Mommie Dearest is a 1981 American drama film directed by Frank Perry and starring Faye Dunaway and Diane Scarwid.

The film is based on the novel by Christina Crawford from 1978. Christina Crawford was the adopted daughter of actress Joan Crawford and in the book she describes her memories of her mother. Mommie Dearest did a lot of buzz because Christina her adoptive mother put down as an alcoholic who beat her children and maniacally possessed by discipline and cleanliness. Not everyone from Crawfords environment agreed with this image.

Mommie Dearest was a huge commercial success (it grossed 39 million dollars) but was cracked by the criticism. At the presentation of the Golden raspberries (razzies) for the worst films Mommie Dearest got as many as five "Awards", including worst actress (Faye Dunaway) and worst film of 1981. Later, the film was also a Razzie as the worst film of the Decade (1980-1989). Faye Dunaway who originally thought to get an Oscar for her acting performance got a wholehearted hate the movie. She refused there even longer to talk about it in interviews. Curiously enough, the film during the screening in the cinemas soon, the status of a comedy instead of a drama. Paramount would Later (in the Edition on VHS and dvd) call the film a cult classic .


[hide]*1 Story


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The famous Hollywood actress Joan Crawford is not only a passionate actress, but also almost maniacally in terms of order, discipline and cleanliness. She is every day at four in the morning to prepare for the shooting at the MGM studio. As her maid Helga thinks she has cleaned the House neatly in the meantime, she is by an angry Crawford almost dismissed because of another small detail not in order. The great actress has a relationship with lawyer Gregg Savitt. They are desperate for a baby, but her seven pregnancies during her marriage to actor Franchot Tone ended in miscarriages. Using Savitt adopts a baby, which she calls Christina Crawford and later a baby boy, Christopher. The children are raised in large luxury, but at the same time in large discipline. As Christina Gets a lot of presents on her birthday, may they keep, the rest had to give them away. Christina grows on and rebels against her adoptive mother. Joan humiliates the girl by her playing in a swimming contest and let the hair cut by her adoptive daughter as the child imitates her. In the meantime it with Crawford downhill. Her relationship with Gregg ends in heavy quarrels and Louis b. Mayer at MGM because they relieve her as an actress in any more money. With a hedge trimmer devastated Crawford in a hysterical reaction her rose garden. Later saves them Christina with a clothes hanger and throws the dresses of the girl across the room because her adoptive daughter clothes hangers of wire used, something Crawford hysterical of is. They then stores all the way through and destroys also the bathroom. Not long after that, Christina to boarding school, where they promptly gets caught in a compromising attitude with a boy. Right takes its adoptive mother Christina back again. If Crawford shortly afterwards in front of a reporter is lying about the reason why Christina had to leave, calls the latest the real reason and put so her mother watch as leugenaarster. As Christina asks why she is adopted, Crawford says that this was partly for the publicity. This calls Christina from her mother that she is ' not a fan ', on which Crawford tries to strangle her. The journalist and Crawford's Assistant get the two apart. A still angry Crawford sends Christina to Flintridge to the strict Secret Heart to learn discipline. Later marries Joan Crawford with Alfred Steele of Pepsi Cola and lives in a large luxury. If her husband dies she knows in the Board of the soft drink giant to continue through the other members threatening to revelations about Pepsi. The actress dies of cancer In 1977. To their great horror hear Christina and her adopted brother Christopher that they are disinherited. Christina, however, is determined to have the last word, she begins writing Mommie Dearest.

Division Of Roles[Edit]Edit

Actor Character
Faye Dunaway Joan Crawford
Diana Scarwid Christina Crawford
Mara Hobel Christina Crawford as a child
Steve Forrest Greg Savitt
Howard Da Silva Louis B. Mayer
Rutanya Alda Caroll Ann
Harry Goz Alfred Steele
Michael Edwards Ted Gelber
Jocelyn Brando Barbara Bennett
Priscilla Pointer Mrs Chadwick
Xander Berkeley Christopher Crawford
Carolyn Coates Mother Superior Flintridge Sacred Heart
Margaret Fairchild Mother-children's orphanage
Belita Moreno Belinda Rosenberg
Alice Nunn Helga



