Bette Davis vs Joan Crawford

Nov 10, 2007 Full story: BellaOnline 9

“You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”

Bette Davis on Joan Crawford: Her eyebrows are like "African caterpillars," and her best performance was "Crawford being Crawford." Joan Crawford on Bette Davis: "She's phony, but I guess the public really ... via BellaOnline

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SWSimpson

Los Angeles, CA

#1 Nov 29, 2007
Bette later said that Joan had a terrible childhood and she was a self-made woman. All the success Joan had, she worked hard for and earned it, and Bette said she would never take that away from Joan- never. WOW, Bette Davis actually complimented Joan Crawford? Yes. I saw the video interview of Bette Davis on a certain website that has the word "tube" in it, and its there for "you" to see....
XweAponX

San Diego, CA

#2 Mar 9, 2008
In her last book "This 'n' That" (1987 Putnam and Sons) Davis states:

"Until we were cast... in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane I knew her only slightly" (Page 133)

Between Davis and Crawford, Miss Davis always was a consummate professional. Miss Davis has no bad thing to say about Crawford in the book at all, and only expresses mild amusement at Crawford's antics regarding the 1962 lobbying of the actors who were then in plays in NYC to prevent Davis from winning the Oscar for "WHTBJ" - An Act of Sabotaged not only to the film, but to Crawford's own percentage of the take for the film, as she along with Davis received a part of the overall film profits. Maybe Crawford did not care about this, being married to Pepsi-Cola at that time.

Crawford was an actress of limited and declining function- As the films of her last couple of decades show, and her ignominious last Movie Role in the horrid film 'Trog'(Which I saw with my father in 1970)- I have heard a few people suggest that the film was below Crawford's abilities, but that is arguable. Also I have not seen Davis's last film role- 1989's "Wicked Stepmother"- So I can't compare Crawford and Davis' last film roles here.

I loved Crawford in those early films where her makeup comes off or she does not wear gobs if it: Grand Hotel for example... And there was a film she did with Clark Gable, where they are on an island and her makeup is wiped off, she looks rather nice, and she was good in that one. She was good with the tough broad roles, and she was good in Mildred Piece, except to say that if I were Jack Carson I would have given up on Mildred Pierce right away.

Where Crawford always tried to play the glamorous high maintenance type, Davis could play those roles and then turn around and play Charlotte Vale and Mildred Rogers (And I will not compare Davis and Crawford's "Mildred" roles either).

I did not know until recently that the whole idea of a feud, especially an ongoing feud between Crawford and Davis either never existed or was a publicity attempt by Crawford like the one she created for "The Women" between her and Norma Shearer (Another actress that had about a thousand times more class than Crawford).

It seems natural, in people's minds, to always compare Miss Davis with Joan Crawford, but to anyone who is a fan of Miss Davis and has seen many of each actress' films - I have come to the same conclusion that most people come to after such a consideration- That Miss Davis was probably one of the best actresses to ever grace the screen and for Crawford to even try to bring herself to the same level as Miss D by creating feuds is ludicrous.

Crawford might have attracted positive attention to herself in "The Women" but this backfired on her in all of her attempts to do it with Miss D- Which Crawford started on the first day working on the Warner Lot and asked specifically for a dressing room right next door to Miss Davis.
pnx

