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Della (1964)

Approved | | Drama
A man trying to negotiate a property deal with a wealthy but reclusive widow becomes romantically involved with the woman's unhinged daughter.

Director:

Robert Gist
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Burke ... Barney Stafford
Charles Bickford ... Hugh Stafford
Joan Crawford ... Della
Richard Carlson ... David Stafford
Diane Baker ... Jenny Chappell
Robert Sampson ... Joel Stafford
Otto Kruger ... Walter Garrick
James Noah ... Chris Stafford
Marianna Case Marianna Case ... Addie Stafford
Sara Taft Sara Taft ... Mrs. Kyle
Walter Woolf King ... Sam Jordon
Barney Phillips ... Eric Kline
Voltaire Perkins Voltaire Perkins ... Herb Foster
Richard Bull ... Mark Nodella
Jan Shepard Jan Shepard ... Secretary
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Storyline

Della Chappell (Joan Crawford) is a very wealthy and incredibly reclusive woman. When a big company wants the land Della lives on, the town sends out Barney Stafford (Paul Burke) to talk to her. She invites Barney over to negotiate the proposal. Barney soon takes a liking to Della's equally reclusive daughter Jenny Chappell (Diane Baker). After spending some time with Jenny, he realizes that Della has a dark secret, one that keeps them from the outside world. Written by Joan Crawford & William Castle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Also Known As:

Fatal Confinement See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Four Star Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally the pilot episode for a new television series entitled Royal Bay. When it was not picked up, it was re-edited into a stand-alone film and renamed Della. The hallmarks of its televisual beginnings are still visible in the billing of Joan Crawford as a "special guest star." See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Crawford Classic It Ain't...
9 February 2014 | by museumofdaveSee all my reviews

This is essentially a soap opera in so many ways, and the money spent (or lack of it) on location settings or interiors appears to be minimal. Crawford plays Della, a grand, nervous, demanding, slightly off-kilter grande dame who hides in isolation with her strange daughter high above the city's noise and hustle. A hot-shot lawyer operating for an outside corporation wants to purchase a huge chunk of Crawford's property--but she's not budging! Nobody pushes Joan around!

What plot follows is not half as mesmerizing as the period automobiles in glittering pastels or the various fashion statements that Crawford parades as if she had been born to them (one may notice, however, that almost all of her close-ups shift to a very soft focus--no need to adjust your television). Della has lived in this lavishly furnished mansion for decades, but if one looks closely at the garish flower arrangements, the truly tatty color combinations in the carpets and curtains and the weird accent colors chosen by some set decorator in a very big hurry with a very small choice, the corners cut are clear. The same goes for the tacky statues plopped down around the pool, particularly the one dubbed "The Sun God," looking like something from an old Tarzan movie that keeps ending up with flowers stuffed in its mouth for no apparent reason.

But reason isn't what this frenetic melodrama is all about--as you can tell from this review, half the fun of it is enjoying the trappings of a late period Tinseltown Product, a sprinkling of several fine character actors--Charles Bickford and Richard Carlson (looking utterly exhausted!) and the always commanding Joan , rising above the situation just as she did in Mildred Pierce, Flamingo Road or the almost perfect Humoresque . By this time, however, the studios were largely finished, had sold of most of their lavish inventory, and only cared about what money might be made from television. This is primarily a curiosity, and one must bring a good deal of suspended disbelief to the party to enjoy it.


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