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Joan Crawford as housewife from hell, "Harriet Craig!" 1950

Harriet Craig is a highly polished 1950 remake of George Kelly's Pulitzer Prize winning play Craig's Wife, all about a demanding domestic goddess and the havoc she wreaks. Columbia borrowed WB star Joan Crawford & director Vincent Sherman for this version. This one plays to the image of Joan's perfectionism & personal style, to the extent it feels like you're watching a home movie! This housewife Harriet's home is designed by Billy Haines, with demonstrations in precision packing, and treating the man in your life like one of your beleaguered staff. The ingredient lacking from Joan's other '50s camp fests is humor, THIS Craig & Crawford are deadly serious. My look here:

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by Anonymousreply 41May 18, 2024 12:08 PM

Available on Tubi...

by Anonymousreply 1May 15, 2024 1:39 AM

Fun movie, I kept hoping Joan would haul off & slap the old, biddy housekeeper.

by Anonymousreply 2May 15, 2024 1:45 AM

Remake of Craig's Wife, no?

by Anonymousreply 3May 15, 2024 1:46 AM

An awesome film with great performances and a subject matter that was ahead of the time.

JC made some great films in the 1950s

by Anonymousreply 4May 15, 2024 2:02 AM

Harriet Craig, a devoted wife and accomplished homemaker deliberately and willfully sabotages her husbands career.

by Anonymousreply 5May 15, 2024 2:07 AM

Her face and head say evil woman

by Anonymousreply 6May 15, 2024 2:07 AM

It was indeed deadly serious, I wanted Joan to hurry up and get these people out of her house since you could see the ending from Mars. But I appreciated the earnestness.

by Anonymousreply 7May 15, 2024 2:09 AM

Chrystal Herne...the *first* Harriet Craig

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by Anonymousreply 8May 15, 2024 2:15 AM

[quote]Remake of Craig's Wife, no?

Yes, r3.

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by Anonymousreply 9May 15, 2024 2:18 AM

Here's a copy of "Harriet Craig" from YouTube.

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by Anonymousreply 10May 15, 2024 2:23 AM

Played in the 1947 revival by Judith (Miss Lonely-Hearts/The Tingler/Martha Mason) Evelyn.

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by Anonymousreply 11May 15, 2024 2:23 AM

One of my favorite Joan vehicles. Needs a Blu-ray release along with Autumn Leaves

by Anonymousreply 12May 15, 2024 2:27 AM

I actually really like the film of "Craig's Wife" with Rosalind Russell. It's much more plausible (and chilling) than "Harriet Craig," which is only really plausible as camp.

Pauline Kael thought "Ordinary People" was a kind of remake of both films.

by Anonymousreply 13May 15, 2024 2:34 AM

[quote]Pauline Kael thought "Ordinary People" was a kind of remake of both films.

Hah! I was about to mention that in my post. Kael said the ending was so false, Beth would NEVER leave that house.

by Anonymousreply 14May 15, 2024 2:43 AM

No one else before or since has worn that bizarre hairdo.

by Anonymousreply 15May 15, 2024 2:51 AM

Wrong, r15.

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by Anonymousreply 16May 15, 2024 2:57 AM

Anyone here seen Female on the Beach? My ex liked it.

by Anonymousreply 17May 15, 2024 3:02 AM

That same 'do did wonders for Bob's Big Boy!

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by Anonymousreply 18May 15, 2024 11:15 AM

Thanks for posting about this movie. I just watched it for the first time. What a movie! They don't make them like this anymore.

by Anonymousreply 19May 15, 2024 11:28 AM

One of several really cool older films produced by Jerry Wald. Some of Joan’s most masterful bitchcraft was captured by these Wald productions. And the technology of the era is precise enough to capture the images well, so watching them is like using a Time Machine to see the style and mannerisms of that post war era.

The number of films produced by Wild is impressive. He died at only 50.

Crawford’s highly stylized “mannered” acting of this era is all pretty delicious. All “gowns and frowns” and “frank insincerity”. She renders most of the other actors basically invisible.

by Anonymousreply 20May 15, 2024 11:32 AM

Gowns and frowns sums it up perfectly! "Harriet Craig" is like a time capsule of another way of life, a style of acting, etc. Though this "Harriet" was reshaped into a star vehicle for Crawford, I think the supporting cast is terrific, too. Ellen Corby as poor Lottie! Wendell Corey's genial husband, Walter. And Lucile Watson, as the boss' wife who has Harriet's number. Also love the showdown between the husband's beloved housekeeper and Mrs. Craig!

by Anonymousreply 21May 15, 2024 11:50 AM

Haven't seen it in years but remember the ending falling flat.

