The Joan Crawford Collection features classics from the star whose career spanned more than 40 years. "I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door." -... more » Joan Crawford« less
"Finally, Joan's best performance on DVD - Possessed (1947). And what a plus to see Humoresque and The Damned Don't Cry included. But with Mildred Pierce (which we all own already) and The Women currently out on DVD, why not finish out Joan's collection with the films she did in her five years at Warners; ie, Flamingo Road (in which she double bitch slaps Sidney Greenstreet to hilarious effect), Goodbye, My Fancy (Joan as a congresswoman - we need her more than ever!), and This Woman Is Dangerous (which is not nearly as bad as you have been led to believe). I guess we wait. And wait for Harriet Craig (Columbia) and Daisy Kenyon (20th Century Fox) as well."
Joan. Grown Up, Gritty, and Great.
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection is not only some of Joan Crawford's best work, these are some of the best women's films from the period where women were really appreciated in film. It was not just the strong stars, it was the stories and casting. Yes, the style was style heavy-handed by today's standards, but Joan Crawford took acting risks all the way. These movies were so revolutionary they seem trite today, but any film buff recognizes techniques that are still underused, and appreciate them. But you don't have to be a technician to appreciate these fims. THE WOMEN was a classic stage script lifted almost verbatim on to the screen, and it works in every respect. It is the comedy of this set. The flawless casting - Joan as the gorgeous and man-eating shop girl who can take in on the chin - was still an early exercise in trying "star-studded" casting. It is a tongue-in-cheek take on a woman's world... and the stereotypes of a woman's world. The ebb and flow between these two is what is timelessly witty. When Mary (Norma Shearer)'s mother compares a woman alone in bed to a swastica, it tells us exactly where we are politically and socially. This was/is a star turn by Joan, and her brass and humor are in full swing.
MILDRED PIERCE is Joan's classic rags-to-riches gone noir-ish. Susie Homemaker becomes Betty Crocker. It has the timeless story line, and Ann Blythe (ironically later a spokeswoman for Hostess cupcakes in her later life) as the daughter you really want to smack silly. It also has some really early addressing of the issues of working women and divorce that were so timely in the post-war years. The business friendship portrayed with Eve Arden, and the ambivalent attraction to Jack Carson give this script some really interesting levels.
My favorite of the set has become THE DAMNED DON'T CRY. It has some basic similarities to Mildred Pierce, rags to riches, but that's about it. Very dark, somewhat referential to the real life Bugsy Seigel story, it is a woman's gang-land tale. It may also have been influenced by Hitchcock, or vice versa, in the obsessive re-creation of a woman, not once, but twice. Once by herself, once in the hands of someone awful. The blonde mobster was very unusual casting for his day, and he does a superb job. He is somehow attractive while being repulsive.
HUMORESQUE is a lovely film about music in which Joan Crawford does what her character in the film does not want to do... she plays "second fiddle" to a fiddle. The musical score is breathtaking, and you will want to watch the commentary and additional information on the making of the film, and the primacy of music. Joan was the only really traditional casting choice, others being cast against type (and the always atrocious acting of brilliant pianist Oscar Levant). Older woman, younger man, and a very interesting study of a depressive personality. I think role this would have been intellectually challenging for a woman known to be so self directed, deft, and sure of herself.
Which leads neatly into POSSESSED. Like Olivia DeHaviland's THE SNAKE PIT, this is a study of mental illness, but not nearly so clinical. The cinematography strongly influenced by German impressionist filmmakers, and all aspects used to delineate psychological state of mind, we see why she was willing to break all the diva rules, appear with no makeup, and completely break down the image she had. Of course, with what we know about her personal life, she had her own demons, and that could have added to her interest in this kind of role. This film is art.
In spite of the glamour, the beauty, she was not only an actress, she was an artist, and this box set shows that off. It is worth noting that ALL of her roles contained a tremendous amount of vulnerability. We forget that, because in most of her films she triumphs... but we only care because we could identify with that softness that she allowed us into early on. I got this set with the Bette Davis set of Warner Bros. films from the same era. If these are any indication, the Bros. were much better to Joan. The really interesting comparison is in the commentaries. Many directors and technicians worked with both of these greats, and there are wonderful comparison/contrasting stories of them as professionals and women. There are also shared musical scoring between some films, and even one director has the same dialogue and direction copied between these stars in different films.
This is a great set worthy of a great star.... oh, and a Joan recommendation. RAIN. One of her early films, a great Somerset Maugham script. It set the archetype for her as an actress."
