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Queen Bee (1955)

Joan Crawford , Barry Sullivan , Ranald MacDougall  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

Price: $22.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Crawford, Barry Sullivan, Betsy Palmer, John Ireland, Lucy Marlow
  • Directors: Ranald MacDougall
  • Writers: Ranald MacDougall, Edna L. Lee
  • Producers: Jerry Wald
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RDRP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,666 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Queen Bee" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Talent files: Ranald MacDougall, Joan Crawford, John Ireland, Fay Wray
  • Vintage advertising

Editorial Reviews

"Any man's my man if I want it that way." The speaker could only be Joan Crawford, as a wicked man-eater terrorizing her Deep South household in Queen Bee. Crawford's the whole show in this campy 1955 melodrama, which aspires to be second-rate Lillian Hellman but doesn't even reach that level. Having trapped a wealthy Southerner (Barry Sullivan) into marriage, Crawford takes her main pleasure in making life miserable for the other women of the mansion. This is fun to watch for a while, but director Ranald MacDougall (he wrote Mildred Pierce for Crawford) can't get the pace moving, and the final comeuppance is all too predictable. Crawford was going into her final high-diva phase at this point in her career, all chalky makeup and yard-long eyebrows, and Queen Bee clearly points the way toward What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Star power prevails, however, and at least the picture summons up its share of unintentional laughs. --Robert Horton

Product Description

In a beautiful, Georgia mansion, the home’s matriarch, Eva (Joan Crawford, Grand Hotel), rules with an iron fist. Whether it‘s domineering her alcoholic husband, Avery (Barry Sullivan, The Tall Man), or preventing Carol (Betsy Palmer, Friday the 13th, 1980) from marrying Judson (John Ireland, All the King’s Men, 1949), Eva controls everyone around her. But when a cousin, Jennifer (Lucy Marlow, A Star Is Born, 1954), comes into town and develops a bond with Avery, Eva wants to take control of the situation again — leading to dark choices.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Queen Bee May 27, 2002
A dozen years after her M-G-M contemporaries had settled into their involuntary and disgruntled retirements, Joan Crawford was still in the game. Her "Queen Bee" is not the world's greatest movie, but it's not the worst either, not by a long shot.
Crawford plays Eva Phillips, doyenne of an Atlanta mansion and married to a facially scarred husband she's nicknamed Beauty, which gives a glimmer of how twisted Eva is. Eva gets her kicks out of manipulating hubby, her old lover, her old lover's fiancee (who is Beauty's sister- this is a very close family, if you know what I mean, and I'm sure you do), and dear cousin Jennifer. Crawford also has two pre-adolescent kids, a biological coup for a fiftyish woman in 1955, when this movie was made.
Much has been said and written about Crawford's scenery-chewing in this one, but it's interestingly done. La Suprema Joan uses the movie as a showcase for all the acting tricks she had so painfully acquired over thirty years in front of the camera. So polished had she become, she's able to convey menace simply by entering a room with a smile on her face. And when she gets mean, no one is meaner, as the rest of the cast finds out by slow degrees. Crawford causes one character to commit suicide, and she has a little tour-de-force moment when Eva learns what has happened. She's seated in front of her dressing table, creaming her face, and suddenly, chillingly, loses it when she hears the news. Both the script and the actress have the intelligence to refrain from explaining the reaction. Is she horrified by what she's done? Is she terrified that she has the capacity to do it? Is she just putting on an act expected of her? We don't know, and it's to Crawford's credit that she is able to communicate the ambiguity in the middle of a bit of Grand Guignol.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Joan.... October 19, 2003
Joan Crawford was many things. Underrated actress, major star, shrewd businesswoman and questionable mother, and it's in this 1955 homage to all things overstated, that we see her play each of these parts in turn.
As the arch-manipulator Eva Philips, Joan excels for a number of reasons: She's clearly the only capable actor in this otherwise awful movie (although John Ireland's performance is very good), and looks absolutely spellbinding in all of her glorious costumes (custom-made by designer Jean-Louis). In fact, if it wasn't for the indomitable Miss Crawford's formulaic scenery-chewing this film would probably never have been converted to VHS, much less DVD.
Anyway, trapped in a loveless marriage to a bitter alcoholic, Joan sets about destroying all happiness around her, craving power and attention as her only means of comfort. Her cousin Jennifer Stewart (played in the most woeful manner by the consummately irritating Lucy Marlow)comes to stay and all hell breaks loose as Joan tries her damndest to break up her sister-in-law's engagement to her ex-lover Judson Prentiss (Ireland).
Memorable scenes are when Joan learns of their engagement ('Isn't it REVOLTING??!!?'), Joan getting out of a dinner party engagement (nobody does phone like Joan!), and Joan viciously slapping her idiot cousin Jennifer (clearly a real slap, and clearly in response to Marlow's woeful 'acting').
This is not a film for film-lovers. It's strictly for lovers of camp, Joan Crawford and gorgeous divadom. For comedy value it can't be beat.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50s Melodrama At Its Finest!! February 2, 2006
Being an unapologetic Joan Crawford fan, I could enjoy just about any cinematic drivel she has appeared in (and I'm sure I have). While Queen Bee isn't drivel, it's no Mildred Pierce either - - but I loved it all the same!

