7.4/10
6,251
62 user 20 critic
The story of Frances Farmer's meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood and the tragic turn her life took when she was blacklisted.

Director:

Graeme Clifford

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Lange ... Frances Farmer
Sam Shepard ... Harry York
Kim Stanley ... Lillian Farmer
Bart Burns ... Ernest Farmer
Christopher Pennock ... Dick Steele
James Karen ... Judge Hillier
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Lobotomy Doctor
Sarah Cunningham Sarah Cunningham ... Alma Styles
Allan Rich ... Mr. Bebe
Woodrow Parfrey ... Dr. Doyle
Rod Pilloud Rod Pilloud ... Martoni Kaminski
Patricia Larson Patricia Larson ... Mrs. Hillier
Jordan Charney ... Harold Clurman
Keone Young ... Chinese Doctor
Bonnie Bartlett ... Studio Stylist
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Her story is shocking, disturbing, compelling... and true. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 February 1983 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Frances, a Filha da Fúria See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,624, 26 December 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Brooksfilms, EMI Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Frances Farmer and got so far as to film screen tests with Sam Shepard, but ultimately lost out to Jessica Lange. See more »

Goofs

Among the framed portraits of actresses under contract to Paramount Pictures hanging on Mr. Bebe's office walls is one of Joan Crawford. But Crawford was an MGM contract player at the time portrayed in the scene and never worked for Paramount. See more »

Quotes

Harry York: Frances, you're crazy.
Frances Farmer: [softly] Don't tell anybody.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Summer Rental (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in A major, K.331
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Chet Swiatkowsky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Robbed of an Oscar...
30 November 2005 | by Isaac5855See all my reviews

Jessica Lange was robbed of an Academy Award for her mesmerizing performance in the 1982 film, FRANCES, a relatively gripping character study/biography of the late 1930's actress Frances Farmer, who, after being ostracized from Hollywood, ended up being declared insane, institutionalized, and lobotomized, according to this screenplay. Not knowing a lot about the actress before the release of this film, I have never been sure of how factual it is (I always got the feeling that the Harry York character, played by Sam Shepherd, was fictional), but how many screen biographies are big on the facts? Sometimes facts are glossed over and/or ignored for the sake of preserving or igniting drama. Whether or not this is true is for those who knew Farmer to say. I did see an interview once with Farmer's nephew (?) who was very pleased with Lange's interpretation of Farmer and that is exactly why this film is worth seeing. Despite a meandering screenplay, turgid direction, and a feeling the movie is about 30 minutes too long, this movie is worth seeing for one reason and one reason only...the riveting performance by Jessica Lange. She is in virtually every frame of this movie and makes every single moment vivid and striking and achingly real. This film should be shown to acting classes on a daily basis...maybe the best performance by an actress in a leading role during the decade of the 1980's. Not a great film, but an amazing performance by a consummate actress that must be seen to be believed.


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