'Feud' Season 1: Bette Davis v. Joan Crawford

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  • Profile photo of Alex B.Alex B.
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    #1202041108

    New York Times  gives Lange and Sarandon raves in Ep. 3:

     

    At times the underlying story structure shows through too clearly, but despite the often overdetermined script, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon continue to bring to their performances layers of complexity and unexpected psychological insights.

     

    Crawford’s early life was harrowing, and it’s all there in Lange’s eyes, in the way her voice plummets into the gutter, Grande Dame dulcet tones vanishing — the rage of the child she once was, the child who was thrown to the wolves. There is something extremely complicated in Lange’s reaction to that card for Christina. It’s a fascinating counterpoint to the expected Crawford narrative.

     

    Davis eventually throws a temper tantrum claiming she was robbed of an Oscar for her role in the 1950 film “All About Eve” (Judy Holliday won that year for “Born Yesterday”), leading to Crawford’s parting shot as she storms back to her dressing room: “And it was Gloria Swanson who was robbed in 1950, not you, bitch!” Lange catapults her voice up into the stratosphere, with the final words elongated into a near-operatic screech. It’s such a bizarre and brilliant choice, the hugeness of expression matching the hugeness of the emotion.

     

    The best kind of acting is a full-body, full-voiced expression, something many contemporary actors — trained to rely on the close-up — cannot manage without seeming artificial. Both Sarandon and Lange have always used their bodies and voices fully to communicate emotion and character. Sarandon’s distinct voice-over in “Bull Durham” is one of the many reasons that film works, her voice oozing into our ears with character and intimacy and humor. Lange’s primal scream (“What about my civil rights?”) in “Frances” comes roaring out of the depths as her body bucks and thrashes around like a live electrical wire.

     

    This sort of acting is almost a lost art, but it is the kind of work that Davis and Crawford did, too (and Katharine Hepburn, and Barbara Stanwyck, and Greta Garbo, et al.). The great actresses of classic Hollywood were superb in close-up, but superb in long-shot as well. When Garbo fell in love, her whole body quivered upward toward what she yearned for. When Hepburn entered a room, her stride practically encircled the globe. When Stanwyck descended a staircase, the sexy tension in her body told the whole story.

     

    “Feud” may try to drive home its points about ageism and sexism too clearly, but the fun of the series is watching Sarandon and Lange work at this level. Everything they do is eloquent: the way they smoke, size each other up, put on sunglasses, listen, choose their words carefully (or not carefully). These are not superficial elements. They show character, wants, needs — the primal stuff of all good acting.

     

     

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/arts/television/feud-bette-and-joan-mommie-dearest-recap.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com/[TWEET][/TWEET]

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    VanRoberts
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    #1202041120

    Lange and Surrandon were simply extraordinary in this episode. A masterclass in acting.

    By now, both actresses have settled nicely into these women.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  VanRoberts.
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    Profile photo of pulp50pulp50
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    #1202041135

    Tonight’s episode was another great one, I loved the scene with Joan and Bette fighting and arguing about the 1950 Oscars, when they were filming and Joan put on the weights, I had heard the story about that years ago so I was waiting for it, then Crawford breaking down and Mamacita not caring was great, sad and funny at the same time. I just wish they would give Martha a little more to do. Also, Bates and Zeta-Jones weren’t in this episode right? They’re both credited on imdb for the episode but that’s a mistake right? Sarah Paulson is credited too, have we seen her yet?

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    Profile photo of lovelylovelylovelylovely
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    #1202041137

    I believe Geraldine Page isn’t going to appear until ‘Oscar Night’, but I could be wrong. Kathy Bates and CZJ weren’t in the episode either, maybe it’s just generic crediting. They did that with Evan Peters in AHS: Roanoke as well.

    I liked this episode, specifically when we learn more about Bette and Joan’s rough upbringings. Joan and her stepfather? That’s some crazy stuff. My personal favorite moments were when they were filming the beach scenes and when Jane was dragging Blanche (and Joan had strapped on some weights).

    While I love Kiernan Shipka (and still rave about Sally Draper from time-to-time), i’m not feeling her as B.D.. Maybe it’s because i’m used to her as another character, but she just doesn’t sound or look anything like her.