Joan's legacy lives on forever
JGC | 09/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This gift for Joan's fans is her Shining-Best of the Best! Joan, "Do you know what I would put on my tombstone? 'I care what my fans think of me -now and forever.'"
If you have never seen a Joan Crawford movie then I certainly recommend getting this set because you will be a fan once you see how versatile and how hard Joan always worked. My favorite film from this collection is "Mildred Pierce." And coming in at a close second is "Possessed." Keep Joan alive on the small screen and in your heart with these classic movies from the Golden Age!
Here's the basic stats for each movie:
The Women (September 1, 1939) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 133 mins. Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Crystal Allen) Brief Synopsis: A happily married woman lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband strays. Special Features on this disc: 2 30's Shorts: "From The Ends of the Earth" & "Hollywood: Style Center of the World" Rare B&W Fashion Show Scene! Scoring Session & Music Cues Original Trailer
Mildred Pearce (September 24, 1945) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 109 mins Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Mildred Pierce) Brief Synopsis: A woman turns herself into a business tycoon to win her selfish daughter a place in society. Special Features on this disc: Joan Crawford: Ultimate Movie Star Cast & Crew Info "Mildred Pierce" Original Trailer "Humoresque" Original Trailer "Flamingo Road" Original Trailer "The Damned Don't Cry" Original Trailer "Goodbye My Fancy" Original Trailer "This Woman Is Dangerous" Original Trailer
Humoresque (December 25, 1946) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 123 mins Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Helen Wright) Brief Synopsis: A classical musician from the slums is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy neurotic. Special Features on this disc: The Music of Humoresque Featurette Theatrial Trailer
Possessed (July 26, 1947) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 108 mins Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Louise Howell) Brief Synopsis: A married woman's passion for a former love drives her mad. Special Features on this disc: Original Featurette: Possessed Interivew with film historian Drew Casper Theatrical Trailer
The Damned Don't Cry (April 7, 1950) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 102 mins Color/BW: Black and White (Joan Played: Ethel Whitehead, also known as Lorna Hansen Forbes) Brief Synopsis: The murder of gangster Nick Prenta touches off an investigation of mysterious socialite Lorna Hansen Forbes, who seems to have no past, and has now disappeared. In flashback, we see the woman's anonymous roots; her poor working-class marriage, which ends in tragedy and her determination to find "better things." Soon finding that sex appeal is her only salable commodity, she climbs from man to man toward the center of a nationwide crime syndicate...a very perilous position. Special Features on this disc: Director's Commentary The Joan Crawford Formula - new featurette Original Trailer
Why was Miss Crawford such a fascinating and unconventional star...?
Miss Crawford was a first-rate star, who worked her a-s-s off to get to where she was! And, do you know what she did once she got there? She worked 10 times harder...! Joan had the longest and most impressive film career of any star during Tinseltown's famed Golden Age of Cinema! Joan's career lasted 5 decades! And her career proved to be more loyal to her than any lover or husband! Miss Crawford was always known for her fashion-sense, classical beauty and the ability to constantly re-invent herself (half a century before the Material Girl was a household name!)
Joan Crawford started her career in 1925 as a flapper, playing in bit parts as a contract-player for the most glorious studio in town, MGM. She was nothing more than a glorified prop, unbilled in her first film, "Lady of the Night." Soon, Joan was promoted to leading-lady, appearing in such critically-acclaimed pictures as, Harry Langdon's Tramp Tramp Tramp, and Lon Chaney's The Unknown. But it wasn't until Joan accepted the role of Diana Medford, in Our Dancing Daughters that she became a bona fide star! By the end of the decade Joan had more than 20 pictures under her belt!
In the 30's when many silent stars were bowing out gracefully, Joan was back with a vengeance! This time Joan was the little shop girl that Depression-Era American ladies (and maybe even some boys, too) could really identify with. Miss Crawford could be seen acting in such famed movies as, "Letty Lynton," Rain, Grand Hotel , and one of my personal favorites, Forsaking All Others . Some of the 25 classics that Joan also made during the 30's include: Dancing Lady, Laughing Sinners, Dance, Fools, Dance, Chained, "No More Ladies," The Gorgeous Hussy, Love on the Run (1936), The Bride Wore Red, Mannequin (1938) and of course one of her most popular ever, The Women !
