Payday Loans
Joan Crawford (1904-1977)


  1. Greta Garbo, The Single Standard, 1929.    Crawford was actually announced for an MGMovie that eventually starred Garbo!.  The talkies had arrived, silents were obsolite - except if they starred Chaplin or Garbo. In fact, Greta (still trying to perfect her English) made the most silents of any Hollywood star once talkies exploded – seven, in all. Then, on February 21, 1930, Anna Christie opened as the posters yelled… Garbo talks!

  2. Norma Shearer, A Free Soul, 1930.   “How can I compare with Norma when she sleeps with the boss? ”  Adela Rogers St. Johns wrote her book with Crawford in  mind, but Shearer got her hands on  it first and she was wed  to MGM’s house production genius, Irving Thalberg.   Clark Gable made a huge impression.  Thousands of letters requested more of “the guy who slapped Norma Shearer.”

  3. Norma Shearer, The Divorcee, 1930.   Crawford was furious. Again! Bad enough that Shearer - out to change her pious image with a touch of erotica - but she won the 1930 Best Actress Oscar, as well. “Whaddyer expect,” snarled Joan.  “How can I compare with Norma when she sleeps with the boss?” Her husband was MGM’s genius production chief Irving Thalberg.
  4. Jean Harlow, Red-Headed Woman, 1932.  .    By refusing Katharine Bush's best-selling vamp, Crawford Clara Bow, Lilian Roth, Norma Shearer, Barbra Stanwyck - even Greta Garbo! - allowed MGM some return on the  $690,000 paid by tycoon Howard Hughes for Harlow -  $1,250 a week (soon to be $5,000) for what Hollywood Reporter called “the sexiest performance since Clara Bow discovered It.”  (Hughes had paid her $250). The film was banned in the UK but King George V allegedly had his own copy. Oh, it’s good to be a king. 
  5. Greta Garbo, The Painted Veil, 1933.   A year earlier, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Crawford had the lead role of  Katrin, married but falling for a UK diplomat in old Hong Kong.  But no…  The billing explained why: Garbo. No need  to say anything more. 
  6. Jeanette MacDonald, The Merry Widow, 1933.  Maurice Chevalier’s MGM contract gave him co-star approval. Therefore, Crawford, Evelyn Laye, Grace Moore and Gloria Swanson were seen for Sonia, the widow,   when  the fussy Frenchman was no longer getting on with MacDonald.  Nor with playing “the charming prince and lieutenant roles.”  (What did he expect?  Cowboys and gangsters!).
  7. Myrna Loy, The Prizefighter and the Lady, 1933.    As MGM switched from directors Josef von Sternberg to Howard Hawks to, finally, “One Take Woody” Van Dyke, so did the The Lady… from Crawford and Mae Clarke to Jean Harlow and Elissa Landi. The Prizefighter was a real one - Max Baer. He won every round.
  8. Carole Lombard, Twentieth Century, 1934.    The usually crude Columbia boss Harry Cohn also considered Tallulah Bankhead, Constance Bennett, Ruth Chatterton, Kay Francis, Ann  Harding, Miriam  Hopkins, even Gloria Swanson. None were close to being Howard Hawks dames.
  9. Ann Harding, Biography of a Bachelor Girl, 1934.    MGM production chief Irving Thalberg wanted Joan. Too busy, said MGM boss LBMayer. Thalberg covered his bets by getting Ann's best director, EH Griffith. Good man. Wrong initials..
  10. Constance Bennett, Outcast Lady, 1934. MGM’s house genius, Irving Thalberg, had to do without Joan when re-making Garbo's film.  He  should not have bothered.