     

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    Profile photo of KarlVillalobosKarlVillalobos
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    #1202041176

    I think Bette was just the type of person who anticipated people’s moves based on what she, herself, would do under the same circumstances. Case in point, while there is no proof that Crawford actually campaigned against Davis and a film that she had starred in herself, Davis was not above sabotaging Crawford and driving her off the production of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte with behavior and treatment far worse than Crawford exhibits here. I don’t doubt that Crawford derived tongue and cheek pleasure from “winning” an Oscar over Bette Davis, but there’s no proof to substantiate Bette’s claim that Joan “campaigned” against her. She was good friends with Anne Bancroft and would remain so for years. Bette would also claim that Joan kept the statuette for over a year before giving it to Anne, despite proof to the contrary, including a newspaper clipping which was shown to Bette which she scoffed at, sticking with her own revisionist history of the event. Ironically, Anne Bancroft was originally slated to star in Mommie Dearest but wisely pulled out when she figured it was going to be as tawdry a vehicle as its source material. She let Faye Dunaway take that bullet.

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    Profile photo of vincentvinny
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    #1202041315

    This episode was the best one yet! Sarandon and Lange were equally as amazing this week so both are my MVPs. When she took off the weights I lost it. That was brilliant.

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    Profile photo of Alex B.Alex B.
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    #1202041462

    Lange was definity MVP this week.

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    Profile photo of HunterbergfeldHunterbergfeld
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    #1202041471

    Lange was definity MVP this week.

    says Alex B. every week

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    Profile photo of HunterbergfeldHunterbergfeld
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    #1202041472

    Lange was definity MVP this week.

    says Alex B. every week

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    Profile photo of Alex B.Alex B.
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    #1202041475

    😉

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    Profile photo of Alex MeyerAlex Meyer
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    #1202041754

    “Mommie Dearest” was the best episode of the series so far!! Right now, I’m finding myself siding more and more with Bette Davis in this feud between her and Joan Crawford. Granted, neither woman has made themselves 100% sympathetic, but Davis’ antics like installing a Coca-Cola machine just to spite Crawford is child’s play compared to what Crawford does: patting herself with weights, showing up to set drunk and telling outright lies to Hedda Hopper.

    Susan Sarandon I think now has the edge over Jessica Lange in the Emmy race that’s sure to happen between the two of them. Case in point: the scene where Bette Davis rants about how she could have won her third Oscar for All About Eve if her costar Anne Baxter hadn’t campaigned as a lead actress as well. Plus, there’s the scene where she goes to bail Victor Buono out of jail and she tells him “Lying is what we do for a living, kid.” Plus, while Lange already has won 3 Emmys, Sarandon has still never won, despite being nominated 4 times. So voters could feel she’s due for some recognition.

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    Borja Lopez
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    #1202041795

    I’m so sorry for Jessica. She tries so hard to shine but when Sarandon appears on the screen, Jessica kind of disappears. And it’s annoying to me to see how Ryan Murphy wants to give another Emmy to Lange giving her more screentime, but Susan is miles better, far more interesting and in a fair world she would have more screentime and Ryan Murphy’s support because she’s the better actress.

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    Profile photo of SashaSasha
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    #1202041803

    I’m so sorry for Jessica. She tries so hard to shine but when Sarandon appears on the screen, Jessica kind of disappears. And it’s annoying to me to see how Ryan Murphy wants to give another Emmy to Lange giving her more screentime, but Susan is miles better, far more interesting and in a fair world she would have more screentime and Ryan Murphy’s support because she’s the better actress.

    I thought I was the only one noticing it. In cases like this you should be giving equal screentime to both your stars but here Lange has like 1.5 x screentime than Sarandon.

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    Profile photo of BeeBee
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    #1202041834

    I love Lange but I’d give the edge to Sarandon for this episode. But I don’t think the Emmys will truly care for “overdue” recognition unless they see Sarandon as truly undeniable and because they love Lange much more and love it when she hams it up. And if they can’t decide, it’ll be a split vote and somebody else will get it.

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    Profile photo of Will Castleforwardswill
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    #1202041836

    Both are knocking it out of the park but for me Sarandon just has the edge so far.

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Reply To: 'Feud' Season 1: Bette Davis v. Joan Crawford

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