Joan Crawford: an actress who paid her dues before #metoo

A great double bill, this Friday night, as part of “Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film” series on now at UCLA Film & Television Archive, two powerful films directed by Curtiz and starring Joan Crawford.


Mildred Pierce (1945)
Joan Crawford’s career-renewing turn is the primary but far from the only attraction adorning one of Michael Curtiz’s most venerated films. Nominated for five Academy Awards with Crawford winning for Best Actress, the picture is buoyed by Ann Blyth’s memorable performance as Veda, “the daughter-from-hell,” the wonderfully smarmy Eve Arden, a lecherous Jack Carson, and Zachary Scott putting his best heel forward as Mildred’s foppish husband. A stylized screenplay by Ranald MacDougall is accentuated by Ernest Haller’s shaded photography in this brilliant adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel about the dark side of the American dream.

35mm, b/w, 111 min. Production/Distribution: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.; Director: Michael Curtiz. Producer: Jerry Wald. Screenwriter: Ranald MacDougall. Based on the novel Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain. Cinematographer: Ernest Haller. Editor: David Weisbart.  Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth.


Flamingo Road (1949)
Nitrate Print!
Curtiz and Crawford repurpose the rags-to-riches theme that has Joan as a traveling carnival grind dancer stuck in a small town and running afoul of a perverse Southern sheriff (Sydney Greenstreet) after falling for his deputy (Zachary Scott), who is being groomed for political office.  When Crawford aligns herself with Greenstreet’s rival (David Brian), matters shape up for a juicy showdown.  Co-starring Gladys George, Virginia Huston and Fred Clark, this scintillating melodrama was Curtiz’s final film production by his Warner Bros.-based company.

35mm nitrate, b/w, 94 min. Production: Michael Curtiz Productions, Inc. Distribution: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. Director: Michael Curtiz. Producer: Jerry Wald. Screenwriter: Robert Wilder. Based on the play by Robert and Sally Wilder. Cinematographer: Ted McCord. Editor: Folmer Blangsted. Cast: Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Sydney Greenstreet, David Brian, Gladys George

In-person: Alan K. Rode will sign copies of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Joan Crawford double bill | Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film | UCLA Film & Television Archive | Friday Feb 9

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