  11. Jean Harlow, Reckless, 1934.  Co-star William Powell said Harlow objected to replacing Crawford. Harlow felt the script was capitalising on the sensational publicity surrounding the death of her husband, Paul Bern. Powell talked her around…She was still hoping he’d marry her when she died from uremic poisoning  on June 7 1939 while shooting Saratoga. She was 26. 
  12. Marlene Dietrich, The Garden of Allah, 1936.     Decided on a holiday rather than the casbah.
  13. Myrna Loy, Parnell, 1936.    Longtime on-off lovers Crawford and Clark Gable made seven movies in as many years. This was not one of them. Crawford advised Gable to copy her and quit this “boring, pretentious” script. He stayed and Myrna Loy joined him (becoming King and Queen of Hollywood in Ed Sullivan’s poll). Crawford wuz right. Film tanked and put Gable off costume dramas... including Gone With The Wind.
  14. Jean Harlow, Saratoga, 1937.   Plan A: RKO-Pathe bought the Anita Loos script for Constance Bennett in 1929.  MGM was in three minds about a Plan B: Carole Lombard,  Crawford or Harlow v Clark Gable.  Shooting was all but over when Harlow collapsed on-set and later died from suspected uremic poisoning. For her final  scenes, her double, Mary Dees, was her body (shot from the rear) as Paula Winslow supplied the voice.   By chance, the last words from the real and tragic Jean on-film were: Good-bye.Crawford  was so bitter at Gable’s anger at  her (correct) Parnell opinions, she backed off him for three years. Their affair still lasted 30 years, inbetween their various marriages.
  15. Margaret Sullavan, Three Comrades,1937.    Despite success in Joseph Mankiewicz’ productions (in his bed, too), Joan felt that  F Scott Fitzgerald's sole Hollywood writing credit would be dominated by the guys,  including her ex-husband Franchot Tone.  For once, she wuz wrong!
  16. Margaret Sullavan,  The Shopworn Angel, 1937.  MGM had no idea who should  - could! - inherit Daisy after Harlow’s shock death. At first, it was Crawford in ’37 (a good title for Joan,  a  bi-sexual porno starlet and stripper before hitting LA),  then Rosalind Russell in ’38. Crawford passed, Russell was sent into The Citadel in London and, finally,  Sullavan  partnered James Stewart. Two years later, comedy genius Ernst Lubitsch waited months  for the same couple for “the best picture I ever made in my life” - The Shop Around The Corner, 1939.  (In the meantime, he casually knocked off Ninotchka!)
  17. Ginette Leclerc, La femme de boulanger/The Baker's Wife, France, 1938.    The director's wife was the  obvious choice  - but playwright-realisateur Pagnol had quit Orane Demazis (alias Fanny). And  dreamt of his favourite Hollywoodian. He even cut Aurélie’s French dialogue to just 144 words for Joan. (After re-making Pagnol's Fanny in 1960, Joshua Logan talked of a new Boulanger with Orson Welles and Brigitte Bardot).
  18. Norma Shearer, Idiot’s Delight, 1939.    MGM’s tragically dead production genius, Irving Thalbeg, was still ruling the roost… Milady Crawford wanted to be Irene Fellara- desperately. However, Thalberg had left his Metro stock to his wife, Shearer - and the first choice of roles.   Game over.
  19. Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday, 1939.   Knowing she was #9 on the list of nine women seen for Hildy Johnson – and that director Howards Hawks  only ever  wanted Jean Arthur – poor Roz Russell kept wailing her insecurities. "You don't want me, do you? Well, you're stuck with me, so you might as well make the most of it." Co-star Cary Grant told her if Hawks didn’t like her, he’d say so.  And he did. In what, from him was the highest praise: “Just keep pushing him around the way you're doing."  Her other rivals had been Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Irene Dunne (“too small a role”), Carole Lombard (too expensive), Ginger Rogers (“Never knew it was going to be with Cary”) and Margaret Sullavan. Hawks cleverly changed Hildy from male to female and quickened the dialogue by having actors overlapping each other’s lines – long before Robert Altman was locked out of Warner Bros for doing it in Countdown, 1966… and for ever after. 
  20. Lana Turner, Ziegfeld Girl, 1940.    Odd MGMusical.  Monochrome, no one playing Broadway icon Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell was busy?), and not about one girl but three. Turner and Hedy Lamarr getting into all kinds of trouble while, ironically, Judy Garland alone coping with the vicissitudes of fame. When planned in 1938, Joan was due to die at the end. After upsetting preview audiences in ’41, Metro cut Lana’s death scene in - and no one knew  became of her!

