Black SplatMommie Dearest (1981)

"Don’t fuck with me, fellas. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo."

Mommie Dearest - Joan Crawford addresses the board of the Pepsi Company

Description: Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford addresses the all-male boardroom members of the Pepsi Company in the motion picture Mommie Dearest (1981).

Joan Crawford is a film actress who starred in such classics as Mildred Pierce (1945), Humoresque (1946), Torch Song (1953), and The Story of Esther Costello (1957).

While loved by her fans, she has many setbacks and arguments with the studio heads at MGM Studios, especially Louis B. Mayer (Howard Da Silva) whom Crawford claims gives her poor scripts and bad directors. The result of all this disharmony leads critics to call Crawford "box-office poison" and this leads to her eventual decline as one of Hollywood's stars.

Joan Crawford: Hauling me over to Mayer's table like some picked-up floozie! Or one of those starlets. Out to give the big shots a nice night in town. Is that what you think of me?
Greg Savitt: How many drinks is that? When you were a kid that made you look sexy. Now it just makes you look drunk.
Joan Crawford: [Throws drink into Greg's face] I may as well have "property of MGM" tattooed on my back side! Dammit, Perrino's is MY PLACE.
Greg Savitt: Nobody wanted my signature, so I just walked in!
Joan Crawford: You expect me to ignore my fans, they're life and death to me, baby! They're the ones who really MADE ME!
Greg Savitt: I expect you to walk in with me and sit down at your table with me! Then Mayer would have to bring his bankers over, get your autograph and leave! That's what you should have done!
Joan Crawford: Well maybe that's what I would have done, if you'd been nice enough to stay out there with me, help me through the crowd and into the restaurant like a GENTLEMAN!
Greg Savitt: Why are you screaming?
Joan Crawford: BECAUSE I'M DAMN MAD! Dammit, Greg. How can you put Mayer over me? You know that son of a bitch is trying to destroy my career!
Greg Savitt: If your career's in trouble, it has nothing to do with him.
Joan Crawford: Then what is it?
Greg Savitt: You were always the shop girl who fought her way to the top, made a great success. Well, you're not a little shop girl anymore. Now, that's the truth, to face and deal with, if you want to survive. The truth is, you're getting old.
Joan Crawford: Yeah? You're nothing but a rotten, crooked lawyer... supplying the grease that makes this shitty movie business work. You think your life's a mystery? There isn't a dirty cover up in this entire business that I don't know about, and YOUR hand is in EVERY ONE of them... you REEK OF IT!
Greg Savitt: [shakes Joan] DAMN YOU! Are you CRAZY? No person talks to me like that, NO ONE ANYWHERE! Are you crazy? ARE YOU? Tell me! TELL ME!
Joan Crawford: I'm crazy!

Outside of her life at the Hollywood studios, Joan Crawford shares a home life with her two children Christina and Christopher whom she adopted after having several unsuccessful pregnancies.

But Joan's controlling nature and her need to have everything in the house stored properly and meticulously cleaned makes life at home very uncomfortable for the house staff, as well as her children, who are often abused by their mother.

Joan Crawford: Did you scrub the bathroom floor today? DID YOU?
Christina Crawford: Yes, Mommie.
Joan Crawford: Yes, Mommie what?
Christina Crawford: Yes, Mommie Dearest.
Joan Crawford: When I told you to call me that, I wanted you to mean it.

Once, in a fit of rage, Joan cut off her daughter's hair. On another occasion, as Joan is looking in her daughter's closet she notices that one of her dresses is on a wire hanger. This drives Joan crazy and she begins rummaging through the rest of the dresses and pulling out anything else on a wire hanger.

Mommie Dearest - Joan Crawford shouting at her daughter, Christina.

"No... wire... hangers. What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER? I work and work 'till I'm half-dead, and I hear people saying, "She's getting old." And what do I get? A daughter... who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her... as she cares about me. What's wire hangers doing in this closet? Answer me. I buy you beautiful dresses, and you treat them like they were some dishrag. You do. Three hundred dollar dress on a wire hanger. We'll see how many you've got if they're hidden somewhere. We'll see... we'll see. Get out of that bed. All of this is coming out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. You've got any more? We're gonna see how many wire hangers you've got in your closet. Wire hangers, why? Why? Christina, get out of that bed. Get out of that bed. You live in the most beautiful house in Brentwood and you don't care if your clothes are stretched out from wire hangers. And your room looks like some two-dollar-a-week furnished room in some two-bit back street town in Oklahoma. Get up. Get up. Clean up this mess."

When Joan asks her daughter, “Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to? Why can’t you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street?” Christina replies, “Because I am NOT one of your fans!” At this time, Joan reveals that she adopted Christina as a publicity stunt to create an illusion with her fans that she was a warm and loving mother.

Later in life, Joan marries Alfred Steele (Harry Goz), CEO of Pepsi Cola, and moves to New York City. When he dies, she takes his place on the board of Pepsi Company. When they try to oust her from the board, Joan declares, "Don’t fuck with me, fellas. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo," and threatens to wage a smear campaign against the company is they try to remove her.

When Joan Crawford dies of cancer in 1977, she leaves nothing to her children in her will. Even in the end, Joan has to have her way. But, her daughter, Christina has the last laugh when she writes her best selling autobiography "Mommie Dearest" that reveals the "true" Joan Crawford to her adoring public.

Mommie Dearest - Movie Poster

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