Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joan Crawford birthday tribute

March 23 marks the anniversary of Joan Crawford's birth, and TCM are marking the day by showing seven of her movies. I think I've recommended two of them before:

The Caretakers, airing at 2:45 PM ET. Crawford stars as the head nurse in a mental hospital where doctor Robert Stack is trying to introduce more "modern" methods over the objections of Crawford. It's fun, but not as campy as many of the other movies Crawford was making in the 1950s and 1960s; perhaps the highlight comes at the very beginning when an agitated Polly Bergen walks into a movie theater, and sees a newsreel full of stock images designed to drive somebody insane. Bergen obliges, ending up silhouetted against the movie screen.

Strait-Jacket follows at 4:30 PM. Here, Crawford plays the insane woman, one who just got out of the asylum after spending 20 years there following the axe-murder of her husband. Not long after she moves in with her daughter (Diane Baker), brother, and sister-in-law on the family farm, more axe murders start happening. Yes, Crawford wears that ghastly flower-print dress in the movie. Stay tuned for the closing credits as well.

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