back into shape.

–The lobby cards issued for the film contain scenes from several sequences that were deleted from the final cut of the film, including: – Joan driving through the MGM lot in her car, apparently just before she visits L.B. Mayer & finds out she’s fired. – Joan talking to young Christina on the beach. – Adult Christina talking to Joan while wearing the same dress she wears to the awards ceremony at the film’s conclusion.

–The pressbook for the film goes into detail about several of the scenes, including one sequence that was cut from the film. Apparently they filmed an entire sequence where young Christina runs away from home and Joan goes out looking for her in her car. The classic cars that were necessary for the film caused a big stir in the neighborhood where the scene was filmed, and one of the people stopped in traffic so as not to ruin the scene was Barbra Streisand, who apparently spent time hanging out with Faye Dunaway between takes.

–Christina Crawford’s book, on which this film was based, was one of the biggest-selling memoirs in the history of American publishing, with more than 4 million copies sold in hardback alone.

–According to Christina Crawford, there were several scenes in which the script had to make alterations for real-life events. For example, for the famous rose bush cutting scene Christina said that those manic occasions happened periodically due to no real cause. The producers wanted to use the scenes but had to write in that it was brought on by Joan being fired by MGM executive Louis B. Mayer. Also in reference to Joan helping the maid scrub the floor, Christina stated that Joan never cleaned floors that she could remember. Joan would make Christina or Christopher clean the floors while she supervised.

–Franco Zeffirelli was approached to direct the film, but Christina Crawford disliked his vision of Joan as a glamorous Hollywood martyr.

–Faye Dunaway truly felt she would win an Oscar for her performance as Joan Crawford. When the film was released to poor reviews and Paramount’s promotion of the film as a camp classic she was furious. To this day she refuses to talk about the film. In fact, when she is interviewed she submits a list of topics that are off-limits to the interviewer, one of which is Mommie Dearest. She has been known to stop interviews if asked about the film.

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Join the Discussion!

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  5. Happy New Year!!! I’m sorry but I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been swamped with holiday and holiday clean up. But I’m back and I love the newest post on Mommy Dearest. My older sis and I loved this movie. If I see wire hangers in hubby’s closet I will giggle and pull them out and recite the famous line, “no wire hangers….EVER!” My hubby laughs and says I’m insane. But that’s the whole point of the line, duh…

    Wishing many blessings for you in 2010.


  6. You are always such a fountain of information, I love it!
    Maybe not the greatest film ever made but when I originally saw this movie when it came out, it definitely peaked my interest in Joan Crawford, which continues to this day.
    Try not to be too lonely without Jerry, the time will go by quickly, I promise!
    Have a Happy New Year!

  7. When I first read the book “Mommy Dearest” I thought it was a pretty bad hatchet-job by the daughter. Both of my parents are gone now & believe me they weren’t perfect by my standards at least but I am sure they did their best. I think that any child who trashes their parents after their death is wrong.
    Not only does it not give a chance for rebuttal but it reflects very badly on the child. JMO!!
    Shame on her……
    Happy New Year!!

  8. “But first you most throw a raw steak in – to divert her attention.” Ha! Oh, I will use that line! Thanks! :)

  9. Mommie dearest has always fascinated me. What a story it is.

    I was drawn initially to your blog b/c of the Marilyn pic. Love her in the fishnets up top! :)

  10. Oh, you’re going to love this movie! It’s a bit over the top, but that’s what I love about it. The book was good too. Kori, I’m sure Jerry’s not having any fun at all without you on that stupid, boring cruise!

  11. I think I’m the only person on Planet Earth who hasn’t seen this movie, but I still appreciate the comment of the costume designer!
    Thanks so much for your comments on my blog, sweetie, especially your encouragement on my most recent. Don’t worry about me; I know everything will work out, somehow.
    Aren’t blogging buddies just the best?!

  12. Happy New Year Kori!
    Wow, that’s alot of info, the movie making business is tough.
    Waiting to see the new typewriter and other goodies.
    Sorry there was no room for on the ship, I’m sure Jerry is missing you too. Just think what a fabulous welcome home you’ll have together – I know I’m a hopeless romantic!
    Enjoy the movie!

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