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Susan Saint James,
Frances Farmer, a precocious Seattle teenager, takes unpopular social and political positions, to the mixed reactions of her parents. Frances becomes an actress and has some strong success in New York, but her refusal to bend her convictions and her outspoken (but sometimes naive) political expressiveness cause her difficulties, especially after she accepts a Hollywood contract. Torn between new-found success and intense feelings that she does not deserve the riches and fame she gains from the phoniness of Hollywood, Frances butts heads with studio executives and with her own mother, who revels in Frances's fame but provides Frances no emotional support. When drunken fights and arrests derail her career, Frances is sent to a psychiatric hospital with the acquiescence of her mother. What follows is a nightmare of poor treatment and psychological trauma, augmented by the increasing determination of Frances's mother to control her daughter's life. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Harry York, a largely fictional character played by Sam Shepard, was based on a political radical named Stewart Jacobson who claimed to have been Frances Farmer's lover. People who were close to Farmer claimed he had never even met her. See more »
The recreated movie marquee for "Come and Get It" incorrectly spells Joel McCrea's name as McCrae. See more »
Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley give remarkable performances in "Frances," but if you are looking for anything resembling the truth about this gifted actress, this is *not* the film to see--in fact, unfortunately, no factual account of Frances' life has yet been presented on either the movie or TV screen, with the possible exception of A&E's excellent Biography episode about her.
The film completely fictionalizes and sensationalizes several aspects of Frances' life, inventing characters out of whole-cloth and completely misrepresenting her institutionalization, including spuriously alleging she was lobotomized. There is ample documentary evidence proving Frances never underwent this horrible procedure; you can read the facts in my web article "Shedding Light on Shadowland," which is linked under the miscellaneous sites section on IMDb's Frances Farmer page (or do a Google for "Shedding Light on Shadowland").
In the recent DVD release, director Graeme Clifford can be heard commenting, in what is surely the understatement of the decade, "We didn't want to be nickel and diming the audience to death with facts." The *real* story of Frances Farmer is far more fascinating than this sad exercise in Hollywood "fictionalizing."
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