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?
We match on Mommie Dearest! Ugh, Sybil. I'll never forget her being tied to the piano and wetting her pants. I was forced to watch that when I was a kid and that movie just confused me. Sally Field was tremendous in it though.ReplyDelete
Ick! You were forced? That’s a shame because it is a tough film and I was you;g as well and it made an impression on me. Mommie Dearest is the big one this weekDelete
Broken Blossoms is a tremendous choice! It is wildly racist now but put into the context of the time it was made did really try and say something about the situation. Gish is amazing and heartrending. I love Donald Crisp and he's usually the soul of humanity so it was both interesting and disturbing to see him as such a warped person in this.ReplyDelete
Ugh Sybil, such a tough watch-and read the book is compelling-but Sally Field is so brilliant. Her performance is amazingly varied.
Joan Crawford was a complicated woman and no doubt not the best parent around-though "the twins" speak glowingly of her-but much of Christina Crawford's book has been discredited. Still she shouldn't have had children. Dunaway is fierce and frightening in the role.
Many choices this week which provided a breather after last week's narrow ones.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)-At the Korean War’s conclusion a group of American prisoners return home including Captain Marco (Frank Sinatra) and Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) who though thoroughly disliked by the men is hailed by them as a hero for vague reasons. Upon his arrival Raymond is met by his mother Eleanor Iselin (a mesmerizing Angela Lansbury) a political dragon and completely soulless monster who has internecine plans and has had Raymond brainwashed as an unknowing assassin to accomplish them. Marco senses something foul is afoot and tries to intervene before it’s too late.
The Anniversary (1968)-Though widowed a decade ago Mrs. Taggart (Bette Davis) insists on her three sons and their families commemorating the event at the family mansion where she proceeds to shred their self-worth by taunting them with secrets she has discovered and savagely holds over them to hold them in her thrall. Bette as the one eyed Mrs. Taggart (she has designer eyepatches in colors matching her outfits!) has a whale of a time raising hell and chewing scenery right and left.
Matilda (1996)-Adaptation of Roald Dahl story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a brilliant young girl plagued by her crude, coarse often vicious father (Danny DeVito) and mother (Rhea Perlman). On top of that Matilda is also tormented by Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the evil principal of her school, a terrifyingly strict bully. When Matilda realizes she has telekinetic powers the tables turn and she begins to defend her friends from Trunchbull's wrath and fight back against her unkind parents.
I’m so glad you like my Gish choice since this was the first one to pop into my head. Christina does have issues herself but her adopted brother shares her abuse at Crawford’s hands. Crawford was not a simple gal...very complicated and someone I never would want to know. Love your choice of the Manchurian Candidate...that mother is vile and Mrs. Fletcher gave a stellar performance! I have not seen the other 2 but would love to see the Bette Davis film.Delete
Never saw Broken Blossoms, although I do enjoy silent films. If the white girl and an Asian fell in love, it must have been a controversial little flick in its day. It probably would have been more acceptable to contemporary audiences if a white man and an Asian women hooked up.ReplyDelete
"Woman," not "women!" Stupid typos.Delete
You are right but this film was a success since DW Griffith was the Spielberg of his day.Delete
D.W. Griffith, highly racist? You don't say... (You've seen Birth of a Nation, right? Talk about racist...)ReplyDelete
I attempted to read the book Sybil when I was a kid. Couldn't get through it. (My mother had the book.)
Did you see the series Feud from last year? It was all about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Fascinating stuff. If you haven't seen it, you should totally look for it.
Oh yes, I have seen Birth and it is just jaw dropping that the KKK are the heroes! Blecchhhh. I never read the Sibyl book but the film is chilling. I would love to see Feud and need to rent it to watch.Delete
Hi Birgit - interesting to have the 1919 film up ... but have to say I don't really do these sorts of films ... not a parent - perhaps says why, but I'm sure I could learn - cheers HilaryReplyDelete
Oh, I am not a parent and am glad about that but these films are good. I would say to watch Sibyl or read the book.Delete
I studied many silent films in my college course on cinema history including some with Lillian Gish, my favorite actress of the silent era, but I never even heard of Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man And The Girl. Lil's eyes are so expressive in that clip, aren't they? It is a sweet and tender scene. A girl and a movie that immediately come to mind after being introduced to that tale of forbidden love is one that I saw in 1965 upon its release - A Patch of Blue - starring Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman as a white blind girl and Shelley Winters as the girl's mother, an abusive alcoholic hooker who, as you might expect, disapproves of the girl's infatuation with an older black man.
