While perusing Entertainment Weekly a couple weeks back over breakfast, I saw an ad for the new "Hollywood Royalty" Special Edition DVD of Mommie Dearest. Heidi and I about fell over -- finally, after being released as a bare bones DVD (trailer + photo gallery being the only special features on the original) it was getting the Special Edition treatment it deserves. Heidi and I love this movie for many of the same reasons many others do -- it's so bad it's good! It's probably the only reason to really watch that movie.
I can still remember the first time Heidi and I watched it. We were either very recently married or about to be married and we rented it one night on a whim because I remember it being on HBO as a kid and, of course, the scene that stuck with me was the infamous wire hangers scene, in which a mud-masked Joan Crawford beats Christina silly with wire hangers that she found in the closet. After the movie was over, Heidi made the comment that it was one of the most bathetic (no, not pathetic, although some might argue that as well) movie she had probably ever seen.
All that said, the movie itself is a complete and utter riot. Faye Dunaway completely overacts her way to a Razzie in this movie, and we love it completely. One evening we made the decision to watch "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" based on how much we loved Faye's characterization of Joan, only to be utterly disappointed by the real Joan, who (at least in that movie) didn't even come close to Faye's overdone portrayal. (Although the combination of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis did allow for some unintentionally hilarious scenes nevertheless -- "Hello, is this Johnson's? I'd like to order some liquor this is Jane Hudson.")
This DVD has a full length commentary and three featurettes which follow the film's journey from book to movie and its ultimate veneration as a cult classic. Conspicuously absent from any new interviews or the commentary track is Faye Dunaway, who pretty much doesn't want to discuss the movie in any way or form. This is truly a shame because it would be nothing less than fantastic to have her take on the movie and how it's gone from a movie that the studio thought would be a major Oscar contender the year it was released to unintentional comedy.
Although personally, I wouldn't have called this DVD the "Hollywood Royalty Edition." Everyone in their right mind knows this should have been the "Box Office Poison Edition."
Here's a couple of YouTube videos featuring Joan/Faye. The first one uses a great remix of Yaz's "State Farm" over the top clips of the real Joan Crawford in various movies and TV shows. The original version had clips of Mommie Dearest, but for some reason it was recut and uses only clips of the real Joan.
This one is a video mash-up of sorts. Mommie Dearest meets "Mamma Mia." Not much more needs to be said.