Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 9, 2017



Crawford did a late sixties interview for the BBC which covered her entire career and her thoughts on current movies and performers. At first Joan seemed a bit guarded and not relaxed, and complained how the British seemed obsessed with age (apparently some reporters came right out and bluntly asked her how old she was). "I know some people think there are very few things before my time," she said. She relaxed a bit more as the interview with the young admiring host continued, although when she answered a question she didn't always really answer the question, but said -- as stars are wont to do -- what she wanted to say. She talked admiringly of Bette Davis and said she enjoyed working with her on Baby Jane, calling Davis a "fascinating actress" but saying they really hadn't had time to become friends. She was, however, close friends with Barbara Stanwyck, whom the interviewer compared to her, pleasing Joan. Joan apologized in a way for making negative comments about Liz Taylor's personal life, but praised her acting skills, and said, next to Gable, John Garfield was her most dynamic co-star. Joan said that "I never had a sense of humor about myself until I worked with George Cukor." During the interview she is friendly, smiles, makes amusing comments and reacts to same, but it still comes off, understandably considering her years in front of the camera, as if it's another performance. and while it may not be fair to say she is humorless, she is,as mentioned, holding herself in warily. She expresses the wish that pictures had more romance and glamor, and suggests that Warren Beatty is ornery, while admiring Natalie Wood, whom she feels hasn't reached her potential, that there was no longer any help or guidance for actors as in the studio days. Joan talks affectionately of Lionel Barrymore, but while admiring his genius, admits that John Barrymore could be difficult while making Grand Hotel. Basically Joan is ever the professional, and the interview, while not that probing, is a good one. It probably didn't hurt that Joan seems to like the kind of cute interviewer.

Verdict: Joan talks! ***.


angelman66 said...

I remember well this interview...yes, Miss Crawford is more than a little grand and imperious and Queen Bee here. So much fun to watch, though!! But it does solidify the persona of Joan as something of a bitch, don't you think, Bill??

William said...

I think "guarded" would be a better word. I think if she had wanted to she could have mopped up the floor with the fawning puppy dog interviewer -- she was restraining herself at times! Everyone in the London press had been asking her how old she was and to a woman of that age in that era ... !

But you're right that the interview might have created the "bitch" impression, and probably did.