Joan plays Eva Phillips and although she is probably a good 10-15 years older than the scriptwriter envisioned, she still looks remarkable. She is married (unhappily as we will find out) to the alcoholic Avery, whom she stole away from the sweet Sue (played too briefly by Fay Wray).

The movie revolves around Eva and Avery's unhappy union, her chasing of Judson, who is enamored of her sister-in-law Carol and with whom she had an affair some years back, and Eva's annoyingly meek cousin Jennifer who has just arrived at their southern mansion. Soon, the fur is flying, Joan is wearing some fabulous Jean Louis designs and the witty barbs are everywhere.

The only weak part of the movie is Jennifer, who is so cowardly and timid, it's a hard sell to think that she's even remotely related to Eva. Seeing her cowering and tearing up over Eva raising her voice just makes me want to cheer when Eva finally slaps the daylights out of the girl.

But one weak character aside, the movie is a fun and exciting 1950s soap opera -- and seeing Eva take out her frustrations with a riding crop is worth the price of the movie itself!

Definitely a 5 star movie!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Crawford November 30, 2006
This was one of Joan Crawford's last Glamour Queen movie roles, before she started doing horror films and TV, and this part itself is transitional, as she plays a legendary beauty, pathological in her manipulations of the people around her. Despite the huge 1950s eyebrows that could be seen on Joan, Audrey Hepburn, Kim Novak, and others during this period, and the weird heart shaped hairdo, Joan remains both a beauty and a really compelling and totally invested actress. This was after Joan did POSSESSED and proved she could both underplay and play full tilt. Here she plays a woman so deeply dishonest that she is unconvincing in every emotion - we don't even know if she believes any of this herself.

The real stand out performance of this film is Barry Sullivan as Joan's physically and emotionally scarred husband. He is completely believable in a roller coaster role. The prototype of the sexy damaged man.

The film itself is average, the script is soap opera predictable, and the biggest mystery (how he got scar) is never revealed, only hinted at. Despite Joan's title character and her entrance-making Jean Louis wardrobe, this really is an ensemble piece, and everyone does a good solid job in this Southern gothic potboiler. The "town and country" set of this film feels both ostentatiously grand and a little too cramped and small, and that is a good way of describing the whole thing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Joan is at her evil best in this movie.
Published 19 days ago by Aimee Hertog
1.0 out of 5 stars and I love Joan Crawford
I fell asleep and was jarred awake again when the kid screamed from a nightmare then fell asleep again... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Elissa Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars Joan Crawford is one of the greatest actresses of all time
Joan Crawford is one of the greatest actresses of all time! I could watch her shows over and over forever.
Published 26 days ago by Connie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase
Movie was very entertaining. Joan Crawford is my favorite "Golden Era" actress. The DVD was in excellent shape and arrived in a timely manner. Couldn't be happier.
Published 1 month ago by Gary Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie, crawford at her best
Published 1 month ago by janet martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Joan Crawford at her best being a -well you know
Joan Crawford at her best being a -well you know! I enjoyed the movie, and could not have imagined the ending.
Published 1 month ago by Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars and she insults people like no other
Joan Crawford but the B in the "B***ch. If you are a fan of Ms. Joan.she pulls out all of her acting tricks in this one. She cries, seduces..she's slaps.. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Phoenix 7
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed the movie. Thanks.
I enjoyed this movie tremendously. It's an old movie, however, my 16 year old daughter enjoyed it as well. So glad that you rent movies. I found out by accident,
Published 3 months ago by Frances Boles
5.0 out of 5 stars Great,
Great movie, a must see has to be one of Joan Crawford's beast movies that I've seen. Can't believe I've missed this one.
Published 3 months ago by Jason Duck
1.0 out of 5 stars Slap this Bee down.....
The movie is so melodramatic and overdone that younwant Yo reach through the screen and shake these people. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. J. Hubbard
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