Thursdays in June
“I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.” – Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford’s extraordinary career encompassed over 45 years and some 80 films. Her long reign as a Hollywood icon began when she was spotted in a chorus line by MGM and signed by the studio as an ingénue in the silent era. She rose to superstardom in the 1930s playing relatable, upwardly mobile, sometimes gritty working girls, only to be named “box office poison” by the end of the decade. Things took a decidedly upward turn after leaving MGM and signing on with Warner Brothers in the early 1940s, where a new Crawford persona emerged in numerous melodramas and noirs: tough, intelligent, often neurotic and sometimes ruthless, but also vulnerable – a career makeover that culminated in her Academy Award-winning performance in Mildred Pierce (1945). After this brief period of success, Crawford’s career declined once again, and ever the savvy businesswoman, she left Warners and embarked on a new journey as a freelance actress, leading to a string of glossy 1950s melodramas and thrillers, including Sudden Fear (1952), which earned Crawford her third Oscar nomination as Best Actress. This ‘50s phase of Crawford’s stunning career also brought her a devoted camp following, thanks to a series of outrageous and iconic camp classics in which her highly-stylized look and demeanor turned otherwise “normal” films into deliriously over-the-top extravaganzas, a phase which led to the beloved 1962 camp fest, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, co-starring her off-screen rival, Bette Davis. Crawford retired from the spotlight in the 1970s, but her uncanny ability to continually reinvent herself, and her steadfast persistence in the face of Hollywood’s ageism and sexism, cemented her reputation as one of the industry’s true survivors, and she was later named as one of the Top 10 greatest female stars of Hollywood’s golden age by the American Film Institute. This June, The Loft Cinema pays tribute to Hollywood’s Queen of Camp with a gloriously over-the-top collection of spectacular Crawford Camp Classics!