Friday, May 24, 2024

Joan Crawford IS ‘Harriet Craig’ 1950

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In 1950’s “Harriet Craig,” that Ming vase strikes round greater than a planchette
on a Ouija board, a lot to her consternation! Joan Crawford calls it a ‘vah-z.’

Harriet
Craig
is a 1950 remake of George Kelly’s Pulitzer Prize successful
play Craig’s Spouse. It had been filmed
as a 1928 silent with Irene Wealthy and once more in ’36 with Rosalind Russell because the
house-proud witch of a spouse. Columbia borrowed WB director Vincent Sherman and
star Joan Crawford for this model.
Sherman had simply directed Joan Crawford to
good impact in 1950’s The Damned Do not
Cry
. They might additionally group for Goodbye,
My Fancy
straight after Harriet Craig.

My tackle “Harriet Craig” is a part of this blogathon Might 15-17!


Wendell Corey performs Walter Craig, whipped hubby of “Harriet Craig.”
Two guesses as what he’d love to do together with his spouse’s prized Ming!


I am undecided why
Kelly’s play received the Pulitzer, particularly from right now’s standpoint. The story of
a warped girl who cares for her residence like a museum, with a husband that she
treats like a pet, is watchable, does not supply a lot again story within the ’36
model. Craig’s Spouse is just one
hour and quarter-hour, in addition to the silent model, so I can solely assume the
play was the identical. Harriet Craig is
95 minutes, however feels extra in-depth because the movie focuses solely on her. The ’36
model’s supporting characters are so truncated that they barely get greater than
one scene. Rosalind Russell was thought of too younger for Harriet Craig. Why I
do not know, as a result of the character is meant to be newly married and whose
husband desires kids. The stage actresses who performed Harriet had been older and
so was Joan Crawford. Russell and John Boles do effectively because the ‘30s Craigs, and
Roz provides a managed efficiency, not going excessive as she might do later
in her profession.

Rosalind Russell, a 12 months youthful than Crawford,
performed “Craig’s Spouse” in 1936.


Together with Joan
Crawford as Harriet Craig, Wendell Corey is affable Walter Craig, Ok.T. Stevens
performs Harriet’s cousin Clare, Ellen Corby is nervous maid Lottie, Viola Roache
is housekeeper Mrs. Harold, Allyn Joslyn is Billy Birkmire, William Bishop is
Clare’s beau Wes, and Lucile Watson is the boss’ spouse. Vincent Sherman, an
underrated WB director, does a easy and classy job right here. Sheila O’Brien (deliberately?)
provides Crawford’s costumes a extreme uniform-type look.

Tempest in a tea cup: “Harriet Craig” berates maid Lottie for breaking a cup,
then the housekeeper for defending her. No shock that Harriet cannot hold assist!


Some movie followers and
critics suppose that the ebook and movie model of Mommie Dearest borrowed from Joan’s latter day movies akin to Harriet Craig. I can see that, however the
truth is studios typically blurred their stars’ photographs with actuality. MGM divas particularly
appeared to star in automobiles that mirrored their very own lives: Joan, Judy, Lana, and
Liz come to thoughts.

Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.”  On this scene, I half anticipated her to sprout fangs!


And although Harriet Craig follows the essential
construction as Craig’s Spouse, Joan
Crawford’s she-devil is within the particulars. Harriet
Craig
opens along with her family in a dither, as a result of she is making an
sudden journey. Joan’s Harriet has a youthful girl as her lady Friday to do
her bidding. Right here, it isn’t a loyal servant, however her cousin Clare. Joan’s “MGM
English” is on full show when she calls her Clar-uh. Every part just isn’t going Harriet’s means, so she is brittle
and bossy. Mrs. Craig should have her make-up
equipment and cousin alongside for every week’s go to. No, Harriet’s not selling a movie or
Pepsi, however visiting her mom at a psychological establishment. Hubby Walter comes residence
early, regardless of an essential challenge, but Harriet provides him her patented
passive/aggressive browbeating about how she should make do for herself,
asking the place he’s bean. That is the
couple’s first separation in almost 4 years of marriage. Can Mr. Craig survive
every week on his personal? He is virtually 40, together with his childhood housekeeper to assist, plus
a maid. Most significantly, there’s Harriet to investigate cross-check him.

