Telly Talk Oracle
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- September 2000
I've never seen all of The Damned Don't Cry, but I know a lot of her fans rank it near the top. Possessed, which some feel she deserved the Oscar for, I've seen a couple of times. But it's been a few years.
And one of her best!
And Joan did DELLA/ROYAL BAY as a pilot, once again with Diane Baker in 1963.I was looking through Joan's filmography on Wikipedia, and I saw The Joan Crawford Show listed among the titles for the television section. I did some quick research, and I found out that Goodson-Todman proposed the series as an anthology in 1959. There were twenty episodes initially planned, but it all died on the drawing board because none of the three networks expressed any interest.
This just kind of through me for a whim because I don't believe I ever knew of this before. I guess it wasn't too much of a stretch to believe, however. Other actresses had followed similar paths. Loretta Young had left Hollywood and starred for years on The Loretta Young Show. Barbara Stanwyck had her own self-titled anthology that got decent reviews but poor ratings, and even Bette Davis did the pilot for The Decorator, a half-hour comedy produced by a young Aaron Spelling.
It was apparently a face lift pulled too tightly. Somehow, though, the additional severity "fit."I've been watching Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star, the very good TCM documentary that's been released as a special feature on the DVD of Mildred Pierce.
During Joan's post-Warner Brothers days, she reinvented herself yet again. She was graciously invited back to MGM to star in the 1953 musical drama Torch Song, which she had been led to believe was going to be a "major" picture. Of course, it scatted over to B-movie territory, was derided by critics, flopped at the box office, but yet remains a cult favorite among Crawford's fans for its total outrageousness.
Anyway, the point I'm getting is Joan's "new look" she came up with (I'm guessing) to distant herself from Warner Brothers. Her hair was bobbed and lightened giving her an appearance the aforementioned documentary calls "terrifying". A theory given is Joan was creating a "warrior" exterior with a "nobody can touch me" attitude. Her daughter Christina said her adopted mother's developed a toughness that never left.
Her face did change sometime in the early 1950s. She looked tougher, meaner, and not nearly as attractive as she had been before.
Looking at it, I can see where it could have been a hacked face lift. I personally think it makes her look too tough, too manish.
She did make a transition to tougher parts. I'm sure her decision to update her appearance was influenced by the characters she was now playing, or perhaps even those she wanted to play.Well, Joan's 50s look is certainly unique and striking, there's no doubt about that. In a way, I do believe it was all a well planned effort to make her look strong, tough and even menacing. That's what she had to be in order to keep on reinventing herself and pushing her career forward. For me, she's still beautiful but in a scary way. It's hard to explain really. I love how over the top it all is. Joan was giving her LGBT followers what they wanted, long before they even knew they wanted it.
As for her tough, mean characters, while there were many to choose from in the 50s (Queen Bee, Torch Song etc), for me Harriet Craig (1950) takes the cake, both visually and as a human being.
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I saw The Joan Crawford Show