IMDb > Mommie Dearest (1981)
Mommie Dearest
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Mommie Dearest (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Mommie Dearest -- Outrageous and controversial, this is the story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) as she struggles for her career and battles the inner demons of her private life.

Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   9,627 votes »
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Down 36% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Christina Crawford (book)
Frank Yablans (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Mommie Dearest on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 September 1981 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
To my darling Christina, with love...Mommie Dearest See more »
Plot:
Mommie Dearest, best selling memoir, turned motion picture, depicts the abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother...screen queen Joan Crawford. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
8 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
How Bizarre See more (155 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Faye Dunaway ... Joan Crawford

Diana Scarwid ... Christina Crawford (adult)

Steve Forrest ... Greg Savitt
Howard Da Silva ... Louis B. Mayer
Mara Hobel ... Christina Crawford (child)

Rutanya Alda ... Carol Ann
Harry Goz ... Alfred Steele
Michael Edwards ... Ted Gelber

Jocelyn Brando ... Barbara Bennett

Priscilla Pointer ... Mrs. Chadwick
Joe Abdullah ... Captain
Gary Allen ... Jimmy
Selma Archerd ... Connie
Adrian Aron ... Wedding Guest

Xander Berkeley ... Christopher Crawford (adult)
Matthew Campion ... Actor in Soap
Carolyn Coates ... Mother Superior

Jerry Douglas ... Radio Interviewer
Margaret Fairchild ... Mother Superior
Phillip R. Allen ... Pepsi Executive #1
James Kirkwood Jr. ... Master of Ceremonies
Michael Hawkins ... Pepsi Executive #2 (as Michael Gainsborough)
Matthew Faison ... Pepsi Executive #3

Peter Jason ... Pepsi Executive #4
Ellen Feldman ... Ginny

Robert Harper ... David

Cathy Lind Hayes ... Nurse
Victoria James ... Photographer

Dawn Jeffory ... Vera
Virginia Kiser ... Beth Simpson
S. John Launer ... Pepsi Chairman
Russ Marin ... Funeral Director

Nicholas Mele ... Assistant Director #2

Belita Moreno ... Belinda Rosenberg

Warren Munson ... Lawyer

Alice Nunn ... Helga
Norman Palmer ... Male Guest

David Price ... Tony
Jeremy Scott Reinbolt ... Christopher Crawford (child)

Michael Talbott ... Driver
Arthur Taxier ... Decorator
Joe Warren ... Mr. Dodd (as Joseph Warren)
Erica Wexler ... Susan
Dick McGarvin ... Tour Bus Driver
Brent Dunsford ... Fan
Joseph Dypwick ... Fan
Wendy Pitzer ... Fan
David Sanderson ... Fan
Ian Bruce ... Assistant Director
Peter Eastman ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Josh Gans ... Boy on carousel (uncredited)
Lars Hensen ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Keith Paul Hunter ... Orphan (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Perry 
 
Writing credits
Christina Crawford (book)

Frank Yablans (screenplay) &
Frank Perry (screenplay) and
Tracy Hotchner (screenplay) and
Robert Getchell (screenplay)

Produced by
David Koontz .... executive producer
Neil A. Machlis .... associate producer
Terence O'Neill .... executive producer
Frank Yablans .... producer
 
Original Music by
Henry Mancini 
 
Cinematography by
Paul Lohmann 
 
Film Editing by
Peter E. Berger 
 
Casting by
Nancy Klopper 
Lynn Stalmaster 
 
Production Design by
Bill Malley 
 
Art Direction by
Harold Michelson 
 
Set Decoration by
Richard C. Goddard 
 
Costume Design by
Irene Sharaff 
 
Makeup Department
Kathryn Blondell .... hair stylist: Ms. Dunaway
Claude Díaz .... wig maker: Faye Dunaway
Lee Harman .... makeup artist: Ms. Dunaway
Charles H. Schram .... makeup artist
Vivienne Walker .... hair stylist
Sylvia Nava .... hair technician (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Neil A. Machlis .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alan B. Curtiss .... second assistant director
Michael Daves .... first assistant director
Robert J. Doherty .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Matty Azzarone .... assistant property master
Jeff Clark .... sign writer
Kent H. Johnson .... property master
Eugene S. Kelley .... construction coordinator
Margie Stone McShirley .... set designer
Peter Van Zyl .... greensman
 
Sound Department
Clint Althouse .... boom operator
David E. Campbell .... sound re-recording mixer
Denis Dutton .... sound effects editor
Cecelia Hall .... sound effects editor
Sean Hanley .... dialogue loop editor
David J. Hudson .... sound re-recording mixer
Larry Jost .... sound mixer
John T. Reitz .... sound re-recording mixer
George Watters II .... sound effects editor
 
