S is for Silents: Joan Before The Talkies

S

Before she was the Dancing Lady of the 30s, Mildred Pierce of the 40s, Queen Bee of the 50s, and Della of the 60s, Joan Crawford was The Taxi Dancer of the 20s.

25kick

People sometimes forget that Joan was a flapper and a silent actress before anything else. Some people only know her for her roles in the 40s, 50s and 60s, but what they usually miss out on is the fact that Joan was one of those few who successfully transitioned from silents to talkies.

27twelvemilespromo12

In fact, Joan was one of 1920’s most bankable stars. In the last parts of the decade, she even surpassed the ranks of Norma Shearer, Anita Page, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson and Marion Davies— who were considered as the silent era’s big stars.

20smgmpub13sep1

She made a total of 29 silent pictures from 1925-1929, including one where she played Norma’s double (Lady of the Night), five uncredited parts (Proud Flesh, A Slave of Fashion, The Merry Widow, The Midshipman, and The Only Thing), and one where she was credited as Lucille Le Sueur (Pretty Ladies). These mentioned films were all released in 1925.

fourwalls090

She made three silent pictures in 1926 (Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, The Boob, and Paris), seven in 1927 (Winners of the Wildreness, The Taxi Dancer, The Understanding Heart, The Unknown, Twelve Miles Out, Spring Fever, and West Point), six in 1928 (The Law of the Range, Rose-Marie, Across to Singapore, Four Walls, Our Dancing Daughters, and Dream of Love), and two in 1929 (The Duke Steps Out, and Our Modern Maidens).

rosemarieshield08

After talkies fully dominated Hollywood, Joan continued working on the screen— thanks to her undeniable talent, sound-worthy voice, and unbreakable determination to succeed. Fortunately, she wasn’t forgotten in the years that came, unlike most of her colleagues in the silent era. In fact, Joan’s star shone brighter in the 30s and 40s.

27understandingset

Here are some of Joan’s early videos… if you want to see her act without sound. 😉

(Joan’s first screen appearance as Norma Shearer’s double in Lady of the Night)

(The Taxi Dancer (1927))

(With Billy Haines in West Point (1927))
(Joan and Ramon Novarro in Across to Singapore (1928))

(In her smash-hit, Our Dancing Daughters (1928))

Happy blogging (and fangirling!)

dfsa.

(Photos and videos from Joan Crawford Best and Youtube)

C is for Costumes Galore: Joan’s Memorable Film Costumes

C

Costumes hold a very important role in movies, especially those made in Hollywood’s Golden Era. Whether it’s Bette Davis’ stunning (and sinful) red gown in Jezebel (1938), or Vivien Leigh’s outstanding Southern number in Gone With The Wind (1939), these costumes have stayed in people’s minds longer than expected.

As one of Hollywood’s legends, Joan also had her share of awesome and memorable costumes. She’s even credited for the invention (and fame) of the shoulder pads in the 40s.

Here’s a quick tour:

25prettyladies11nov1

(As Bobby the showgirl in Pretty Ladies (1925), her first credited role)

27unknown07nov2

(Nanon’s circus getup in The Unknown (1927))

28ourdd4x

(Dangerous Diana’s cute dress in Our Dancing Daughters (1928))

32grand13may5

(Flaemmchen’s stenographer outfit in Grand Hotel (1932), also starring the Barrymore brothers (John and Lionel), Greta Garbo and Wallace Beery)

A Young Joan Crawford

(Sadie Thompson in Rain (1932))

Letty Lynton

(This is probably her most famous costume. Ladies and gentlemen, the unforgettable gown with puffy shoulders in Letty Lynton (1932))

3668268664_08a5dc11f7

(Another well-known gown from Letty Lynton (1932))

Sadie McKee

(Elegant gown in Sadie McKee (1934)

joan-crawford-the-bride-wore-red

(Her gown in The Bride Wore Red (1937), which still exists today. Hurrah!)

thewomen2a

(As Crystal Allen in The Women (1939), also starring Norma Shearer and Rosalind Russell)

joan (6)

(Of course… Mildred’s “padded” fur coat in Mildred Pierce (1945))

torchsong9

(As Jenny Stewart in Torch Song (1953))

53torch12jan3

(Jenny’s blackface number in Torch Song (1953))

54johnny13july25

(Vienna’s cowgirl outfit in Johnny Guitar (1954))

joan-crawford-1955-everett

(Eva’s stunning black gown in Queen Bee (1955))

64straitsetbj10

(Lastly, Lucy Harbin’s floral ensemble in Strait Jacket (1964))

Cheers to you and your amazing costumes, Joan! ❤

Happy blogging (and fangirling!)

dfsa.

 

(Photos from Joan Crawford Best)