We, the audience, are supposed to pity Harriet for driving everyone away and being alone but to thst character, that ending is pure bliss. Everyone out that damn house always causing a ruckus and such.

by Anonymousreply 22May 15, 2024 12:02 PM

Wald also gave us The Best Of Everything and Joan’s character, Amanda Farrow, has it all going on except for maybe horns and a tail. I wish there was an archive of her scenes that didn’t make it into the film’s final edit.

Later, in the late 60’s, Joan still dominates the screen with as much control as she could manage. They used key lights and triangular shadows, “dairy whip” hairpieces to add height, giant chunky necklaces to camouflage her neck and frame that face and “yard wide smile” (quoted because I think I read that phrase in Movieline’s column Bad Movies We Love”).

Michael Weldon’s awesome volume, The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, acknowledges Joan for “managing to out yell the other actors” in films like Berserk. Great stuff.

by Anonymousreply 23May 15, 2024 12:12 PM

Not knowing Joan Crawford personally, this role didn't seem to be a stretch for her, at all. She sure had a great screen presence. Yes it was campy and fun to see what would happen next. That husband was a saint, of a sort. I thought the ending was great, nicely understated.

by Anonymousreply 24May 15, 2024 12:12 PM

Thanks for the thread, OP! Love this later JC vehicle - the scene on the train where she schools her protege on how to train men is just classic Joan. Also love Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton) as the terrified maid.

by Anonymousreply 25May 15, 2024 12:53 PM

Ellen Corby was a really interesting character actress. She was cast as the chirpy killer in Caged, another Jerry Wald production. These older films are full of cool characters, often females with a strong presence, portrayed by actresses like our Joan, Agnes Moorhead, and others like them. Hope Emerson was another example. Physically and psychologically “giant”.

by Anonymousreply 26May 15, 2024 1:16 PM

I thought I'd seen this but would've sworn Fredric March played the husband.

by Anonymousreply 27May 15, 2024 1:19 PM

R24 definitely. Wendell Corey played that character with all this warmth and sincerity, and he was so earnest as a presence on camera. His scenes are generally very touching. Watching his character being fed to Joan’s is like an early documentary on the Everglades. Joan was like an alligator, but with perfect styling and lighting.

by Anonymousreply 28May 15, 2024 1:26 PM

Do we know Walter Craig's precise profession?

The best thing about the movie is the Haines' bourgeois lux decor. And 2 maids! Sheesh.

by Anonymousreply 29May 15, 2024 1:33 PM

The scene where Joan's Harriet near-silently breaks hubby's best pal's ball is genuinely funny, watching Allyn Joslyn react is a hoot!

by Anonymousreply 30May 15, 2024 1:43 PM

Intro and Outro to "Harriet Craig" by David Inman for TCM's dull boy, Ben M., whose uncle had a thing with Joan back at Metro!

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by Anonymousreply 31May 15, 2024 1:53 PM

I've seen this several times, possibly on MoviesTV. It's one of those films, for me, that when I catch it while channel surfing, I can't stop watching.

I love the boss's wife Celia Fenwick, played by Lucille Watson, who correctly gets Harriet's number from the very beginning, and is savvy enough to see through HC's attempt to torpedo HC's husband's career.

And all the stuff with the sofa and THE VASE.

by Anonymousreply 32May 15, 2024 3:04 PM

Here's Joan as Harriet with a rationale for her harridan ways that seems like a page out of Crawford's own life story, which happened often in JC movies!

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by Anonymousreply 33May 15, 2024 3:18 PM

[quote]And all the stuff with the sofa and THE VASE.

Right? Why would the precious symbolic VASE always be in the wrong place, too close to the edge of the mantel? Passive aggressive maid?

by Anonymousreply 34May 15, 2024 3:19 PM

R33 When she calls her father a "fat old fool" the way she spits out 'fat' is priceless. I bet Joan hated fat.

by Anonymousreply 35May 15, 2024 3:26 PM

Love your reviews, Rick

by Anonymousreply 36May 15, 2024 3:47 PM

R33, what a perfect clip! Crawford's depth of anger, its sheer ferocity, is almost palpable. Then the quick shift to sadness; I suspect this was very close to the real Crawford.

by Anonymousreply 37May 15, 2024 3:59 PM

(37) I think so, too!

by Anonymousreply 38May 15, 2024 5:41 PM

Female on the Beach is my favorite JC film. I dislike Mildred Pierce.

by Anonymousreply 39May 15, 2024 9:32 PM

Next, on "I Married Joan," a little lesson in marriage as a transaction!

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by Anonymousreply 40May 18, 2024 10:43 AM

I watched it. Her character was a master manipulator, able to spin in a different direction on a dime.

by Anonymousreply 41May 18, 2024 12:08 PM
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