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Della (1964)

| Drama
A man trying to negotiate a property deal with a wealthy but reclusive widow becomes romantically involved with the woman's unhinged daughter.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Barney Stafford
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Hugh Stafford
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Della Chappell
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David Stafford
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Jenny Chappell
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Joel Stafford
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Walter Garrick
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Chris Stafford
Marianna Case ...
Addie Stafford
Sara Taft ...
Mrs. Kyle
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Sam Jordon
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Eric Kline
Voltaire Perkins ...
Herb Foster
...
Mark Nodella
Jan Shepard ...
Secretary
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Storyline

Della Chappell (Joan Crawford) is a very wealthy and incredibly reclusive woman. When a big company wants the land Della lives on, the town sends out Barney Stafford (Paul Burke) to talk to her. She invites Barney over to negotiate the proposal. Barney soon takes a liking to Della's equally reclusive daughter Jenny Chappell (Diane Baker). After spending some time with Jenny, he realizes that Della has a dark secret, one that keeps them from the outside world. Written by Joan Crawford & William Castle

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Drama

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Also Known As:

Fatal Confinement  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally the pilot episode for a new television series entitled Royal Bay. When it was not picked up, it was re-edited into a stand-alone film and renamed Della. The hallmarks of its televisual beginnings are still visible in the billing of Joan Crawford as a "special guest star." See more »

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User Reviews

 
MISS Crawford powers her way through and over everyone in sight
31 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not terribly involving drama but worth catching for some of the cast. It might be a minor film but it's a major star vehicle for Joan.

Unlike the low grade horror films she finished her career in where everything including her wardrobe was on the cheap every effort is made to make her look as glamorous as possible. In every instance the walls and surrounding decor compliment Crawford's hair, make up and clothing making sure she dominates the scene. As befits a grande dame of a certain age there are scenes where the soft focus on her is so strong she actually appears hazy! With gravity defying hair and a total command of the screen she is never less than compelling treating the script's absurdities as if they were masterworks.

The inverse of Joan's powerful star presence is provided by the real sore spot of the picture, the male lead Paul Burke. An attractive but mechanical and stiff blank slate Crawford steamrolls right over him any time they occupy the same scene. It does almost irreparable damage to the film but Joan's professionalism saves it. As far as the rest of the cast goes the only member who even approaches Joan's charisma level is Charles Bickford but his part is small. Diane Baker is likewise handed little to work with though she does get a scene or two of anguish.

Even though it did get a European release the film betrays its TV movie origins in its choppy editing style. However the production design is a kaleidescope of 60's fashions and for any vintage car aficionado this will be heaven, all the characters drive fantastic automobiles in vibrant colors.

It may be a standard drama but for any fan of latter day Joan Crawford this little known item is a must see.


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