Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
Never let a good story get in the way of the truth.
I am sure someone has said this in the past but I have no person to attach to this quote. But this is especially true in regard to the latest Ryan Murphy limited run TV show, Feud.
It stars Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon as Hollywood legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis who battled each other for over 30 years.
Both women have won Oscars, both women had ups and downs during their careers. Both women were accused of child abuse by their adult children, although no one will ever top the ‘No Wire Hangers’ tantrum.
Both were gifted actresses known to be temperamental. Bette took the studios to court while Joan hung out in her trailer until a scene was re-written to her liking.
These are the divas that today’s divas look up to and wonder if they can ever be matched.
Yes, these women were difficult. But their talent made them worth it.
Joan Crawford earned three Oscar nominations, winning one for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945) about a woman who works hard as a waitress, and later as a restaurant owner, to giver her daughter everything. But there are complications. Her daughter resents the loss of their past life and hate the restaurant that supports them.
It is a role that took guts and determination. Director Michael Curtiz didn’t want her in the role until a screen test proved to him that Crawford was the one for the job. Her hard work slowly changed his mind despite their disagreements. This is one of those movies that is a must see for classic movie fan.
That is also true for Dark Victory (1939) starring Bette Davis. Starring as a socialite who only wants to have fun, Bette must face the fact that she has a tumor on the brain and that her life will be shorter than expected. So what does the girl do? She falls in love with her doctor, flirts with the stable man (Humphrey Bogart), and finds a way to make her last days the best.
It is a thrilling brave performance that is only matched by her performance in All About Eve (1950) in which Davis is an older actress holding on to her place in the world while a young ingenue becomes her assistant and works to take her place. It is a marvelous film in which Davis is fearful and happy and bitter and not afraid to take it to the limit.
Better Davis was nominated for ten (10) Oscars, winning two (2). The most important thing about Davis is that she never thought acting was to be small, everything on the screen had to be bigger than life. Maybe Crawford felt the same way although she always wanted to be glamorous and felt that is what her fans expected.
Before I watch the next episode of Feud, I plan on watching some of these older classics to remind me why these two women are so fierce, ferocious, and fabulous.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.