The movie Mommie Dearest is based on the tell-all book by Joan Crawford's adopted daughter Christina. It opened he weekend of September 19, 1981, a little more than four years after Crawford's death at the age of 77. Faye Dunaway, acclaimed for her roles in Bonnie & Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974) and Network (1976), portrayed Crawford. Her over-the-top performance is what made the movie a camp classic but it was said to have ended her career as a leading lady.
I always enjoyed a video shown at the bar Splash that repeatedly showed the scene where Joan slaps a fresh Christina (see video clip below). It was often shown together with a scene from Dynasty in which Krystle slapped Alexis.
The movie is a wall-to-wall campfest of quotes. Among my favorites:
- Joan to contractors in her new apartment in Manhattan after she married Pepsi CEO Alfred Steele: "Tear down that bitch of a bearing wall and put a window where it ought to be!"
- Joan to Christina at her birthday party: "Is that the present you like best? Then that's the present you can keep. We'll take the rest to the orphans who don't have anything."
- Joan to her maid who finds her cleaning the bathroom floor: "Helga, I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt."
- "Tina, get me the ax!"
- Joan to Christina: "I don't ask much of you girl. Why can't you give me the respect I'm entitled to? Why can't you treat me in the way that I'm treated by any stranger on the street?" Christina: "Because ... I am ... NOT ... one ... of ... your ... fans!!!" (Commence choking of Christina by Joan).
- Joan to Christina: "I should have known you'd know where to find the boys and the booze."