Tag Archives: Joan Crawford

Gossip with The Women

1939’s The Women bestowed a wealth of gloriously iconic dialogue and imagery on the world. Rosalind Russell’s “Seeing Eye” Blouse designed by Adrian, Rosalind and Phyllis Povah landing heads-first into a passing department store cart and my personal favorite: “Jungle red!”

But there is one disconcerting aspect of the film I could never find an explanation for…until now. The poodle-like hairstyles. Every woman in the production (except the blissfully spared Paulette Goddard) sports an unbecoming mass of tightly woven curls on her head. If any of the ladies had long hair at the time, it’s well disguised and contained with the most permanent of waves ever to grace a screen.

Well, it seems at least one of the ladies has a practical reason for her poodle curls, according to the gossip column of Silver Screen’s August 1939 issue:

Joan had every right to be “horrified” if you ask me. Even the masterful snips and curls of Sidney Guilaroff couldn’t transform her botched perm into an acceptable hairstyle. I can’t help wondering if the rest of the ladies’ hair was styled to match Joan’s just so her chopped locks would not stand out. And then I started wondering why Paulette Goddard sported soft shoulder length tresses while the others went for the chop? My only explanation is that it really paid to be married to Charlie Chaplin!

The same column leaked a tidbit about Adrian’s shocking fashions, too. If those clothes in the fashion show sequence are still fascinating and slightly odd to this day, imagine what movie-goers thought of them at the time. No wonder Silver Screen attempted to prepare everyone:

Joan is seriously displeased with the new do.

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Amanda’s Classic Cinema Survey, a la Casey

Amanda at Noodle in a Haystack has come up with this fabulous classic film survey that I simply must participate in. I’ve been truly enjoying reading all the responses from the classic film bloggers, so I’m going to jump in with my answers. Oh, and I’m adding photos for your viewing pleasure (an idea I’m borrowing from Kate!).

1. What is your all-time favorite Clark Gable movie?

China Seas (1935) with Jean Harlow. It was nearly a tie with Idiot’s Delight (1939), but China Seas wins because of all the terrific digs and jabs in the dialogue.

2. Do you like Joan Crawford best as a comedienne or a drama-queen?
Oh, drama queen – definitely. I don’t appreciate her comedic efforts. And don’t even get me started on her dancing… Some my favorite drama-Joan films are The Women, Grand Hotel, Susan and God, A Woman’s Face, When Ladies Meet, Above Suspicion and Mildred Pierce.

3. In your opinion, should Ginger Rogers have made more musicals post-Fred Astaire?
No, I don’t think so. The Fred and Ginger teaming was a very special match made in heaven. I think if Ginger had gone on to star in more musicals after Fred, it never would have worked out as well and now, we would all be mad she wasted her time on it. Just think of all the quality comedic and dramatic films she made after her time with Fred: Vivacious Lady, Having Wonderful Time (if Millie can place James Dean where ever she wants, I can capitalize on Doug Jr, too!), Stage Door, Primrose Path, The Major and the Minor, Weekend at the Waldorf, Kitty Foyle, Roxie Hart, etc… I’d rather have these gems than other musical films pairing Ginger with new leading men who could never compare with Fred.

4. I promise not to cause you bodily (or any other serious) harm if you don’t agree with me on this one. So please be honest: do you like Elizabeth Taylor? Hm?
Poor Liz. She is constantly the subject of controversy! I do like her, but with reservations. I’ve seen almost all the films she made between 1943 and 1954, plus some of the later ones like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer and Butterfield 8. I’ve found that I enjoy her earlier films much more than the later ones (the films made after 1960 I totally refuse to watch on several grounds, one of which is Richard Burton). I enjoy her performances in all of the films I’ve seen her in, but she was not the drawing star for me. For example, I didn’t watch Julia Misbehaves because it was a Liz Taylor film. So, she was just additional happiness in a film I was already enjoying.

5. Who is your favorite offscreen Hollywood couple?
Douglas Fairbanks Jr & Wife MaryDouglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Mary Lee Eppling

6. How about onscreen Hollywood couple?
Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon
7. Favorite Jean Arthur movie?
Mr Smith Goes to WashingtonMr. Smith Goes To Washington
Hey Millie – Jimmy Stewart is good sometimes! ;)
8. What was the first Gregory Peck movie you saw?
It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure it was The Paradine Case with Alida Valli. The Paradine Case is the earliest memory I have of classic film, so I guess that makes it the first one I ever watched!

9. What film made you fall in love with Alfred Hitchcock? (And for those of you that say, “I don’t like Hitchcock” — what is wrong with you?!)

Either The Birds or Dial M For Murder. I think The Birds is the first Hitch I ever saw. My parents were on a Blockbuster renting kick for a little while and we rented it from there. I was about 6 years old and it terrified me to no end!

I also have early memories of Dial M For Murder. Fuzzy images of a key under a mat, Grace Kelly clipping articles from newspapers and a very excited Robert Cummings.
Both are superb films suitable for sparking a Hitch habit. And by the way, if you call yourself a classic film fan and have not contracted the Hitch habit, you need to enroll yourself in Hitch School, asap!
10. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption? At the moment, it’s The Fountainhead starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. I’ll be reading the book it’s based on soon, so this is subject to change, depending on how faithful the film is to the book.

