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Faye Dunaway Chews the Scenery in "Mommie Dearest" (September 19, 1981)

Mommie_dearest The movie Mommie Dearest is based on the tell-all book by Joan Crawford's adopted daughter Christina.  It opened he weekend of Sept. 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.   


Joan_slapping_christina 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 camp-fest of quotes.  Among my favorites: 

  • Tear_down_that_bitch_of_a_wall 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."


  • Mommie_dearest_angryatthedirt 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!"


  • Mommie_dearest_i_am_not_one_of_your-fans 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."  


No_wire_hangers Mommy dearest dont fuck with me Because of their overuse, the "no wire hangers" and "don't fuck with me, fellows" quotes aren't particular favorites of mine. 







I am also fascinated with the Joan touch-up.I thhgout the photo was an interesting cautionary tale, that before we compare ourselves to movie stars and find ourselves wanting, we should realize even they can't live up to their image. I'm sure the Joan on the left was an attractive woman if you'd met her in real life. Just not attractive enough for the Hollywood image machine.

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