Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Star of the month Joan Crawford
Her portrayal of a good-hearted flapper in her 21st film, "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928), made her a star. Crawford maintained this status throughout the remainder of her career, but not without setbacks. She successfully made the transition to sound films, her Jazz Age image being replaced by young society matrons and sincere, upwardly mobile, sometimes gritty working girls (memorably in "Grand Hotel" 1932) and her mien adopting the carefully sculptured cheekbones, broad shoulders and full mouth audiences remember her for. Her MGM films of the 1930s, though lavish and stylish, were mostly routine and superficial. Despite mature and impressive performances in "The Women" (1939) and "A Woman's Face" (1941), both directed by George Cukor, Crawford continued to be given less-than-challenging roles by the studio.
In 1943 Crawford left MGM and her career took a decided upward turn after she signed with Warner Bros.... Memorable roles in "Mildred Pierce" (1945, for which she deservedly won an Oscar), "Humoresque" (1946) and "Possessed" (1947) restored and consolidated her popularity.
...After this brief period of success, Crawford's career declined once again, and in 1952 her remarkable business acumen told her to leave Warners.... Although these later features were poor vehicles for her talents, she was a resilient and consummate professional with an uncanny knowledge of the business of stardom who was fiercely loyal to her fans and who continued to impose the highest standards of performance upon herself.... and Franchot Tone and was portrayed as a cruel, violent and calculating mother by Faye Dunaway in the 1981 film, "Mommie Dearest", based on a scathing biography by her adopted daughter Christina.