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

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Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   8,587 votes »
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Up 22% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
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 »
NewsDesk:
(207 articles)
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User Reviews:
Mommie Deadly: An Alternate Reality In A Galaxy Far, Far Away See more (150 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)
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Directed by
Frank Perry 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Christina Crawford  book
Robert Getchell 
Tracy Hotchner 
Frank Perry 
Frank Yablans 

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
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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) | Chile:14 | 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:
The highest-rated film on IMDb to win the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture, with a rating of 6.6/10 as of June, 2014.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Joan and Greg are walking on the beach talking about adopting, her orange scarf changes position under her collar to untucked between shots.See more »
Quotes:
Joan Crawford:[muttering to herself, hacking down the rose garden] Hollywood royalty! Parted friends... everyone already knows! Box office poison! Box office poison! Class! You're... class... you're... class... box office poison! Eighteen years in the business and we parted friends! Creative differences!
[notices the others]
Joan Crawford:Oh... good! I wan't some help here! I want ALL of these branches cleared out of here now. Carol-Ann, Christopher, start clearing away all these branches, start gathering them up.
[to Christina]
Joan Crawford:Go on... get the wheelbarrow and the rake!
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
I'm Sitting On Top Of The WorldSee more »

FAQ

How faithful is this movie to the book, and is it an accurate portrayal of real events?
See more »
39 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Mommie Deadly: An Alternate Reality In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, 11 June 2007
Author: gftbiloxi (gftbiloxi@yahoo.com) from Biloxi, Mississippi

Given the film's current cult movie status one is tempted to believe the 1981 MOMMIE DEAREST was a critical debacle and a box office fiasco. That is not really the case. It is true that critics generally considered the film a failure, but many of them admired certain elements of it; it is also true that box office fell below expectations, but it was not a box office disaster in the same sense as the 1980 HEAVEN'S GATE or the 1981 INCHON.

It is also true, however, that audiences howled with laughter at the film when it debuted, and although leading lady Faye Dunaway received a number of critical accolades for her performance as Joan Crawford, she also received an equal number of devastating reviews--and it was these that caught the spotlight. It was a humiliating experience for an actress particularly noted for her perfectionism, and rumor has it that Dunaway feels the film ended her career as a major film star. Whatever the case, Dunaway quickly developed a strategic silence about the film that she has maintained for some two decades.

Seen today, it is easy to identify the core problems of the film. The most obvious is the script, which is extremely inconsistent in quality and yet perversely consistent in a style that can only be described as soap opera hot-house to the nth degree. This is particularly true of the dialogue assigned to Dunaway. Infamous lines such as "No More Wire Hangers Ever," "Tina! Bring Me The Axe," and "I'm Not Mad At You, I'm Mad At The Dirt" have become a staple of every drag queen from Maine to California.

But the ultimate disaster here is director Frank Perry. Joan Crawford was a larger-than-life personality; the role is written to reflect this; Dunaway plays the role as it was written. But it would seem Perry sought to heighten the effect: the rest of the cast is extremely, extremely restrained. This must have seemed like a good idea in theory, but it proves a terrible mistake in actual fact. No matter what Dunaway does with it, she can NEVER seem less than wildly overwrought in comparison to the rest of the cast, and the effect is very peculiar indeed.

The designs and the cinematography also clash in an incredibly bizarre way. There is absolutely no doubt that everything about the film is exactingly accurate: that is indeed the look of the period, right down to the very last detail. But the photography is extremely flat, and you are constantly aware that the sets are indeed movie sets, the costumes are movie costumes, and so on. Yes, it is all beautifully rendered, but you can't buy into it as anything real.

The Hollywood Royalty Edition DVD edition offers a good but by no means flawless print of the film and several bonuses. It is unfortunate that they are not particularly illuminating. While director John Water's commentary is enjoyable, he approaches the film only as a fan. Even so, Water does make several telling points: many of the things that Crawford does which seem so odd (bathing the face in ice, for example) are actually commonplace cosmetic necessities for movie stars; many of the things the film treats as abuse were, although carried to wild extremes in the story, typical of child-rearing practices of the 1940s and 1950s.

There are also three short documentaries featuring a number of cast members, most notably Diana Scarwid; these are actually entertaining for the fact that those who appear still seem to regard the film as "a good movie." The only really significant interview is with Lypsinka, an artist who has driven Crawford impersonations to the level of wicked satire and high art, and who offers a number of interesting personal insights into the iconography involved.

Like the film itself, the bonus package has two great failures. The first is that Faye Dunaway does not appear in interview or commentary; it would be very interesting to have her own take on the film, its failures, and its afterlife. Given her sentiment, it is an understandable non-involvement; less understandable, however, that there is not so much as a potted biography of the actress--or indeed of any member of the cast, for there are no written notes of any kind.

The second great failure of the bonus package is that it contains no factual information on either Joan or Christina Crawford. There is no indication here that those who knew both women are sharply divided over the accuracy of the portraits both here and in the book by Christina Crawford from which the film is drawn. A number of people, including actresses Betty Hutton and June Allyson, supported Christina Crawford's accounts, but an equal number, including actress Myrna Loy and Christina's younger siblings, flatly stated that Christina's accusations were largely fictitious.

When all is said and done, and in spite of performances and moments that are actually extremely good in isolation, MOMMIE DEAREST is a film that falls under the "so bad it's good" category of cult films. While I am taken aback by the bizarre nature of the movie, I personally find the amusement involved almost as dark as the movie's plot; it is not among my cult film favorites. Even so, I can understand the appeal it has for others, and I give it five stars on that basis.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mommie Dearest (1981)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
christopher katerra23
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
'Mommie Dearest' Hits home for me. tminnie
Any Similar Films of a 'Daddie' Dearest? sinestre91
Why Did everyone dislike the movie so much? Kylkoog
If Faye wanted to make alot of $$$ cubkisser66
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