Turner, ME

#3 Jan 14, 2009
Wow. Interesting how you practically deify Davis and completely villify Crawford. Your contempt for Crawford is quite venomous, as though she had personally maligned you in some way. Hmmm....Are you sure someone didn't beat YOU with a wire hanger?
XweAponX wrote:
In her last book "This 'n' That" (1987 Putnam and Sons) Davis states:
"Until we were cast... in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane I knew her only slightly" (Page 133)
Between Davis and Crawford, Miss Davis always was a consummate professional. Miss Davis has no bad thing to say about Crawford in the book at all, and only expresses mild amusement at Crawford's antics regarding the 1962 lobbying of the actors who were then in plays in NYC to prevent Davis from winning the Oscar for "WHTBJ" - An Act of Sabotaged not only to the film, but to Crawford's own percentage of the take for the film, as she along with Davis received a part of the overall film profits. Maybe Crawford did not care about this, being married to Pepsi-Cola at that time.
Crawford was an actress of limited and declining function- As the films of her last couple of decades show, and her ignominious last Movie Role in the horrid film 'Trog'(Which I saw with my father in 1970)- I have heard a few people suggest that the film was below Crawford's abilities, but that is arguable. Also I have not seen Davis's last film role- 1989's "Wicked Stepmother"- So I can't compare Crawford and Davis' last film roles here.
I loved Crawford in those early films where her makeup comes off or she does not wear gobs if it: Grand Hotel for example... And there was a film she did with Clark Gable, where they are on an island and her makeup is wiped off, she looks rather nice, and she was good in that one. She was good with the tough broad roles, and she was good in Mildred Piece, except to say that if I were Jack Carson I would have given up on Mildred Pierce right away.
Where Crawford always tried to play the glamorous high maintenance type, Davis could play those roles and then turn around and play Charlotte Vale and Mildred Rogers (And I will not compare Davis and Crawford's "Mildred" roles either).
I did not know until recently that the whole idea of a feud, especially an ongoing feud between Crawford and Davis either never existed or was a publicity attempt by Crawford like the one she created for "The Women" between her and Norma Shearer (Another actress that had about a thousand times more class than Crawford).
It seems natural, in people's minds, to always compare Miss Davis with Joan Crawford, but to anyone who is a fan of Miss Davis and has seen many of each actress' films - I have come to the same conclusion that most people come to after such a consideration- That Miss Davis was probably one of the best actresses to ever grace the screen and for Crawford to even try to bring herself to the same level as Miss D by creating feuds is ludicrous.
Crawford might have attracted positive attention to herself in "The Women" but this backfired on her in all of her attempts to do it with Miss D- Which Crawford started on the first day working on the Warner Lot and asked specifically for a dressing room right next door to Miss Davis.
the feud

San Francisco, CA

#4 Jul 5, 2009
it is fun to read the catty comments but comparing the two actresses is like comparing apples and oranges. Joan was a GREAT star who was immensely photogenic and who at times could be a great actress. Bette was a great actress who could convince you through her talent she was beautiful, but was not. Joan rarely gave a bad performance whereas Bette could be god awful. She could be god awful in a fun way or an unwatcheable way. Joan's worst performance were never worse than boring. Bette could inspire you by some of her performances but Joan could make you care like no other about ordinary people. Bette would not have been good in Mildred Pierce. Bette could not do the 'EVERY WOMAN' experience justice. Joan could elevate the 'every woman' experience.
As people....well, Bette is a huge disappointment. A rather nasty bitter woman...but she did great things for the War effort. But a disappointment BECAUSE she could be such and inspiration to watch. Joan, well, probably a bad mother but a good person in so many other ways. In terms of her working relationships and how she treated her fans...and I would say a more sympathetic woman.
If I HAD to choose my fav. it would be Bette because I like the inspired feeling she gives me during her greatest roles. But I don't HAVE to choose do I!!!
tiffany

Gilbert, AZ

#5 Jun 27, 2010
Bette and Joan may have had differences because they had several things in common. both are born under the sign of aries. both had four husbands, one of the died, both had adopted children and both had children write books about them.

At least Barbra Davis had the courtesy to write the book while her mother was still alive. She didn't snake around and wait until her mama took the dirt nap.

I guess, Bette and Joan were the Original Jen and Angelina ( franchot tone was the their "brad pitt).

I really couldn't choose between them, both actress are incredible masters of their craft. excellent role models and good people ( i think) Only if i had to... Team Joan

Since: Mar 08

San Diego, CA

#6 Dec 17, 2010
Oh, well I never said I disliked Joan, but that her attempts to create some kind of competitive atmosphere between herself and Miss D was kind of silly. Joan Crawford, and I do think she was a good actress, simply was not as good as Bette Davis - Davis having been crowned "Queen of Hollywood" not once but twice in a row. Also, the whole story about Crawface ruining Davis' chances at that third Oscar, is verifiable not only in Miss D's own book, but several TCM interviewees have told that same story, and some of those good fiends with Crawfish. Just because I use those name does not make mean I dislike Crawford either, I liked her in some ways and I disliked her in others, and if her adopted daughter is to be believed, Joan Never should have adopted, ever. And for some reason, I believe Christine's account of a malfunctioning Crawford household.