The book by Christina Crawford ' on which the film is based was a bestseller in 1978, there were four million bound copies sold (so not counting the paperback version). The book was made into a feature film and the screenwriters here and there according to Christina had to differ from reality to the public give a reason for some violent scenes. For example the scene where Joan Crawford her rose garden destroys, is explained because the actress is fired at MGM. According to Christina Crawford regularly destroyed parts of the House and garden for no apparent reason. Also to see in the film is that Crawford is working to scrub the floor manic. Christina claimed that Crawford never did, but left this to her. However, it is questionable whether all the stories of Christina about her stepmother are true. She wrote the book in revenge because they had been extracted from the testament of her mother and many consider Mommie Dearest acquaintances of Crawford as an exaggerated indictment of a misunderstood daughter. Crawford the other adopted children are not unanimous in the recognition of the book. So deny Cindy and Cathy, the ' Sisters ' by Christina that there was child abuse. Cindy and Cathy come not for in Mommie Dearest for and Christina claims that everything happened in the time that she and her ' brother ' at Crawford lived. Although Christopher initially supported her story, he came here later partly on back. Myrna Loy, also one of the best friends of Crawford acknowledged that the actress was very ambitious and alcoholic, but said that nothing was true of child abuse and hysterical tantrums. This was confirmed by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. that nothing in the book recognized from what he knew of Joan Crawford. Other acquaintances of Crawford again Christina, such as Helen Hayessupport, June AllysonBette Davis and Betty Hutton. According to the latest Christina was abused regularly by her mother. In the transformation of the book to the scenario was the truth even more compacted. So was the incident with the clothes hanger combined with the destruction of the bathroom and were a number of events where Christina is abused into a single event. Some characters from the film are trumped up, for example the lawyer Gregg Savitt and the personal assistant Carol Ann. the scene where Crawford himself access to the Board of Directors of Pepsi, does not occur in the book for the film and is completely made up. Crawford was also in it really not by Mayer fired at MGM. In reality she asked itself to dissolution of her contract. Although Crawford never thought that Mayer would let her go, but she was not fired him, so smart was the studio boss though. He would then surely have faced demands for compensation.


Anne Bancroft was initially approached for the role of Joan Crawford. But Bancroft looked from after they had read the scenario. Faye Dunaway did the necessary effort to get the role. They even did audition by at a party by the producers to appear with make-up and in clothes of Crawford. Ironically had Joan Crawford in the early 1970s Dunaway named as the only actress who had her playing enough status and allure. For the Director Franco Zeffirelli was a while favorite, until Christina there noticed that Zeffirelli Crawford wanted to drop as glamorous Hollywood martyr. He was replaced by Frank Perry


The film was shot in Paramount Studios and on location on the Alverno High School in Sierra Madre, California, which served as the boarding school of Christina. There were also recordings at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula and, in California, and Perino's Restaurant in Los Angeles. Faye Dunaway was not liked by the staff of the film. Her robe star later stated that work with Dunaway was easy, as long as you only threw a piece of raw meat to distract her inside. Dunaway itself forced her voice when she had to scream at the destruction of the rose garden. With the help of singer/actor Frank Sinatra voice slowly she got her going again.


The film was a huge success in the cinemas. The costs amounted to five million dollars, but there was already 19 million within in the US and later another 8.6 million from the video rental. Outside the US came another 6 million within. Later, when the dvd had appeared, there came another 5 million. The criticism was not so to speak. Critic Roger Ebert wondered who was so crazy to expose themselves to this film and Variety magazine was afraid that Faye Dunaway not only the scenes on at, but also the sets and her opponents. Although the film was released as a biographical film, a drama, the film was soon seen as an unintentional comedy. The criticisms were luring people to the cinema for the wrong reason. People came armed with wire kleerhangers and cleaning products and were shouting the lyrics of Dunaway out loud with it.Paramount played here on in and changed the advertising copy by putting the emphasis on the "new" cult status: "Meet the Biggest Mother of them all!" (Meet the mother of all mothers) became the new sales slogan.


Faye Dunaway received a lot of appreciation for her metamorphosis in the great Joan Crawford, she was even second in the category of Best Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. However, she was ignored for the Oscars and they got a great anger to her ' razzie ' at the 1981 election for the Worst Actress at the Golden Raspberry AwardsMommie Dearest razzienominaties, incidentally, got a record of nine and won five: worst movie, worst screenplay, Worst actor in a supporting role (Steve Forrest), worst supporting actress (Mara Hobel) and worst actress.


The following songs are in the movie told:

  • "Im Sitting On Top Of The World" (Lewis, Young & Henderson)
  • "Isn't It Romantic" (Rodgers & Hart)
  • "June In January" (Rainger & Robin)
  • "To Each His Own" (Livingston & Evans)
  • "Tangerine" (Mercer & Schertzinger)

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