Outrageous and controversial, this is the story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) as she struggles for her career and battles the inner demons of her private life. This torment was manifested in her relationships with her adopted children, Christina (Diana Scarwid) and Christopher (Xander Berkeley). The public Crawford was a strong-willed, glamorous object of admiration, but Mommie Dearest reveals the private Crawford, the woman desperate to be a mother, adopting her children when she was single and trying to survive in a devastating industry that swallows careers thoughtlessly. The rage, the debilitating strain, and the terrifying descent into alcoholism and child abuse are graphically – and unforgettably – depicted in this film, based upon Christina Crawford’s best-selling book. – Synopsis by Paramount Pictures
MOMMIE DEAREST is directed and co-written by Frank Perry. It is based on the book by Christina Crawford of the same name. The film is a depiction of the family life that the children endured from Joan’s flavor of parenting. Perry also makes sure to show the lengths that she went through to stay relevant in Hollywood at the time.
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford
Diana Scarwid as Christina Crawford (adult)
Mara Hobel (Mara Boyd) as Christina Crawford (child)
Steve Forrest as Gregg Savitt
Howard Da Silva as Louis B. Mayer
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that was created from a 4k remaster. The remaster is understated with a nice grain that maintains a film look. The pristine environments that the character creates beaming with clean white and brilliant colors. Details are clean and show in the textures. The details are seen whether the shot is zoomed in or in a wider shot. Contrasting is nicely done, again, because of some of the clean environments. Skin tones are warm and natural.
The audio is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Due to this being a conversation heavy drama, the sound is primarily in the front speakers. The score uses all of the channels as music in film typically does. There are moments where the rear channels come to life but these scenes are infrequent. The birthday party and restaurant scene are the best examples.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Audio Commentary: with Drag Queen Hedda Lettuce.
-Audio Commentary: with Filmmaker John Waters.
-Filmmaker Focus – Biographer Justin Bozung On Director Frank Perry:
This is a nice extra about Director Joe Perry and his filmmaking.
-The Revival Of Joan: This looks at bringing the material to life with casting and production decisions.
-Life With Joan: This gets into the meat of it with the cast and crew discussing the production.
-Joan Lives On: This looks at the legacy of the film and what it means to fans.
-Original Theatrical Trailer
1 Blu-ray Disc
Slipcover Included in the initial release
Gatefold Poster artwork
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
THE BOTTOM LINE
MOMMIE DEAREST is an incredible film and shows the audience what Joan Crawford was like behind closed doors. I do love that nothing is held back to get an uneasy feeling across and that the Crawford kids were more like live-in accessories than children. The release looks stunning having been remastered and the audio does a solid job. The extras are entertaining to watch and work with the release. Overall, this is easily one for the fans both old and new.