Slide 9: Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)
Before it was a cult movie, or bestselling memoir, it was Christina Crawford's real life. Mommie Dearest captures the terrors of growing up Crawford, with her movie star mom, Joan, living a double life. Before cameras and press, Joan was a gracious, gorgeous Hollywood goddess. But behind closed doors, the diva turned into a devil armed with Ajax and wire hangers to torment her wards. On its release, Frank Perry's film was roundly panned, but in time audiences found the director's genius in the cartoon sets and over-the-top performances. Christina Crawford supposedly hated the film, since once again the attention was about her mother, and not her. Faye Dunaway suggests the film sunk her career since, as she said, "I was too good at [Joan] Crawford." From then on, when producers, directors, and casting agents saw her, they ran in terror.