I saw your other two featured films, Sybil and Mommie Dearest, years ago when they were released and enjoyed both.
Thank you for visiting SDMM today, dear friend BB. I invite you to return tomorrow when I will be observing an important blogging milestone, one that I look forward to sharing with my best blog friends including you. Thank you very much!
The almost century old film is quite good as long as you can get by the racist remarks that, at the time, were considered nice! I haven’t seen Patch of Blue and would like to see this. I’m glad to have visited your blog and congrats on the 10 years.Delete
I haven't seen any of these.ReplyDelete
Maybe, one day, you will as love to read your reviewDelete
I've never seen any of these, except the end of "Mommie Dearest" where Christina learns she was disinherited and plots revenge, and just now the "No more wire hangers!" scene. As for movies with lousy parents, the only one I can think of is "Kramer Vs. Kramer."ReplyDelete
Kramer vs Kramer is excellent since the mother leaves her child to go find herself...really!?Delete
I try to stay away from these movies because I find them too depressing.ReplyDelete
They are depressing especially Broken BlossomsDelete
Sybil was the movie that had me realize how brilliant of an actress Sally Fields is.ReplyDelete
I agree and thought the same thing about Sally FieldDelete
Mother's Boys popped in. But yeah, a lot of these movies are either creepy or depressing.ReplyDelete
I haven’t even heard of this film...need to check it out.Delete
I always liked Sally Field, never saw this one thoughReplyDelete
I hope you will, one day.Delete
I recently saw the film The Florida Project which portrays some arguable "bad" parents--or at least parents lacking the resources to take care of their kids properly. I really liked the film though most people who I've talked to who had watched the film (not many) didn't much care for the film or even hated it.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out
I still have to see The Florida Project but know about it. Good choice!Delete
Mommie Dearest is popular today, and with good reason. Haven't seen your other two picks, though.ReplyDelete
Mommie Dearest wins top spot!Delete
Joel's mention of 'The Manchurian Candidate' and Shady's mention of 'A Patch Of Blue' are both good choices.ReplyDelete
I had trouble coming up with a movie in which BOTH parents are bad. But I did think of...
'ORDINARY PEOPLE' -- in which the mother (Mary Tyler Moore) was bad, in that she was cold and cared more about what "others" might think than she cared about her own son.
'LOVE & MERCY' -- the story of Brian Wilson, the mastermind behind The Beach Boys, whose father was jealous and manipulative.
And then finally, I came up with a movie in which a mom AND a dad were bad, but they were the parents of two different kids...
'A LITTLE ROMANCE' -- The boy's father was a cheating slob, and the girl's mother was a stupid bimbo. Great, great movie, BTW. One of my really big favorites!!
Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...
Manchuria is a great choice but still have to see the Poitier film. I still have to see Ordinary People but know so much about the film. The other 2 films are now on my lis5 to see.Delete
Never heard of the first two and haven’t seen Mommie Dearest. Situation normal!ReplyDelete
Hahahaaaa. Maybe you will read the book SybilDelete
I've never heard of the first two, and know very little about the last. As usual, I've seen none of these.ReplyDelete
Hey, you are right on track!Delete
There's no arguing with these - probably the ones that come to mind for me are less extreme, but it makes me sad to think how very vast a field there is on this topic.ReplyDelete
Yes...this topic is huge and can go in so many directionsDelete
I just don't get people adopting children then not loving and caring for them.ReplyDelete
We're glad to have you back:)
Thank you so much! I agree and have seen people who foster kids and not care about the kids but only about the money they make when they do foster. This is also disgustingDelete
Sybil I remember, but I was just a kid.ReplyDelete
Hi blue! Yes, Sybil is such a excellent film and horrific.Delete
Watching movies about bad parents, especially those resulting in such horrific acts against a child really isn't genre I enjoy. I do recall seeing "Sybil" when I was a kid and it deeply moved me. Sally Fields did a fabulous job portraying a deeply troubled young lady. It's sad to realize that these sorts of things that some must contend with.
OMG SYBIL! What a monster that woman was! And Sally Field is SO good in it.ReplyDelete
Obviously we match on Mommie Dearest, which may be hokum but... WOW was she HORRIBLE (but Faye was great playing her!)
I loved the book Mommie Dearest, but I don't think I've ever seen the movie. I enjoy true crime documentaries, so there's no shortage of bad parents there--Small Sacrifices, for one. But as for fiction? Hmm, the stepfather is a good one, based on the true story of John List.ReplyDelete
Any of the Psychos (do they count, when Norman's mother is already dead?), Amityville Horror, The Shining...horror movies are filled with bad parents.