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Sunday, April 10th, 2005

Joan Crawford and Ida Lupino-The Queens of Noir

POSSESSED (1947) Warner Bros.
Joan Crawford racked up another Oscar nomination (she won for MILDRED PIERCE in 1945) for playing a woman driven to insanity by her obsessive unrequited love.  Van Heflin is the lover who rejects her and tries to move on with his life.  This is really a great performance from Joan Crawford and this particular film is rarely screened. 

The sad truth is that due to “Mommie Dearest” Joan Crawford is only remembered as an alcoholic abusive mother.  While I certainly don’t claim to know about her home life, I know that there was much more to the woman than the charicature she has become.  She was hard working and talented.  One film critic said, “You will NEVER find a single piece of film with Joan Crawford slumming.”  He’s right.  You won’t.  She always gave 100%.  She also managed to have a career that spanned from the silent era starting in 1925 until her final role in 1975.  That’s a 50 year career!  She managed to evolve and change with the times. She outlasted almost all of her contemporaries.  She worked with some of the greatest actors and directors in Hollywood history.  Joan Crawford deserves to be remembered for her professional accomplishments and not her personal problems.  Just my opinion though.

THE MAN I LOVE (1946) Warner Bros.
Directed by Raoul Walsh
As a lonely torch singer, Ida Lupino sizzles amidst the smoky nightclubs and romantic backdrop of post WWII Los Angeles.  This film is part noir, part melodrama, part romance and pure Classic Hollywood at it’s best.
Ida Lupino’s character comes to town from New York to visit her family and manages to solve all of their problems but creates her own in the process.  She falls in love with a fellow musician and their doomed affair sends her back on the road.  According to the program notes, this film inspired Martin Scorsese to make NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

I love both Ida Lupino and Joan Crawford.  They were tough smart women who can still light up the screen.  They were made for noir.  Fortunately due to the efforts of film preservation, their faces will continue to brighten up the back streets, dark alleys and smoky nightclubs forever frozen in time as the ultimate dark city dames.



Written by Karie (site owner) on 04/10 at 02:56 AM

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