Joan as “Harriet Craig,” bringing items to her mom in an establishment.
Neurotic Harriet might use a go to there, herself!


On the asylum, the mom
is nice however unresponsive to Harriet’s fervid attentions. Although it looks like
Harriet simply arrived, supposedly every week has passed by earlier than Harriet talks to the
director. Harriet appears uncomfortable speaking about her household’s dysfunction.
In a speech that appears lifted from Crawford’s personal life, Harriet bitterly
recounts the daddy that left them and the way she needed to give up college and work in a
laundry. Afterward, Harriet finds out from Clare that no person appears to be
on the Craig abode, and instantly decides to go away. On the practice, Clare
confides of her crush on Walter’s work pal, Wes. Harriet explains to her niece
about her means of married life: males are to be “educated,” not trusted. Crawford
and Ok.T. Stevens, who clearly look their age at age 44 and 31, are at odds with
their characters’ conditions in life. Harriet took her cousin Clare in when her
dad and mom died. So, when did she take her
in? Stevens, mature in type, appears silly because the naïve younger factor. Joan’s
Harriet, speaking about her 4 12 months marriage with Walter makes one marvel what
she did with the opposite 20 years of her life!

When Cousin Clare cannot attain anyone on the Craig home, Harriet decides to bail
on visiting Mom, and high-tail it again residence. From 1950’s “Harriet Craig.”


Why any actress would
need to play this unrelenting shrew, in an finally pointless story, is
past me. That Joan Crawford sought this position out is unusual. Even by 1950,
her demand for perfection and order was well-known and a part of her persona. Did
she suppose Harriet Craig was only a
juicy position? Or was Joan Crawford drawn to the position as a result of it spoke to her personal
expertise?

When Mr. & Mrs. Craig lastly have it out, spouse Harriet’s rationale hardly charges
any sympathy for her hard-bitten character. Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.”


As soon as director Sherman
and star Joan had been on board, some Crawford-isms had been added to the combination. When
everybody’s flying round in a tizz to get Harriet off to the practice station, you
half anticipate to see Joan’s actual maid Mamacita run in with the tissue paper for
packing garments. Completely packed and on schedule made me consider Crawford’s
late-life ebook, My Approach of Life. As soon as
she’s gone, beleaguered maid Lottie feedback that Harriet’s not specific,
she’s peculiar. The maid says that Harriet would wrap up her total home in
cellophane, which made me consider Joan’s later plastic lined furnishings, curtains,
and plastic flowers!

When Hurricane “Harriet Craig” is out of the assistance’s hair, they’ll let down their hair!


Harriet Craig
is formally the movie the place Joan started to look onerous. Whereas just a little of it
creeps up in Flamingo Highway and The Damned Don’t Cry (wanting good, however
too outdated for these roles), Harriet Craig
finds Joan wanting fairly forbidding. The make-up masks is pronounced and would
change into much more exaggerated all through the ‘50s. Shoulder pads and extreme
tailor-made garments had been on their means out, however not for Crawford. Joan had many
unflattering quick hairdos by way of the following decade, however Harriet Craig had the worst hair: quick, slicked, with tiny little
waves that made her like Bob’s Huge Boy. A disgrace, since Joan sported a trim
determine and very good bone construction right here.

You’d make this face, if you happen to had this hair do! Because the title character in 1950’s
“Harriet Craig,” that is presumably the worst hair do of Joan Crawford’s movie profession.


Who wore the hair greatest? Bob’s “Huge Boy” or “Harriet Craig?”

Crawford’s
Harriet smiles perhaps twice, each instances to persuade her husband. The remainder of the
time Joan’s sad housewife provides everybody the deep freeze along with her grim masks
of disapproval. Allan Joslyn as playboy pal of Harriet’s hubby will get to react
hilariously to her disdain. You need to rise up and applaud when the
housekeeper lastly tells her off. And the large second is when Harriet’s husband
lastly has had it with Harriet’s lies and manipulations.

Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.” Right here, the housewife from hell makes hubby’s pal
 really feel sooo welcome! 
In a uncommon second of levity, Allyn Joslyn comically melts beneath the withering gaze
of Joan Crawford’s “Harriet Craig.”

With
Joan’s different ‘50s bitch roles, they’re campy sufficient the place you possibly can get pleasure from them
on a number of ranges, amused when no person will get the higher of Joan at her bitchiest,
like Torch Track, Queen Bee, or Feminine on the
Seaside
. However there’s not humor right here, simply exhaustion, from that piece of labor,
Harriet Craig.

The onerous make-up, extreme hair type, and uniform-style costumes counsel many issues,
 however not an higher center class housewife! Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.”


Your
sympathies are towards the servants as they’re despatched packing. Even the naïve
cousin can’t keep away from seeing Harriet’s lies and packs it in. And eventually, Walter
Craig finds out one manipulative lie too many and their marriage is as past
restore as Harriet’s priceless Ming vase—sorry—vah-z. By the way in which, Crawford’s longtime pal, actor turned designer
Billy Haines designed Harriet’s residence, which is why it seems like a mid-century film
star temple!

Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.” Right here, she cooks up one in all her most manipulative
 schemes. That is Ok.T. Stevens as Cousin Clare, foot servant to Harriet!


Apart
from the drill sergeant precision with which Harriet runs her residence, neither she
nor its occupants are ever relaxed. Harriet additionally makes time to control different
individuals’s lives, if it helps her preserve the established order in hers. She manufacturers the
widow neighbor as a flirty schemer. When Walter will get a work-related stint in
Japan, Harriet throws her hubby beneath the bus to get his boss to have him keep
residence. Harriet additionally lies about Walter’s co-worker, who’s severe about Clare.
Because the housekeeper wryly says to the maid, if Clare left, Harriet would solely
have two servants! This film might
have been referred to as All About Harriet.

The few instances Joan Crawford cracks a smile as “Harriet Craig” is when her character
 is manipulating husband Walter, genially performed by Wendell Corey.


Watching
Harriet act out each time one thing goes outdoors her inflexible sport plan is trigger
for drama: hubby’s late night time card sport in her absence; a damaged tea cup; a dinner
visitor who asks to play playing cards along with her husband; and plenty of different actions that she
sees as offenses.

Lucile Watson’s a delight because the spouse of Walter Craig’s boss. Right here, she cheats at playing cards
 and throws off the regimented occasion plan of “Harriet Craig.” With Wendell Corey.


Harriet Craig
is price a watch as soon as. Joan Crawford definitely provides her all, as regular. This Harriet is completely about Joan and he or she
makes probably the most of it. Sadly, it doesn’t really feel like Crawford the movie goddess is
solely appearing because the domineering home goddess. Wendell Corey, who might play
each good and unhealthy guys effectively, is most genial and likeable right here. He additionally had the
most piercing blue eyes, very efficient for dramatic scenes. As Walter Craig,
he’s most adoring and doting towards his spouse. The supporting solid may be very
good, as every of them tangle with Harriet, and flee. Lucile Watson is a delight
as regular, because the boss’ spouse who has Harriet’s quantity.

Joan Crawford as “Harriet Craig.” In mid-career, Joan appeared to have staircase showdowns with youthful actresses. At the very least Ok.T. Stevens does not get slapped!


Whereas
Harriet Craig did modestly on the field
workplace, I can’t think about why post-WWII audiences would have flocked to see a 40-something
star taking part in a domineering dame in a sterile cleaning soap opera. Harriet Craig is extra a Crawford curiosity than a camp basic.

Right here’s
my in-depth take a look at Crawford’s profession greatest: https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2020/03/how-joan-crawford-became-mildred-pierce.html
 

“A chair remains to be a chair, even when there is no one sitting there.” The finale of “Harriet Craig,” when she’s lastly pushed everyone out of her home, together with her husband.


 



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