6/08/2017

MOVIE REVIEW

TITLE: Mommie Dearest

DESCRIPTION: 1981 drama about the relationship between actress Joan Crawford and her adopted daughter.

DIRECTED BY: Frank Perry. He died in 1995 from prostate cancer at the age of 65. Singer Katy Perry is his niece. Italian director Franco Zeffirelli was originally considered but Christina Crawford thought he was too favorable to her mother.

WRITTEN BY: Robert Getchell (creator of the sitcom Alice) with Tracy Hotchner, the director and producer Frank Yablans.

STARRING:

  • Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. She's very bitter about the role, blaming it for ruining her career as a serious actress. Anne Bancroft was originally going to star but left over creative differences.
  • Diana Scarwid as Christina Crawford (adult)
  • Rutanya Alda as Carol Ann. She later wrote a memoir blasting Faye Dunaway for being a diva.
  • Steve Forrest as Gregg Savitt. He died in 2013 at the age of 87.
STUDIO: Paramount. Producers included Christina Crawford's husband David Koontz and Faye Dunaway's then-fiance Terry O'Neill.

MY TAKE: I liked it. Been meaning to watch it forever. I can see why it's such a cult classic. The definition of campy. Although part of me cringes saying that because mental illness really shouldn't be something to laugh at. It's a tragedy not a comedy. Joan Crawford was very sick. And her behavior hurt her children very badly. It's easy to dismiss her as an evil woman but with treatment and medication she would have totally been a different person. 

NOTES:
  • Surprisingly successful at the box office. Making $39 million on a budget of $5 million.
  • Two husbands and two adopted kids were written out of the story altogether.
  • Won a bunch of Razzie awards including Worst Movie, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress (Faye Dunaway), Worst Supporting Actor (Steve Forrest) and Worst Supporting Actress (Diana Scarwid).
  • Daughter Christina is now 77 and living in Idaho. Son Christopher passed away from cancer in 2006 at the age of 62.

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