Tom Gregory: WWJD?
“Joan not only gives a party, she goes to it!”
I love film--good, old-fashioned silver nitrate, restored Hollywood. Grainy, moody movies viewed best at night, while snuggled into a chair with a glass of wine. via The Huffington Post
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#1 Nov 29, 2007
Some of the comments here are just as great, if not more witty, than the original posting. Yes, "old" films are great, and thanks to censorship and the religious right oppressors, bad people had to end up badly in these films, or sacrifice somehow for their sins; and good people ended up with good things for them. So much of how life really was during those times is left out because of the censors. However, we do have some great stories and the inuendos are sometimes more enticing than if they had shown you everything.
A simple correction: RAIN, at the time of its release, was not a successful pivotal film in Joan's career. Joan was panned in the role and she herself stated that she was terrible in that movie. However, later reviews of the film indicate that Joan was actually very good. What was bad about that movie was the odd choice in casting. Everyone in that film was a STAGE actor, with very different acting styles than film actors, and it made Joan's performance seem odd in comparison. When I first saw the film I thought everyone else was terrible, forced performances, not bringing the characters to life- they seemed like they were "acting." Even the hypocritical minister had a bizarre rhythm to everything he said, while projecting a bit more than he needed for film. Joan was the only one in the film that seemed authentic.
Since: Mar 08
#2 Mar 10, 2008
I had heard that Walter Houston did not get along at all with Crawford in Rain. Actually, I like Crawford's "Rain" much better than the Rita Hayworth remake ("Miss Sadie Thompson").
Of all the Walter Houston roles, this one was his most wooden. Also, it was probably a characteristic of W Somerset Maugham to overbloat certain actions from his character creations.
In Rain, Houston uses his religious and political influence to drive Crawford into a corner. Crawford is left with no choice than to seek a real religious experience. This is denied her by Houston, who starts out to mentor the poor girl and for the most part she accepts that he is sincere- Only to be betrayed by him when he allows himself to be overcome with momentary, what would the word be, certainly not lust, but a kind of madness, to which he repents and kills himself.
First off, I find the Houston character beyond my belief, I don't believe he is actually any kind of spiritual person, just a religious and political reprobate who uses religion like soldiers use machine guns and to much the same result.
I do not know if that was the way Maugham wrote it, or if Maugham's writing was ripped to bits by numerous Hollywood rewrites. Myself, I do not believe Houston, I do not believe any of his platitudes, and I also do not believe that ANY man would acquire this madness I speak of - For Joan Crawford or any character she portrays.
However, if Rain is considered as Joan pretending to be someone she is not in the first place, and that is how I accept her in the character, then, I believe HER role as Sadie: However, Houston's subsequent insane actions still make no sense.
In the later "Ms Sadie Thompson" this is reversed, I wholly believe that the character portrayed by Rita Hayworth would and could cause a man of the cloth to be overcome with madness, even temporary (In both films this is suggested by the "Alfred Davidson" character not being able to live up to that he had tried to do to Sadie Thompson) and commit suicide.- I clearly do NOT see any man doing that over Joan Crawford or the Sadie played by Joan. Over Rita, yes.
On the other hand, in The Women, I wholly am compelled to believe that Crawford would connive in the way she did to steal Norma Shearer's husband- And unfortunately this is the public and private image of Joan Crawford that became popular.
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