Posts tagged: joan crawford

Have A Smoke!

Two of our favorite people here at Rancid Popcorn, Ronald Reagan and Joan Crawford, sure know how to take care of loved ones at Christmastime:

reagan chesterfield

Crawford Luckystrike

The Bit I Like More Than Maybe I Should #5: Record, Meet Match

Strait-Jacket (William Castle, 1964)

The William Castle Collection has been recently released on DVD by Sony, reminding me of a bit in Strait-Jacket that I enjoy to an indefensible level.

Joan Crawford – our Joan, All-American Joan, self-debasing as a first instinct Joan – plays Lucy Harbin, a woman released from the nut house twenty years after chopping her philandering husband to death. The film chronicles Lucy’s perilous attempts to reintegrate with her family and reclaim a normal life, free of axe murders. She’s still at least a little nutters, chipper and zestful one moment, nervous and depressed the next.

Any resemblance between this film and Psycho 2 is completely predictable.


Joan happily taps in time to a dance record.




She sashays over for a cigarette, bopping to the beat.



She manages to fumble out a cancer stick, but fails to get a match to light on the cup in front of her. No matter, she slides back over to the record player…



…and strikes it on the spinning record, knocking the needle off and stopping the music. She scarcely notices.




Sixty-something year old Joan flashes a lot of leg at her visitor.


Why not some knitting? While holding the cigarette? What don’t I love about this?




Records, matches, ciggies, knitting. Joan’s a national treasure, and I don’t want to hear any more about it.

MIA On R1 DVD #7: Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)

Johnny Guitar is ostensibly a western, starring Miss Joan Crawford as Vienna, owner of a remote bar/casino who is about to see patience pay off when the railroad comes through. The mean local businessmen want to run her off and control all the railroad windfalls for themselves. They run a succession of guns and plots against her.

A western sure, but one stood on it’s head. This is a fight to the death between the two toughest SOBs in town, who both happen to be women. Joan’s mortal enemy is Emma Small, played by Mercedes McCambridge, who for all her foam at the mouth hatred for Vienna also looks to be more than a little in love with her.

Contrast this with the menfolk – Sterling Hayden as a gunslinger who’d rather play guitar in saloons for money is Vienna’s best hope for some backup. Her second-best hope is an outlaw called The Dancing Kid. If the film were any less subtle, these boys would also be big needlepoint enthusiasts.

So, transgressive to be sure, frequently jaw-dropping, and lovingly crafted by Nicholas Ray. And Joan is…well, some sort of elemental being. You could go further down her resume – she ends up much more firmly in the grasp of Gorgonism and parody in things like Queen Bee and Strait Jacket – but I think this is far enough to take a step back and gape at her career. How did this creature…

(predicting Madonna!)
…become this creature?
I don’t know if Joan’s a great actress or not, but she’s a great something, and Johnny Guitar needs to be readily available on DVD. There’s at least a couple R2 european editions, but my British one is a little sucky, and I don’t think the others are much better. The ball’s in Lionsgate’s court, and they don’t seem remotely interested in hitting it back.

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