  21. Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, 1940.    Arch enemies, Crawford and Bette Davis didn’t stand a chance of being Tracy Lord.  MGM tried to buy the Broadway hit for Joan as producer David Selznick did the same for Bette. However,  Howard Hughes  had made sure that Kate had the rights of her Broadway hit.
  22. Norma Shearer, Her Cardboard Lover, 1941.     Norma’s farewell, in a role first offered to  the younger Crawford and Hedy Lamarr.
  23. Joan Leslie, Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942.     At Warners, Joan kept getting  offered Bette Davis rejects. This time, she told Jack Warner: “I’m too old. Give it to Joan Leslie.” Excellent advice.
  24. Greer Garson, Random Harvest, 1942.     She pushed for it and was pushed out of it.  Indeed, the idea was to push her out of the studio by giving her the  weakest MGM scripts in the hope she’d refuse and  thus break her contract.
  25. Margaret Sullavan, Cry ‘Havoc’, 1943.  Hollywood didn’t make many WWI films about women. So they all wanted to be  in this female Bataan. “in any role.” Crawford, who wanted it called The Women Go to War, was first  choice for Smitty, aka Lieutenant Mary Smith...
  26. Ann Sothern, Cry ‘Havoc’,  1943.  … and then she was made Pat opposite Merle Oberon’s Smitty… until they became Sothern (a very last minute choice) and Margaret Sullavan.  Also trying to join up  as US military or civilians were June Allyson, Eve Arden, Bonita Granville, Marilyn Maxwell, Susan Peters, Donna Reed, Ann Sheridan, Lana Turner. When refused Madame Curie. by LB Mayer, Crawford quit MGM after 17 years. “If you think I made poor pictures after A Woman's Face, you should see the ones I went on suspension not to make!”
  27. Greer Garson, Madame Curie, 1943.    No, no, Joan, she’s not for you. Having lost her two dream roles  to the new star,  Crawford finally took umbrage and strode out of MGM after 18 years.
  28. Hedy Lamarr, The Heavenly Body, 1943.  The title pleased La Crawford, more than the role of astronomer William Powell’s wife. “It was about a girl who stands around and does nothing. I told the studio to give the part to Hedy Lamarr.”

  29. Rose Hobart, Conflict, 1944.   
    Awaiting her first role at Warners, La Crawford refused to be the wife murdered by hubby Humphrey Bogart. Her   message to head brother Jack Warner was simple.  “Joan Crawford never dies in her movies, and she   never ever loses her man to anyone.”    Bogie had less luck in trying to escape the mediocre script.

  30. Dorothy McGuire, The Spiral Staircase, 1945.    On a high from her good reviews in A  Woman’s Face, 1941, Crawford bought the rights  to Ethel Lina White’s 1933 book,  Some Must Watch, in order to go Oscar-hunting  in the lead - a deaf mute. MGM’s LB Mayer wouldn’t hear of it. “No more cripples or maimed women.”
  31. Betty Grable, When My Baby Smiles At Me, 1947.    It was Burlesque on Broadway in 1927 and starred Babara Stanwyck. That’s exactly why La Crawford wanted to re-make the two Paramount versions.   Warner Bros agreed but Columbia would not sell. To show just how important the rights were to Columbvia czar Harry Cohn, he eventually let Fox have them in exchange for… horse-racing footage from Kentucky, 1937, for use in The Return of October.

  32. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.  
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan been Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins….  Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner” from among … Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward  (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), , Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney... even such surprises as comical Lucille Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer  Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man's bust is larger than the leading lady's!" 

