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   8,818 votes »
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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 »
NewsDesk:
(212 articles)
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User Reviews:
Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown See more (151 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)

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) | 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 film takes place from 1938 to 1977.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Joan's assistant is lacing up the left ice skate when the production assistant knocks to say they're ready for her. You can clearly see Joan's right foot is bare. She says, "Let's go," and gets out of her chair with only one skate on.See more »
Quotes:
[at a press conference on her wedding day]
Joan Crawford:You know, a few minutes ago a reporter asked me what I thought and how I would describe the marriage between the soft drink King and the Queen of Hollywood. I told him I thought it was a hell of a match.
Alfred Steele:That's my Pally.
Joan Crawford:Oh, "Pally". That's what he calls ya when he can't remember your name.
Alfred Steele:Don't let her kid you, I remember her name. It's Mrs. Alfred Steele. Right, Pally?
Joan Crawford:Right.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Minuet in F (from Water Music)See more »

FAQ

How faithful is this movie to the book, and is it an accurate portrayal of real events?
See more »
76 out of 93 people found the following review useful.
Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 8 August 2001

There is no doubt that Christina Crawford's scathing 1978 memoirs did much initial harm to her late mother's reputation. The subsequent 1981 film has eclipsed even the bestselling book to become the standard by which the real-life Joan is judged. However, I'm inclined to believe that those who dismiss Joan today as a psychotic harpy and nothing more never even saw the film version of "Mommie Dearest," and only heard secondhand reports of the most infamous scene ("No...wire...hangers!").

Most tellingly, Christina Crawford reportedly hated the film version of her book, and wailed upon seeing it, "They turned it into a Joan Crawford movie!" She's right. With the exception of the two most graphic scenes ("No wire hangers" and the choking scene), Joan's "abuse" of Christina is not all that much different from what passed as "discipline" in those days--just ask your parents or grandparents--and despite Faye Dunaway's full-throttle acting, Joan always somehow comes off in a strangely sympathetic light.

What we see is an insecure woman fighting for survival in an age-obsessed, male-dominated industry. Such scenes as Joan's heartless dismissal from MGM invite sympathy; while her snarling, veritable takeover of Pepsi Co. elicts cheers for her ballsiness and strength. Christina, on the other hand, is invariably depicted as either gratingly whiny or cardboard stiff. It's difficult to empathize with such an annoying character.

"Mommie Dearest"'s grandest artistic achievement is through the impeccable art direction, which truly makes the audience believe they are watching a film unfold in the 1940's and 1950's. Its lasting legacy, however, is Faye Dunaway's career-ending performance, which, depending on your point of view, is either jaw-droppingly awful or unbelievably brilliant.

Dunaway's acting "choices" are nothing if not idiosyncratic: clutching her bosom frantically as she cries, "You...deliberately...embarass me in front of a REPORTER!"; copying the real-life Crawford's facial expressions from the horror flick "Strait-Jacket" in the axe-wielding scene; and, most famously, her odd, cross-eyed pose that she strikes not once, or twice, but three times: holding baby Christina on the staircase, rubbing moisturizer on her elbows after hiding Christina's dolls, and following her wire hanger/cleansing powder attack.

It is Dunaway's nostril-flaring, hair-pulling, bosom-clutching style that really sends this film into the camp stratosphere. On paper, such scenes as Joan swatting Christina on the butt for defying her orders, or Joan insisting that Christina finish her rare steak, would seem bland. In Dunaway's hands, they become something else altogether!

Actually, Christina Crawford should thank Faye Dunaway; if not for her crazed, unforgettable portrayal, "Mommie Dearest" would have been just another trashy Hollywood memoir that eventually would've been forgotten (does anyone really care about B.D. Hyman's book about Bette Davis anymore?). And a film version without Dunaway would've been rightfully panned, forgotten, and relegated to cut-out bins at your local video emporium. Instead, Faye Dunaway has ensured its place in film immortality. It still stands alone among camp classics, but perhaps some re-evaluation of it (and of Joan Crawford herself) is due.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (151 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mommie Dearest (1981)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
How could anyone find this movie funny? coupleofflakes2
One of My Mother's Favourite Films -Saw Nothing Wrong With the Behaviour cgrady-2
Any Similar Films of a 'Daddie' Dearest? sinestre91
A complete early draft of 'Mommie Dearest' you can read online MonicaRivers
christopher katerra23
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
See more »

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