7.4/10
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59 user 21 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
Kim Stanley ... Lillian Farmer
Sam Shepard ... Harry York
Bart Burns ... Ernest Farmer
Jonathan Banks ... Hitchhiker
Bonnie Bartlett ... Studio Stylist
James Brodhead James Brodhead ... Desk Sergeant
Jane Jenkins ... Lady at Roosevelt Hotel (as J.J. Chaback)
Jordan Charney ... Harold Clurman
Rod Colbin Rod Colbin ... Sentencing Judge
Daniel Chodos Daniel Chodos ... 'No Escape' director
Donald Craig Donald Craig ... Ralph Edwards
Sarah Cunningham Sarah Cunningham ... Alma Styles
Lee de Broux ... 'Flowing Gold' Director
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Clifford Odets
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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

One of two Hollywood biopics of actresses from Old Hollywood made and released around 1981-1982. This film was about Frances Farmer whereas the other movie Mommie Dearest (1981) was about Joan Crawford. 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

Arresting Sergeant: Your name?
Frances Farmer: You jerks drag me down here in the middle of the night and you don't know who the hell I am?
Arresting Sergeant: Your name lady?
Frances Farmer: Frances Elena Farmer. Want me to spell it?
Arresting Sergeant: And your address?
Frances Farmer: Put me down as a vag, vagrant, vagabond. What is this, a joke? It's a joke? Assault and battery? Huh? I barely touched that bitch.
Arresting Sergeant: Occupation?
Frances Farmer: Cocksucker.
See more »

Connections

References Rhythm on the Range (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony #7 in A major, Op. 92, 2nd movement
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker (as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nature or Nurture
16 September 2005 | by haridam0See all my reviews

This film parallels the Biography Channel's version of Frances Farmer's life and career. Neither gave a definitive answer as to the cause of this actress' problems.

Was it inability to cope with society due to her own high standards of artistic integrity? Or was it a mental flaw that grew more intense as she got older? It was James Jones (in "From Here to Eternity") that wrote: "Maybe in the days of the pioneer, you could go your own way. Pvt. Pruitt, but today you gotta play ball." That obviously implied demonstrating things like compromise, humility, condescension, flexibility, and sundry social graces.

It also implied that one can "be right" and still be very lonely.

Frances apparently chose the wrong profession, if she expected to "be right" so often. She'd have been better off on a farm or ranch, engaged in solo activities rather than the group endeavor of acting.

As it was, she seemed never to have learned to work professionally with colleagues. From her standpoint, she was indeed "right." She constantly exposed the hypocrisy, insincerity and frailty in people and "the system." Yet the price she paid was a loss of what mattered to her: a career that was nourishing and satisfying.

In '82 Jessica Lange followed up her fine Oscar-winning performance as Julie Nichols in "Tootsie" with this incredible portrayal of Farmer in "Frances." The legendary Kim Stanley was her mother and Sam Shepard rendered a perceptive performance as Farmer's close friend.

Not an easy film to sit through, the quality of acting by this trio is exemplary. As much up to date today as when first filmed. Riveting performances by all. --harry-76


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