Like the ambitious, upwardly mobile working women she became famous for portraying, Joan Crawford forged one of the longest-lasting and brightest-burning careers of Hollywood’s golden age through her fierce determination, dedication to her craft, and remarkable ability to continually reinvent herself. Rising through the ranks of MGM, she went from Jazz Age flapper ingenue (OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS) to emblem of Depression-era tenacity (DANCING LADY, SADIE MCKEE) to A-list diva (THE WOMEN) to, by the early 1940s, so-called “box-office poison.” The first of multiple career comebacks ensued with her ferocious, Academy Award–winning turn in the stone-cold noir classic MILDRED PIERCE, leading to a second life as a melodrama queen in films like HUMORESQUE, POSSESSED, and AUTUMN LEAVES. And when it once again seemed like her career might fade away, the indomitable Crawford transformed herself into a 1960s horror grande dame in the gothic camp classic WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? A commanding screen presence whose steely veneer and concentrated intensity could give way to tender vulnerability, Crawford endures as one of the most complex and endlessly fascinating icons of the studio era—a star in every sense of the word whose larger-than-life legend has only grown with time.
Directed by Tod Browning • 1927 • United States
Starring Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford
Master of the macabre Tod Browning directs “Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney in one of the actor’s most startling transformations. He stars as Alonzo the Armless, a knife thrower in a carnival sid...
Directed by Frank Borzage • 1940 • United States
Starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Peter Lorre
Joan Crawford and Clark Gable were paired on-screen for the eighth and final time in this unique, mystic exploration of both carnal and spiritual love from Hollywood’s supreme romanticist Frank Borz...
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1945 • United States
Starring Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth
Melodrama casts noirish shadows in this portrait of maternal sacrifice from Hollywood master Michael Curtiz. Its iconic performance by Joan Crawford as Mildred, a single mother hell-bent on freeing her children f...