Joan Crawford- the little strumpet that could! By the 1950’s the industry had changed a bit and Joan was out in the cold without a worshipful studio boss to sleep with and actors who emote were showing up!? Here she is in her academy award nominated set chewing frenzy!
Joan is accomplished, wealthy and writes for the stage! Like Edith Wharton and Neil Simon in a horrible lab experiment!
Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s count the scenes where Joan positions herself to look up at Cheekbones to stretch her crepey/creepy neck to best aging advantage! Who’s Cheekbones? -why Cheekbones Palance! He’s just finished a 16 city tour of Flowers for Algernon the musical and is ready to take broadway by storm! He’s the lead in her new super-soaper-ama!
He’s brooding, pensive and a wee bit wooden. Not that the script is helping- it’s like Joan writes for the Dove candy heart wrappers. She’s unmoved by his craft- her words of love coming from him are like packing peanuts without salt. All the content, but no flavor. *Obviously she never saw that Ripley Believe it or Not episode where he acts out Rasputin’s death- that was drama, llama!
She gets his bony ass fired!! Job well done- she gets Rob Lowe- Hollywood’s great closer to step in and boom- box office gold. Now she’s headed for San Diego- her real home for some R&R and virgin gnu placenta skin rejuvenation treatments. Anything to keep time at bay!
Oh, who’s that looking like a pile of chicken wings in a grey flannel suit? It’s Palance! What is he doing on this random train to San Diego? Oh Kismet fiesta, indeed!
She’s coy- but he woo’d her with stories of his blue-collar youth
and years of working in gay porn.
Ok, he was poor, that’s about it. They play poker and he shows her that money (hers) means nothing to him! Folks this train trip is longer than a Kardashian marriage. Many costumes showed only from the collar bones up. I’m not sure Joan wasn’t wearing the bottom half of a vaudeville horse costume during most of these scenes.
Oh, Cheekbones- let me show you MY Sandiego! They do Chinatown, a bridge or two, Comic-Con of course, all the tourist trappings. Her friends are charmed!
But by the end of the week- he tells her that their worlds don’t mesh and puts on a show of trying to sneak out of town- yeah right?! Those cheekbones are made to dig gold!
She begs him to stay- their worlds aren’t so different! He swallows his pride and returns to her. As they grow closer she shares her life with him- including her creepy home office that records everything she says to use in her awful plays- I’m thinking Joan has one of these at home too! Kids- this is foreshadowing.
They marry! He looks for work in the area- possibly as a floor walker at comic-con. His friends accept him as her jagged future.
They do all the society parties together and hold the phone- who is this little harlot on a half-shell? It’s Irene! The girl he left behind. I love me some Gloria Grahame- no one was born to say ‘Toots’ like Ado Annie!
Cheeks tries to act all super casual- not noticing that his wife is quite the gamey old hen next to his last chick. But they’re in love, right? so much passion under all that tulle- and that’s just him!
He’s trying desperately to milk this cash cow and needs no distractions! He’d better get IRENE in check once he’s put the old lady down for the night.
Now, he will slip into even more clothes and hit the street! Off to the sweet unspoiled innocence of that hardly opened bud that is Irene!
Irene will not allow our poor honest Cheeks to live in kept man peace- she has designs on him and his wife’s money.
Something has to break- but is he really a bad guy or is Irene playing him like the xylophone he resembles when he’s in a swimsuit??
Myra/Joan is totally trusting- she KNOWS love- cuz she writes, write? I mean So what if Jackie Collins was married like 820 times……Well, nevermind. It’s time to redraft her super will and her lawyer/2 dimensional prop has a notion that $10,000 a year until he remarries is enough for even the most impressively sculpted lothario. No, Joan does not believe in limiting her love or her prospective widowers ability to grieve in the Riviera.
Sounds like a great plan, Joan.
Life goes on, Myra searches for emu blood for her skin treatments and they host way too many parties for the charity that she plans to leave most of her father’s money to. The guest list is not very exclusive, cough, cough.
Irene- subtly-get some! Stop showing up for every party and flaunting your natural eyebrows! It’s rude!
Irene and Cheeks dally in the office- because, it’s full of erotic etchings and nothing fires the libido like making out on top of Myra’s bank statements. Oh, but Cheeks forgets about the Dictaphone! OOH! It’s voice activated and Irene is Cheeks activated! Various ideas for creating a Crawford corpse are bandied about. Luckily no one listens to themselves talk every night before bedtime.
That would be bad!
Lets pause here and ask ourselves what is under this robe? Scuba suit? majorette costume? that swimsuit Connery wore in Dr No? Lets thank the team that made all this possible, shall we?
Myra/Joan is not going to take this killer husband crap lying down! Oh, no Ma’am! In a plot worthy of…..a better film, Myra turns the tables on them! She will get them both to meet up at Irene’s bordello bungalow and leave compromising notes for each and make it look like a murder suicide and arise like a phoenix with false eyelashes!
Over a pre-theatre dinner, Joan/Myra tries to find a way to delay their departure while she crams notes in their gloves. She’s wearing a fab dress here- I’d like to say this next picture isn’t a publicity photo and that Myra/Joan has this stand in a corner of the den….. I mean, I know I have a posing perch for Bruder and I. Captain Morgan anyone?
Joan/Myra claims to be upset that both she and Irene are both wearing white and she’ll go change before the house is struck by righteous lightning. She cunningly rubs some Max Factor on her c’ankle so she can swan dive down the stairs and not go out with them.
Mercy- what a sexy fall that must have been! Concerned friends gather to mourn-
No- they can’t leave her here alone! all of her spangles will go to waste! She’s far too noble to make them all suffer- go, go you crazy kids!
Ok, Myra/Joan bustles the Cheesers out of the house- leaving her alone with her solicitious husband- after planting a pair of ‘kiss,kiss meet me in your garage and we’ll make a dead wife’ notes in Irene and Cheek’s fannypacks. He worries about her- offering her a nice unlabelled aspirin and a neck massage. She feints sleep to get him to leave.
She throws on a subtle floor length pelt, a scarf like Irenes and beats feet thru San Diego where the shadows elongate her torso as God intended. She races to Irenes bungalow and tries to catch her alone- she’ll shoot her and frame Cheeks! She test fires. To see how she looks in an action shot.
But Cheeks has shown up for some of his and Irene’s kinky weirdness! Poor people are gross!
Ok, she’ll shoot Cheeks and frame Irene! But she can’t do it! She can’t go against her own moral code even to save herself! Dumb ass. She runs out into the street- but Cheeks thinks she’s Irene running from him- he follows her!
They race thru SanDiego- driving rather recklessly when he realizes it’s Myra! Now he’s got a plan!
You know what? I can’t ruin this for all of you- it’s too good. You’ll thank me later! Oral reports are due on 10/1/2018.
photo credits: little me