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Mommie Dearest

This is Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and the results are, well, screen history. Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all.

With:
Faye Dunaway Diana Scarwid Steve Forrest Howard da Silva Jocelyn Brando

This is Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and the results are, well, screen history. Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all.

Prior to her death, Crawford once commented that Dunaway was among the best of up-and-coming young actresses. Too bad Crawford isn’t around to comment now. Too bad, Crawford isn’t around to comment on the whole endeavor.

Much has been written and said pro-and-con about Crawford since daughter Christina wrote the book on which this film is based. Whatever the truth, director Frank Perry’s portrait here is sorry indeed, 129 minutes with a very pathetic and unpleasant individual.

The story is familiar: self-centred, insecure and pressured movie queen adopts two babies for both love and personal aggrandizement. Growing up, the kids are battered between luxurious pampering and abuse, never finding real affection with mother, who finally dies and cuts them out of the will, reaching beyond the grave for final revenge.

As Christina, Diana Scarwid is okay, but unexceptional. Much better is little Mara Hobel as Christina the child, genuinely touching at times. Rutanya Alda is also fine as Crawford’s long-suffering but loving assistant.

Popular on Variety

Mommie Dearest

Production: Paramount. Director Frank Perry; Producer Frank Yablans; Screenplay Frank Yablans, Frank Perry, Tracy Hotchner, Robert Getchell; Camera Paul Lohmann; Editor Peter E. Berger; Music Henry Mancini; Art Director Bill Malley

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 129 MIN.

With: Faye Dunaway Diana Scarwid Steve Forrest Howard da Silva Jocelyn Brando

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