  33. Celeste Holm, A Letter To Three Wives, 1948.  Who is Addie ? Writing to the wives to say she was running off with one of their spouses, Addie was heard but never seen.  Crawford and Ida Lupino were considered as the voice-off - Holm’s name as kept secret. At the time.  Paramount publicist turned producer David F Friedman made a hardcore version, Alexandra, with Rachel Summers (aka Ashley). In 1983.
  34. Greer Garson, That Forsyte Woman, 1948.   MGM  won  the rights to John Galsworthy’s The Forstye Saga in 1937 – and never knew what to do with it.  Instead of the full trilogy, the studio planned a re-titled version of the the first book, The Man of Property, with Joseph L  Mankiewicz directing Franchot Tone as the stuffy banker, Soames Forsyte, and La Crawford as his  unfaithful wife, Irene.  Two more attempts in 1939 and 1949 never flew, either, despite being aimed at  Cark Gable,  Deborah Kerr, Michael Wilding, etc.
  35. Agnes Moorehead, Caged, 1949. Or The Big Cage when deemed worthy of co-starring Davis and Joan Crawford as jailbird and warden, stepping back and shooting the fireworks! The script was brave in denouncing the US prison system and touching upon lesbianism. Which is why Bette refused. ”Not interested in a dyke movie.”
  36. Ginger Rogers, Storm Warning, 1950.    Head brother Jack Warner asked Crawford to “ play Doris Day's sister.Oh c’mon, Jack,” rasped Joanie. “No one would ever believe that I’d have Doris Day for a sister!”
  37. Jane Wyman, A Kiss in the Dark, 1948.  On March 1, Variety reported Crawford had the lead. Three days later, Hollywood Reporter said Wyman. For once, Reporter was right.
  38. Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1950. 
  39. Barbara Stanwyck, Clash By  Night, 1951.   RKO originally wished to borrow Warner’s Crawford for Fritz Lang’s clunky, indeed campy,  version of Clifford Odets’ Broadway play. From Fox, RKO did manage to secure Marilyn Monroe. And critics loved her first important role in 17 outings.  She “has an ease of delivery,” said Daily Variety,  “which makes her a cinch for popularity, given the right roles.”
  40. Bette Davis, The  Star, 1952.  A star down on  her luck - oh, far too close  to home. Even more so with  plenty of Joan’s  "Bless you!" lines thrown in by Davis.  Liike Davis, Crawford  could have used her own Oscar in  her  drunken rampage scene.

  41. Ann Blyth, One Minute To Zero, 1952.  Mommie Dearest played (too) hard to get. And the injured Claudette Colbert’s was role was retailored for the (much) younger Blyth – Crawford’s teenage daughter in Mildred Pierce. In 1944.
  42. Deborah Kerr, From Here To Eternity, 1952.
  43. Barbara Stanwyck, All I Desire, 1952. Hollywood’s three grande dames - Crawford, Stanwyck and Bette Davis - were in the mix for Naomi Murdoch in another of director Douglas Sirk’s small town teart-jerker soaps. .It was producer Ross Hunter who gave the soap a happy ending. Sirk was furious. So much so, he kept on making Hunter’s outpt, best described by their 1958 title, Imitation of Life. Yawn!
  44. Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession, 1953.  
    It was Wyman’s idea to re-hash the 1935 Universal weepie.  She first approached director Douglas Sirk about it.   And then,  whadderyerknow, Universal had the gall to start talking  to Crawford, Olivia de Havilland and Eleanor Parker about being Helen Phillips… As if Jane Wyman was going to let that happen! She didn’t get all her own  way, though. Jeff Chandler fled saying the story was “soppy.”   (And how!)  Universal production chief Ed Muhl, had been there (in a lower position) in 1935 when the  top tearjerker made a such a superstar of MGM’s Robert Taylor that he was kept home and  never loaned again for 24 years!  “It would have been stupid of me to have forgotten that,” said Muhl. Which is why he arranged for his re-make to do exactly the same for Rock Hudson. “He was ready!”  (Despite often requiring  up to 40 takes for a  scene). And, as they say, Wyman (the ex-Mrs Ronald Reagan) “graciously accepted him” as her co-star… although  critics thought she looked way  too old for him.  

