Oscar Nominations: 6
Best Supporting Actress: Eve
Best Cinematography: Ernest
Haller Best Writing/Screenplay:
Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, Bruce
Bennett, Lee Patrick
A woman is questioned for a murder, and as her story unravels, we are
treated to a tale of a woman who rose above her station as a housewife, to
become a successful business woman, who must fight off opportunists and
swindlers, while protecting her selfish daughter.
Should It Have Won?
Joan Crawford worked her butt off for this movie, and if the film isn't
evidence enough, the fabulous
behind-the-scenes story should prove
it. Joan gives a power house performance, in a story that
moves fast, and takes lots of twists!
plot has some deficiencies, particularly where is moves too quickly for
its own good. The scene where the husband is thrown out seemed a
little contrived, and crossed the border into pure soap opera, but once
again, Joan is the one to watch, and she truly proves she can carry the
film through its weaker moments.
Didn't It Win?
Joan effect! Joan Crawford's rise back to the top was well
documented, and it was a given that she would win the Best Actress
Oscar. Perhaps voters put all of their efforts into that
message movie! The Lost Weekend tackled alcoholism, opening up a
subject that wasn't discussed so freely until that time. Lost
Weekend had an impact, and Hollywood could be proud that they were making
a serious statement. Sadly, message movies are only appropriate for
ashamed to find out that her mother is working as a common
waitress. Mildred says "I'm doing the best I can to put
food on the table."
mother of all biographies had to be Mommie Dearest, the nasty tell-all by
the bitter daughter of Joan Crawford. She wrote about her life as
Joan's abused adopted daughter, suffering through alcohol, bizarre
rituals, and god forbid, wire hangers. The book was a best seller
that made Joan Crawford a bigger star than she ever was before her death
better tribute to this woman could there be, than a campy, over-the-top
film, based on Christina Crawford's book? Faye Dunaway had an eerie
resemblance to the star, in a film that pulled out all the stops.
Admittedly, the film was not a prestigious one, and some the acting left
a little to be desired, but the film is well worth watching, if only for
the outrageous performance by Dunaway. The story may not be true,
but there is no doubt that Dunaway does the best Joan Crawford impression
Faye Dunaway as
Joan Crawford, rehearses the same scene, in Mommie Dearest.
Behind the Scenes:
No Joan Crawford biography would be complete without an in-depth analysis
of the Mildred Pierce episode. Joan was cut out of MGM's stable of
stars in the 1939, after years of dismal box office. According to
her bitter daughter, a furious Joan cut down the rose bushes the night she
didn't give up and started looking for good roles with other
studios. Michael Curtiz was casting for the role of Mildred Pierce
after Bette Davis dropped out, and he wasn't interested in Joan. He
quipped, "Me direct that temperamental bitch! Not on your goddamn
life!" Joan had to screen test for the part, a huge insult to
an actress of her stature, but she did it, and Curtiz hired
film was an instant success, and Joan's career was back on top. The
Oscar nomination for Best Actress was a given, but Joan wasn't convinced
that she was going to win it, or perhaps she used the opportunity to stage
the most over-the-top acceptance speech in Oscar history.
feigned ill that night, and listened to the show on the radio. When
she won, she ushered the press into her bedroom, where, bedridden, and
looking lovely, she posed with her Oscar statue.
Curtiz gladly ate humble pie after the success of the film. He said,
"When I agreed to direct Miss Crawford, I felt she was going to be as
stubborn as a mule and I made up my mind to be plenty hard on her.
Now that I learned how sweet she is, and how professional and how talented
she is, I take back even thinking those things about her."
Crawford was a gracious sport about it all. She presented him with a
pair of her trademark shoulder pads.
a bid for the Oscar, producer Jerry Wald planted a story with Hedda
Hopper, proclaiming that Joan's performance was so good that she was a
shoe in for the top prize.
Joan Crawford is handed the Oscar for Best Actress. She is
flanked by studio boss, Jack Warner.
comeback vehicle is one of the best examples of film-noir ever!
film opens with a distraught Joan, a smoking gun, and a dead body.
is the epitome of the perfect mother, doting on her two daughters, even
after she throws her philandering husband out.
Carson plays Wally, a scoundrel who comes calling when he finds out that
Joan is single.
dotes on her evil brat, Veda, played by Ann Blyth.
takes a job as a waitress, in an effort to support her daughters expensive
McQueen doesn't even get a credit for playing Lottie, the precocious maid,
hired to look after Veda's expensive tastes.
Zachary Scott is the
dastardly love interest and investor, who romances Joan.
Joan snubs her
critics, proving she still has what it takes to play the glamour queen!
The evil Veda moves in on her mother's
Mildred unwittingly helps her daughter
scam her way out of a quickie marriage.
The evil Veda calls her mother a
'frump', just before taking off with her mother's man.