11. Do you prefer Shirley Temple as a little girl or as a teenager?
Though I love Shirley in general, I prefer her when she was a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against her in the child roles. It’s just that I spent a great deal of my own pre-teen and teenage years watching Shirley and Jane Powell when they were that age and the fond memories linger on.
12. Favorite character actor?
Just like all those who have responded to this survey before me, I’m having a really hard time picking just 1! Here’s a few that always put a smile on my face when their names pop up in the credits: Guy Kibbee, Eugene Pallette, Mildred Natwick, Barry Fitzgerald, Edna May Oliver, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes, Edward Everett Horton and Alice Brady. I could write an entire post with nothing but the names of character actors I adore!
13. Favorite Barbara Stanwyck role?
Christmas In Connecticut - cast shot
Christmas In Connecticut with Dennis Morgan. It was quite a fight between this one and Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, Clash By Night & The Mad Miss Manton.
14. Who is your favorite of Cary Grant’s leading ladies?
Jean Harlow in Suzy (1936).

15. Bette Davis or Joan Crawford?
Bette Davis!
16. What actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
Ronald Reagan, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Robert Sterling, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Glenda Farrell, Claire Trevor, Audrey Totter, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan. Just to name a few.

17. What actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?
Randolph ScottRuth Roman
Oh dear – what a can of worms this question is! But I’ve never been one to avoid opening a can of worms! Hmm, let’s see… Donna Reed (aka “The Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!”), Randolph Scott (I love watching Follow The Fleet because Fred & Ginger get top billing over him after he outbilled them in Roberta), Rod Steiger (just a thoroughly unlikable person, especially in Oklahoma!), Robert Young (*yawn* aka Mr. Boring), John Garfield (makes my skin crawl), Ruth Roman (“The Second Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!” She’s really annoying in Strangers On A Train). These are just the top 6, I have others but I won’t bore you.

18. Do you watch movies made pre-1980 exclusively, or do you spice up your viewing-fare with newer films?
I mainly stick with films made pre-1960, actually. Although I do begrudgingly see modern films. Whenever I do, it is almost always a disappointment and merely serves to reinforce my belief that films made before 1960 are the best ever. I recently saw Up, and was pleasantly surprised by the touching story. But a case like that is few and far between.

19. Is there an actor/actress who you have seen in a film and immediately loved? If so, who?
One For The Book - Ronald Regan & Eleanor ParkerRonald Reagan in One for the Book with Eleanor Parker. I’d seen films with Ronnie before that, but One for the Book made me fall in love with him and I’m sure I’ll never get over it!

20. Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire?
Absolutely, positively, Fred Astaire. No hesitation whatsoever.
21. Favorite Ginger Rogers drama?
Kitty Foyle with Dennis Morgan and James Craig

22. If you wrote a screenplay, who would be in your dream cast and what roles would they play? (Mixing actors and actresses from different generations is allowed: any person from any point in their career.)

Will you be very angry with me if I beg to save this question? I’ve planned a whole post that feeds into this idea, so I’ll reveal it then, okay? (oh and yes, I realized I just answered a question with 2 more questions. Isn’t blogging wonderful? ;) )

23. Favorite actress?

Ooh. Very tough! All right… I’ll make the hard choice: Hedy Lamarr.

25. Favorite actor?

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (20)Everyone probably knows it by now, but I’ll take any opportunity to advocate for my beloved Douglas Fairbanks, Jr!

26. And now, the last question. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:
Love Letters '45
Drama: Love Letters (1945) with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten (I can never decide exactly what genre this does fall under, since it’s a cross between Drama, Mystery/Suspense¬† and Romance.)
Romance: The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers cast
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) with Jane Powell and Howard Keel (My favorite brother is Benjamin, aka Jeff Richards, who ends up with Julie Newmar. I’ve watched SBfSB a couple times just to find him in every scene. These JR viewings are in addition to the 20 or so times I’ve seen SBfSB anyway.)

Comedy: The Women (1939) with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford – the above photo is a huge tribute to the talent of the three ladies, they look so happy! Sadly, the truth is the set of The Women was notoriously clouded with jealousy and star rivalry.

Western: Stagecoach (1939) with John Wayne and Claire Trevor – I like to think of it as Grand Hotel in a western setting. Isn’t that a marvelous photo?!

Hitchcock (he has a genre all to himself): The 39 Steps (1935) with Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll, even though Madeline Carroll makes me mad. I mean, seriously girls, who wouldn’t want to be handcuffed to Robert Donat?

Suspense/Mystery (I’m adding this one so I can include a Noir film): Laura (1944) with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney (If you’ve never read the book by Vera Caspary, you have no idea what you’re missing!)
All right, there it is, all photoed and everything! A big thanks to Amanda for creating this survey – it was lots of fun coming up with the answers! And, dear reader, if you haven’t written up your own answers, what are you waiting for?

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