"No more g*ddamn shop girls," Joan was once quoted as saying to MGM chief-honcho, Louis B. Mayer. In the 40's Joan yet again came back in another one of her many incarnations, this time as the society matron in such movies as, When Ladies Meet (1941), Reunion in France and Above Suspicion. Miss Crawford donated her entire salary from They All Kissed the Bride to charity and then she turned around and fired her agent when he didn't do the same! After 18 years of being a member of the MGM family, Miss Crawford took a huge gamble and decided to branch out, this time working for the actor's studio, Warners. Joan's first film for Warners, was her most famous movie, and it garnered her the Oscar for Best Actress; playing the title role in her defining-film, Mildred Pierce . Joan also made a slew other first-rate pictures during this period, such as: Humoresque and "Daisy Kenyon." Moving to Warners really paid off for Miss Crawford, because she also received her second Academy Award nomination for Possessed, playing the harried Louise Howell! Of course, Miss Crawford had all the time in the world to donate to the war-effort. Joan was often seen at the Hollywood Canteen entertaining our boys; ...how many of today's movie stars get off their pedestals to do this?
The 50's marked a very pivotal time in Joan's illustrious career. Because in the next chapter of her picture resume, she played the strong female leading-lady in many wonderful dramatic pictures. Such as, Harriet Craig, Queen Bee, "Female on the Beach," The Damned Don't Cry, "Goodbye My Fancy," The Story of Esther Costello and Autumn Leaves. Miss Crawford also received her third Academy Award nomination playing Myra Hudson in RKO's Sudden Fear. And never one to be typecast, Joan made a big splash in Johnny Guitar, playing a tough saloon owner in the wild-west! Also beginning in the 50's, Joan took up the campaign as official spokeswoman for Pepsi-Cola; a coveted role that she enjoyed for more than 18 years!
In the 60's Miss Crawford didn't slow down for a second! Nope! She came out swinging. Joan made the whole country ask in droves, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in one of her most well-known pictures ever. Joan played Blanche Hudson, opposite another very talented actress, Ms. Bette Davis, in this gorgeous Warners film! It was also around this time, that Miss Crawford penned her autobiography, A Portrait of Joan Crawford. Throughout all the 60's Miss Crawford was known as the "Scream Queen." She stared in such famous thrillers as, Strait-Jacket, Della, I Saw What You Did and Berserk!
Even in semi-retirement, Miss Crawford still always kept busy during the 1970's. This time she was the Hollywood Legend, and everyone knew it! When the movie studios weren't knocking on her door, she switched to television. In one of her last television appearances, Miss Crawford played the part of Joan Fairchild in ABC's "The Sixth Sense: Dear Joan: We're Going to Scare You to Death." She also wrote her second book, the best-selling My Way of Life. And, Joan always found the time for some of her favorite charities; donating her talent and time to The Muscular Dystrophy Association and The American Cancer Society. Of course, Joan also made time to speak to her good friend and journalist Roy Newquist. Mr. Newquist was actually the only journalist that Miss Crawford chose to speak to during the late 70's, and his thoughtful (and unprecedented) interviews with Joan were published in the 1980 book, Conversations with Joan Crawford.
Miss Crawford died a second time when the vast majority of the public threw her away and forgot about all of her classic pictures. Over the 30 years since Miss Crawford's untimely death there has been so much garbage and lies printed about her; she has been vilified as a violent kook. The real Joan was a self-made lady who worked for everything she got. Joan just wanted to keep her head above water in a man's world where women didn't have a voice or a choice. Miss Crawford never for a second forgot where she came from or who she was, and she never for a moment let her beloved fans down. All Joan wanted was for someone to give her a chance and believe in her; and once they showed her a little bit of courtesy they had a friend for life in Miss Crawford. I am so happy that this set is coming out because maybe now the public can see the real Joan Crawford and remember her as she truly was!
Calling All Crawford Fans! Where's Volume 2 ?
L. Davis | Dallas via New Orleans | 10/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While the release of The Joan Crawford Collection was an eagerly anticipated event in mid 2005 along with the Bette Davis Collection issued at the same time, nearly a year and a half has passed.Bette now has volume 2 & all we've seen on the Crawford front from Warners is Dancing Lady in the Gable boxset.Am I the only Crawford fan who has noticed this slight?Am I the only one who wants more?I don't have to tell you all the titles,but for instance how about a boxset with Flamingo Road,A Woman's Face,Susan and God,This Woman is Dangerous& Paid. Throw in some of her silents as extras(Like the Garbo set),follow up with a Gable/Crawford set(at least 7 more films)&let's get the show on the road!"
Could've been better!!
C. Clark | SF Bay Area, CA | 11/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong because i'm really glad they released a boxed set of joan crawford films, but i don't get why they include 2 films that were already on dvd with the set. those were the women and mildred pierce. sudden fear and flamingo road would've been excellent choices instead. i hope one day they release a 2nd boxed set with her movies from the 30's. movies like strange cargo, possesed(1931), dancing lady, sadie mckee, etc."