Collector's Edition, Special Collector's Edition
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Outrageous and controversial, this is the story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) as she struggles for her career and battles the inner demons of her private life. This torment was manifested in her relationships with her adopted children, Christina (Diana Scarwid) and Christopher (Xander Berkeley). The public Crawford was a strong-willed, glamorous object of admiration, but Mommie Dearest reveals the private Crawford, the woman desperate to be a mother, adopting her children when she was single and trying to survive in a devastating industry that swallows careers thoughtlessly. The rage, the debilitating strain, and the terrifying descent into alcoholism and child abuse are graphically - and unforgettably depicted in this film, based upon Christina Crawford's best-selling book.
In this special-edition of Mommie Dearest, John Waters does this cult-classic justice by providing a memorable audio commentary mixing industry insight with hilarity. "I don't think this is a campy movie. I dont think it's so bad it's good. I think it's so good it's perfect," he states. The film, poorly received (dare we say mis-received?) by the critics upon its 1981 release, and considered by many to be the end of Faye Dunaway's career, lives on for a reason; along with Christina Crawfords reveal-all celebrity memoir it created an all new genre. Who can say they weren't riveted by this glamor-horror movie? The three featurettes feature insightful interviews with Frank Yablan, the producer who wisely purchased the film rights and cast Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, who portrayed the grown up Christina, and Rutanya Alda, who played the devoted maid. These people and more provide insight into their personal connection to their roles and Faye Dunaway's undeniably centrifugal performance. Unfortunately, director Frank Perry, who died in 1995, and Faye Dunaway (who probably rues the day she agreed to do this film) do not contribute to the bonus features. As John Waters states in his audio commentary during the notorious wire-hanger scene: "If you dont like this scene you should never watch movies." Indeed. --Wendy Harris
- Commentary by filmmaker John Waters
- Three featurettes: "The Revival of Joan" (the biography and its adaptation to screen), "Life with Joan" (the making of the film with exclusive behind-the-scenes stories) and "Joan Lives On" (the film's release and cult following)
- Photo gallery
- Original theatrical trailer
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Faye Dunaway seems to channel Joan's spirit in a riveting performance. I remember reading that some very strange occurences were happening on the set while this was being filmed; wouldn't be a bit surprised if Joan came back to haunt the place. Who could blame her?
No matter what you think of Hollywood brats or Joan Crawford, this movie is worth watching for the incredible performances and bizarre story. Many lessons to be learned here.
He praises the director and made me appreciate the photography, clothes, scenery and I saw how this movie fits into the "woman's picture" genre.
The film is a timeless classic, it nails the look of 40ish~50ish Nostalgic Hollywood scene dead on. The cinematography is magnificent, as well as the production design. It's really too bad that the movie is unpopular with mainstream movie audiences. However, it is noted on the DVD extra-materials to be a very popular cult following in the gay community, although I see nothing in the film that remotely ties this to being gay, perhaps one exception that in the supplemental extras there are clips from the original film "Johnny Guitar", so Joan looks to be a little on the "BUTCH" side of things. Faye Dunaway is not My favorite actress, but this movie is Hers, She owns it flat out. It has made Me wanting to take a closer look at Her other films. Diana Scarwid is amazing as Christina Crawford, not to mention the child actress that portrays Young Christina. Diana also starred in the 1983 film Psycho III, which shows She is a very versatile actress.
"No more wire hangers", just thinking about that scene brings chills down the spine. Warning, this film depicts extreme child abuse, and You will find Yourself getting very angry at the Mother, and Crying for the Daughter. I remember seeing this film with My mother when it first came out in the theaters. I couldn't help but identify with the Christina character, Yes, there are mothers just like Joan!
The extra-material supplements are actually quite informative, unfortunately, Faye Dunaway is no where to be seen or heard in any of the featured interviews. For some reason, She has disowned the film.