Special Effects by
Joseph P. Mercurio .... special effects
Ken Speed .... special effects assistant
 
Stunts
Sherry Peterson .... stunts
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Doug J. Campbell .... dolly grip (as Douglas J. Campbell)
R.B. Garig .... dolly grip
J. Michael Marlett .... gaffer
John C. Moulds .... second assistant camera
Leo J. Napolitano .... first assistant camera
Ralph Nelson .... still photographer (as Ralph Nelson Jr.)
Guy Polzel .... key grip
Timothy E. Wade .... camera operator
 
Casting Department
Deborah Brown .... casting: New York
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
James P. Cullen .... costumer
Bernadene C. Mann .... costumer: Ms. Dunaway
Eric Seelig .... costume supervisor: men
Andrea E. Weaver .... costume supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Greig McRitchie .... assistant film editor
 
Music Department
June Edgerton .... music editor
James Thatcher .... musician: french horn
Dan Goldwasser .... soundtrack producer (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Joel Marrow .... transportation coordinator
 
Other crew
Mauri Syd Gayton .... production coordinator
Ileen Maisel .... assistant: Mr. Yablans
Marshall Schlom .... script supervisor
Jonathan A. Zimbert .... technical advisor
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
129 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:16 | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:12A (theatrical re-release) (re-rating) (2013) | UK:15 (video rating) (1987) | USA:R (original rating) | USA:PG (re-rating on appeal) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Franco Zeffirelli was approached to direct the film, but Christina Crawford disliked his vision of Joan as a glamorous Hollywood martyr.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the wire hanger scene, Christina's bed is mysteriously stripped of all its sheets and comforter.See more »
Quotes:
Lawyer:[reading from Joan's will after her death] It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina, for reasons which are well known to them.
Christopher:What reasons?
Christina:(laughing bitterly) Jesus Christ.
Christopher:As usual, she has the last word.
Christina:Does she? Does she?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
TangerineSee more »

FAQ

How faithful is this movie to the book, and is it an accurate portrayal of real events?
See more »
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
How Bizarre, 9 January 2010
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

Some of the behavior of the real Joan Crawford (Lucille LeSueur) was symptomatic of what we nowadays refer to as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mindset that fixates on ultra-cleanliness and perfection. Such bizarre behavior as needlessly scrubbing clean floors and clean hands helps reduce one's fears and anxieties. Over-reaction to minor problems is one result. There's a tendency to expect oneself and others to be perfect. If what is being judged is not perfect, then the OCD mindset perceives it to be the opposite of perfection; that is, ruin. There's no in-between.

Character behavior that is weird to begin with, combined with poor film direction, and an exaggerated, over-the-top performance by Faye Dunaway results in plot sequences that are campy and outlandish, thus robbing the story of subtle truths that may be buried under all that bombast.

Excise the rose garden sequence, the wire-hangers/bathroom cleaning sequence, and several other embarrassing parts, and we "might" have a film that could be taken seriously. But, of course, then we couldn't laugh at it. And I do think the film, as is, is good for some laughs.

Having a film protagonist who is such a blatant villain with no character arc is unusual, and helps make this film so bizarre. At least Godzilla, and the great white shark in Jaws, could be forgiven their cruelty, given their inability to be human.

Apart from the bizarre main character in "Mommie Dearest", the film's plot does not flow well. The dialogue also is bizarre and lacks subtext. "Helga, I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt", says Joan as she spots dirt hiding under a potted plant. And as an out-of-control, angry Joan proceeds to punish a tree in her rose garden, in frustration with Louis B. Mayer, she yells to Christina: "Bring me the ax". How can the viewer not laugh?

Lucille LeSueur undoubtedly was an ambitious woman, a hard worker, and had both genuine talent and a healthy ego. But her human relations with others, especially her adopted daughter, were disasters. We may never know the extent to which "Mommie Dearest" mirrors the real Joan Crawford, or is merely a gross exaggeration by a vengeful "heirless" heir.

Regardless, Joan Crawford left us some terrific films. She had a memorable, unique personality, and will remain a stunning Hollywood legend for as long as Hollywood exists.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (155 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mommie Dearest (1981)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Did I hear Right? mfitzgerald03
Do you think Joan knew that her daughter was going to write the book? onemanbond
What did she put on the ice? cdbacon6
Faye Dunaway wrong for the part bcstoneb444
Christopher's harness... laceb
Did not like either of the two actresses playing her daughter. Karma-For-You
See more »

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