It has been an adventurous and busy 2 weeks but I am back...at least physically, mentally on the other hand....:) So this week, at Wandering Through The Shelves, it’s about Bad Parents and I am finding this week tough maybe because I had great parents. My hubby, on the other hand, had a disgusting father so I tried to channel through my hubby. Let’s hope I picked the right movies, but I think I did.
1. BROKEN BLOSSOMS-1919
I saw this many years ago and did snicker a bit because it’s pretty blatant with the stereotype of Asian people. The film was directed by D.W. Griffith who was Southern with a fond look at the old ways of the South. The film stars his muse, Lillian Gish, who never wavered in her loyalty for this man, as an abused daughter of a low life parent, played by Donald Crisp. He routinely beats her and abuses her mentally as well. One particular day, she faints from hunger. Enter an opium addicted Chinese man, played by Richard Barthlemess, who works at a Chinese store (he is often referred to, lovingly I might add, as Chinky, by Ms. Gish's character), who finds her and takes her to his place to help her heal. He falls in love with her and she has affection for him by making herself smile-placing her fingers on each end of her mouth to make an upward grin. Despite the obvious dated racism, it is a tender love story that can never be and Donald Crisp is excellent as the brutal father.
Yes, this is a TV Miniseries but this made such an impression on me that I had to include it. It placed Sally Field on the map as a serious actress which helped her get get Norma Rae etc... She plays Sybil, a young woman with many split personalities who finally gets the help from a psychiatrist played by Joanne Woodward. Sybil’s mother, to say the least, is one of the worst human beings who abused her daughter in horrendous ways. The only way Sybil could deal with the disgusting abuse was to break into different personalities. When she tied her daughter onto the kitchen table, the green walls stuck with me and made me never to want any green in the kitchen. A well acted, and written film that just leaves you in stunned silence. Sally Field gave a tour de force performance and is a must see.
3. MOMMIE DEAREST-1980
Joan Crawford was a good actress and a lousy human being overall. She had many “querks” to say the least, abusing her husbands, creating mayhem on the set especially if she felt she was being upstaged by another actress (read about Mercedes McCambridge). She was well known to have what we now called OCD, she cleaned her hands until they were almost raw and, if a hotel suite was not to her exact cleanliness, she would get down on her hands and knees and scrub the floors herself. She never had her own children ( the theory ranges from an inability to have kids due to a botched abortion to her not wanting to ruin her figure). She adopted Christina, a boy and the “twins” even though they were not twins at all. She was given a “Mother of the Year” award which makes me laugh and shake my head since she was a horrible mother. This film is based on a book written by Christina and it’s is one book that I tend to believe actually happened since I have read so many other books on this actress. It is a campy film with an over the top performance by Faye Dunaway and everyone knows about the hanger scene. I recommend the movie even if it is quite campy but it is highly entertaining. Despite all the negative things known about Crawford, one thing that came to light after she died, was that she paid for a hospital room in Texas, I believe, for people who were too poor to afford medical stay. She paid for it all without anyone knowing which is no small feat for a woman who loved the attention of her fans.
What films would you choose?