  45. Claire Trevor, The High and the Mighty, 1953.       All aboard the flying Grand Hotel - a DC-4 piloted by John Wayne and Robert Stack and stuffed to the flaps with the kind of mixed cliché bag of passengers that continued into the Airport films and were torn to comic shreds by the Airplane franchise. Tasty or not, the roles were basically cameos - beneath the high and mighty Crawford, Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Dorothy McGuire, Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck. They all rejected the sassy old broad, described by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther as a gallant lady of much circulation. Trevor won an Oscar nod, Crawford would have won it.
  46. Nina Foch, The Ten Commandments, 1954
  47. Maureen O’Hara, Lisbon, 1956.   Three years earlier, director Nicholas Ray gave her the script.  “Oh hell, Nick, give it balls! Write it for Gable and I’ll play it.” until Eventually, RA Milland (his real initials, for Reginald Alfred) produced the second film directed by R Milland… co-starring Ray Milland.
  48. Lana Turner, Peyton Place, 1956. All the obvious, well, MILFS, of their day were in the  frame for Constance McKenzie - for the mother and father of all movie and TV soaps.  Namely: Crawford, Turner, Olivia de Havilland, Susan Hayward Jane Wyman.
  49. Lana Turner, Portrait In Black, 1960.     Due to head up a 1949 version  at Universal - a kind of The Postman Always Rings Thrice - then to be made by suave UK director Carol Reed.
  50. Mary Astor, Return To Peyton Place, 1961.    Her bete noir, Bette Davis, was also considered. And  Joan fled.

  51. Barbara Stanwyck, Walk on the Wild Side, 1961. La Crawford is said to have  been upset as being asked to play Jo. She sounded harmless enough but proved to be the Madame of  a lesbian brothel in New Orleans …and very keen on Jane Fonda. Therefore, La Barb is often found in Hollywood histories as the first  lesbian in a Hollywood movie.  Utter rubbish, of course, they were all over the place, if merely hinting at their sexuality. Following the lead of Pandora’s Box, 1929, Cecil B DeMille (who else?) had lesbians dancing together in The Sign of the Cross, 1932. (Their Dance of the Naked Moon was cut from the 1938 re-issue).  By the ‘60s, lesbians were everywhere and up to more than dancing.
  52. Olivia De Havilland, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, 1964.  Or, of course, What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?  When Crawford agreed to battle anew with her old nemesis, Bette Davis, in another horror tale of two old biddies by Baby Jane author Henry Farrell. After locations in Louisiana, Joan was ill, although many said her “viral pneumonia” was unrequited love for Bette, who deliberately upset her by being mire friendly with their lesbian co-star Agnes Moorehead.  Either way, Crawford was gone. Bette refused Katharine Hepburn or Vivien Leigh and director Robert Aldrich famouslytook three planes, a train and a taxi to her Swiss home to persuade Olivia \ De Havilland to take over. (Bette refused Katharine Hepburn or Vivien Leigh). “Livvie” agreed. Aldrich called Davis with the “secret: news. She told the media. And Crawford cried for nine hours. She was furious with Aldrich.  “He let me hear it for the first time in a radio release, and, frankly, I think it stinks."  She felt Bette was manipulating Aldrich "She's practically directing the picture for him right in front of me, so God knows what else she's up to behind my back. I might wind up on the cutting-room floor."  None of them should have bothered. Charlotte was no Baby Jane.
  53. Olivia De Havilland, Lady In A Cage, 1964.    After What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962, Joan  had enough of handicapped victims. Olivia replaced her ... again. 
  54. Susan Hayward, Valley of the Dolls, 1967.
  55. Rita Hayworth, I Bastardi/Sons of Satan, Italy, 1969.    Dropped out at eleventh hour.
  56. Edith Evans, Crooks and Coronets, 1969.  A British Dame replaces a Hollywood dame…   Dumb-ass ex-cons Telly Savalas and Warren Oates are sent to sent to Blighty by gang boss Cesar Romero to empty a stately home  of all its vauables. This is Sophie’s Place (as it was known in the US). Sophie being Dame Edith Evans  having fun as Lady Sophie Fitzmore. And such a darling, the guys just can’t rob her. Came across like a film that Peter Sellers had refused to play Telly and Edith in.  
  57. Gloria Swanson, Airport 1975, 1974.    Joan turned down the "aging alcoholic actress" role in the  re-make (in essence)  of The High and the Mighty that she had refused 20 years before.
  58. Olivia De Havilland, Airport 77, 1977.    The producers tried again. Crawford passed again, Olivia subbed again.
  59. Valerie Perrine, Superman, 1978.






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