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Mommie Dearest (1981) Poster

Goofs

Factual errors 

When Joan meets with Mayer in his office, she is standing in front of a large portrait featuring a group of MGM stars. This scene is supposed to be taking place circa 1943. The portrait clearly features Esther Williams standing at the end of the front row in her Roman costume for JUPITER'S DARLING, which was filmed in 1955, 12 years after Joan left Metro.
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Anachronisms 

The men on the board of directors of Pepsi Cola are dressed in current (1981) suits, ties, and hairstyles in the showdown between them and Crawford. This scene would have taken place in 1959, so only Crawford is dressed correctly for the period.
A plastic bottle of "409" spray cleaner is on the bar when Christina prepares one of her "Uncles" a drink; this brand did not exist at the time.
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During the commercial break for Christina's appearance in The Secret Storm, we catch a short glimpse of the Mercedes 450SL. This model was launched in 1971, the scene is taking place in 1968.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Joan cuts down her prize rose garden, she is photographed mostly in shadow. Although we hear her muttering to herself about being "box office poison," her mouth isn't really moving.
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After Joan beats Christina with the wire hanger, you can still hear the girl sniffle and whine, but her mouth is closed, and she hasn't shed a single tear.
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After young Christina is defeated by Joan in the pool race scene, Christina's line "it's not fair to win twice" can be heard a second time underneath Joan's line "Ah, but nobody ever said..."
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At the pool when Joan says "Who do you think you're talking to, Missy?" her mouth does not match "Missy".
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Throughout the entire film, there are sequences (especially yelling and screaming sequences) where there are obvious echos of what they are saying.
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Character error 

When Joan brings Christina home from Chadwick school, she is wearing a hat, gloves and skirt all in the 50s style, which is correct. Her coat is an a-line design, boxy and shapeless, with a huge 70s pointed collar. This coat would not have been worn by Joan in the 50s as she was always wearing the very latest styles.
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Continuity 

Joan decides to hack off Christina's hair with a handy pair of scissors, but it seems to restore itself immediately after several well-placed snips.
At the beginning of the birthday party scene, Joan can obviously be seen riding the Carousel behind Christina. However, in a subsequent shot, she is no longer on the Carousel. In another shot soon thereafter, she suddenly appears on the Carousel behind Christina again.
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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.
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When Joan is spanking Christina with the wire hanger next to Christopher's bed, a blanket covering Christina appears and disappears between each blow.
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The color of the gift wrap on Christina's floor changes between shots.
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When Joan chops down the tree she gasps, and in the next shot the exact same gasp is repeated (noticeable by the odd cut in sound).
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When young Christina fixes Mommie Dearest a drink when one of the "uncles" is visiting, the glass is half full of ice when she pours the alcohol. By the time she brings the drink into the room all the ice is gone.
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During the bedroom scene when Joan is fighting with Greg and he shakes her, she loses a clip-on earring. The ear ring appears and disappears on Joan between shots.
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When Joan is in the driveway getting ready to jog next to the car CarolAnn is driving, the backs of her knees on her sweatpants are wet and in the next scene they are dry.
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When Joan walks into Mayer's office (only to be sacked) she is greeted by the secretary with "good morning". However, in a preceding scene, we hear Christina talking to her dolls about her mother having to see Mr Mayer "this afternoon".
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In the bathroom cleaning scene, Joan has two rags in her hand. She pitches one to the floor, which Tina clearly does not pick up. Then Joan leans down to scrub the floor, and suddenly Christina has a rag in her hand.
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In the famous "wire hanger" scene, Joan can be seen pulling down some blankets from the top shelf in Christina's closet. In a subsequent shot, the blankets are back up on the shelf.
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During the bathroom tantrum scene, where Joan scatters scouring powder all over the room, the level of powder on the ledge behind Christina changes between shots.
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Before baby Christina arrives at Joan's mansion, Joan has a conversation with Gregg at the bar. His position, and the position of his whiskey glass, changes several times between shots.
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Joan is reclining on a chaise lounge near the pool and Gregg sits down next to her. As the camera cuts between Joan's face and Gregg's face, Joan clearly changes position. Sometimes she's facing forward, sometimes she's gazing up into Gregg's face.
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Carol-Ann seems to suddenly drop right out of the sky to oversee the pool race between Joan and Christina. You can briefly glimpse her while Joan and Gregg are having their previous discussion, over Gregg's shoulder when he says "Who calls, I run?", but in other shots she clearly isn't there.
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When Joan and Greg are walking on the beach talking about adopting, her orange scarf changes position under her collar to untucked between shots.
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When Joan and her staff are scrubbing the floor with cleanser she is wearing white sock and white "Joan Crawford" shoes. She wouldn't have worn shoes with black soles while scrubbing, especially since just moments later, she asks Greg to take his off.
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In the wire hanger scene, Christina's bed is mysteriously stripped of all its sheets and comforter.
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Christina's hair when being cut off.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Christina arrives home from Convent school, the driver of the car opens his door and the camera crew is reflected in the door.
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At Christina's birthday party, a camera shadow is seen against the backs of those watching the horse rides.
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A camera shadow is visible against the blue curtains (left side of the screen) when Joan Crawford rides the merry go round.
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After Joan says to tear down the wall and put up a window in the apartment condo, she turns around and a camera shadow is cast across her back.
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Factual errors 

Joan Crawford was not "fired" by MGM. She paid the company to be released from her contract, and two days later signed with Warner Bros.
When the nominees for best actress are heard over the radio, they are not named in alphabetical order, contrary to tradition.
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During opening sequence set in late Thirties, a sightseeing tour bus drives past with an illustration of the famous Hollywood sign on its side. In reality, at that time the sign would have read "HOLLYWOODLAND" - the "LAND" portion of sign (which originally promoted a housing development called HOLLYWOODLAND) was not removed until the late 1940s.
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Miscellaneous 

In a scene set in the late Sixties, Joan Crawford signs a stack of publicity photos that date back to her appearance twenty years earlier; in reality, Crawford always sent out current fan photos.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Joan Crawford substitutes for her daughter on a soap opera, producer of show gives her a pep talk during a commercial, indicating it was a live broadcast. In reality 'The Secret Storm' was taped and director later said Crawford's performance was so poor he had to patch it together in editing room. Although it was recorded, The Secret Storm was "live tape", meaning that it was treated as if it were a live broadcast. At the end of each act, the actors stopped for the exact length of the commercials and then resumed taping.

Plot holes 

The "wire hanger" scene has become the pivotal, and almost iconic, symbol of the movie, yet one must wonder where little Christina would have gotten the hanger to begin with. She was obviously too young to be picking up cleaning, so the hanger must have been brought into the house by a servant- so Joan's anger at finding the dress on the hanger was completely misdirected. One would think that Crawford would have issued a directive to her house staff to immediately remove any clothing from such hangers and to dispose of them.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Joan lunges at Christina and tries to strangle her, the pre-shattered lamp comes apart before it hits the floor.
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When Christina makes her final speech at Joan's coffin, Joan breathes after the third time Christina says, "Mommie."
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Young Christina is obviously holding a wig on while Joan furiously tries to brush out her hair (before resorting to those effective scissors).
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Diana Scarwid's stunt double's face briefly visible in a long shot during the choking scene.
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Very faint breathing in the coffin, though Joan is dead.
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Diana Scarwid's stunt double in the choking scene is clearly male - look closely at his legs - they're a shade darker than Scarwid's and more muscular.
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Obvious dummy when Joan beats Christina during the wire hangers tantrum.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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