Anyone only has to watch the decade of Great films from 1930 to 1940, Davis plays several over the top roles and shoves her performances down your throat, whereas Crawford, while being in a few good films, the best ones "Rain" and "The Women" - just kind of floated through that decade. Now she came of age in Mildred Pierce, which was VERY good, but after that film she just kind of slid into mediocrity. Her "western" Jonny Guitar, well she could have HAD that film, but let Mercedes Cambridge totally steal it from her - Cambridge had NO problem filming on Location, whereas most of Crawford's scenes are ALL studio shoots, even the "outside" scenes.

I liked Joan, I actually feel for her, and I saw her once being interviewed, and she was totally without Make-up and looked good, this was when she was older, and I LIKED that person, she just looked tired, and I felt a kind of compassion for her at that point. If I had known her, I am sure I would have been friends with her, but Davis, I would be afraid to even approach. But Crawford appeared to be approachable and from what I understand used to be very approachable in the late 20's and early 30's - And she looked the best in the very early 30's - I liked her hair when it was more straight, and she used to be tan more in the 30's - Later she always appeared to be sheet-white in those late 40's films and early 50's ones. Now Davis, allowed herself to age after doing "All About Eve" and she did it gracefully, playing a cabbies wife, and took to the older roles, you'll see that Davis was always working working working, and Joan did work at that period, but only in B-films. She was good in Sweet November, that was the last A-Movie of the 50's I think... Not sure when that film was made, and then nothing until "Whatever happened to Baby Jane" - And she was actually VERY good in that - In THAT film I despise Bette and I want Joan to get loose so badly! Now there are stories that the two actresses tortured each other during shooting, but kept smiley faces on for publicity shots.

Man I had forgotten all about this, yes I probably was more bitter about Crawford when I wrote that first thing, but then I saw that interview where she had no makeup and looked like a normal person, and I liked that person. But I don't revoke anything I said in any previous commentary! A-Haha!

“The Topix Legend of GS!”

Since: Sep 10

Yunited States, North America

#7 Mar 27, 2011
tiffany wrote:
Bette and Joan may have had differences because they had several things in common. both are born under the sign of aries. both had four husbands, one of the died, both had adopted children and both had children write books about them.
At least Barbra Davis had the courtesy to write the book while her mother was still alive. She didn't snake around and wait until her mama took the dirt nap.
I guess, Bette and Joan were the Original Jen and Angelina ( franchot tone was the their "brad pitt).
I really couldn't choose between them, both actress are incredible masters of their craft. excellent role models and good people ( i think) Only if i had to... Team Joan
Team Joan all the way
Andrea

New Zealand

#8 Mar 31, 2012
GodSmacked wrote:
<quoted text>
Team Joan all the way
Joan is fascinating to watch and a good actress however her weakness is that she didn't take risks with her roles if she was required to present a character who was not beautiful and glamorous. I believe as a result some of her work was cliched and mediocre. Bette relished in the interesting roles and focused on her acting craft rather than a glamorous public image which is probably why her acting career remained so successful even in later life. Maybe Bette wasn't a conventional beauty but she was beautiful just the same. I think Bette would have been great to meet if you had the courage to face her and appreciate her dark humour. If I ever had the chance to meet her and she had said something typically acidic to me, I think I would crack up laughing and she might appreciate a person for being a good sport. My impression is that she was a tough dame but a good egg on the whole. My admiration for Joan's work is separate from my belief in Christine Crawford's account of her childhood abuse. All credit to Christine, she's done well for herself and after her book, people took a closer look at the issue of child abuse.

“The Topix Legend of GS!”

Since: Sep 10

Yunited States, North America

#9 Mar 31, 2012
Andrea wrote:
<quoted text>
Joan is fascinating to watch and a good actress however her weakness is that she didn't take risks with her roles if she was required to my belief in Christine Crawford's account of her childhood abuse. All credit to Christine, she's done well for herself and after her book, people took a closer look at the issue of child abuse.
I don't agree.

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