Monday, March 23, 2015

Prohibition in Curls

It's her birthday, making her - depending on what source one prefers - anything from 111 to 107.

Here we see a variety of her earlier moods, which is a very good thing.  It's too easy to remember only Late Joan, the half-monumental, half-ludicrous Legend, all eyebrows and lipstick and just-barely-maintained hauteur.  All too often, Crawford the joke/cautionary tale/broken goddess overshadows the first years of her public life, when she was the freshest breath of air this side of Clara Bow, a creature born for exactly the moment that made her famous the first time around, an intoxicating mix of siren, local girl made good, and sex, neat.  To see her with Gable, however variable (to be kind) the quality of their films together, is to receive in every frame a textbook lesson in why stars are born, not made.

Whatever she became - and even much of that is far more admirable than is generally credited - here we have the raw material to better understand why, in the end, attention must be paid and tribute rendered.  How much poorer we would have been without her - and is there anything better that can be said about the legacy of one person?

The song, by the bye, is called "Flapper Girl," from a neo-folk band called The Lumineers, previously unknown to me but apparently very well thought of.  The video is yet another genius creation by the marvelously creative YouTuber saraismyname, of whose work I am thoroughly in awe.  Enjoy.


  1. Potent reminder. Fantastic. A study in "It".

  2. Crawford's great career gaffe was that she didn't do enough comedy after Mildred Pierce. Yes, she did Good Bye My Fancy, but she wasn't relaxed like she should have been. And had I been her agent, I would have marched her over Walt Disney AFTER What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and said find a sweet, caring Aunt role for her. Of course, Crawford's ego would have made that a hard sell. But tough as nails and unable to laugh at ones self only goes so far.

  3. Cookie's right, she should have done more comedy, or even "dramady" like Above Suspicion -- she was so good at it.

    Thanks for a nice post. I have nothing but admiration for Crawford. Her younger self was smart enough to know that she knew nothing, and she paid attention, worked hard, and learned. If in the end it all sort of ossified into Crawford the Gorgon, you at least have to credit the fact that she managed to prolong her career through sheer force of will for an incredible span of time, while most of her contemporaries faded away.

    Happy Hundred And Whatever, Joan -- you were one of a kind.

    1. P.S. It's great to have you back! All best...

  4. Well said, Muscato!

    The fact that she is still many people's favorite actress says something. Of course, beyond being an actress she was every bit the STAR. For better or worse.