In prep for today’s (or next week’s) Criterion announcements, I was going through names associated with the films on my Criterion Wish List to search for possible phantom pages on the official Criterion web site. I was searching through, mostly struck out, until….
I noticed Faye Dunaway has one. Of course Faye Dunaway has a terrific career associated with many great films, so that wasn’t a sure thing. But then I searched for and discovered a phantom page for Diana Scarwid (the actress who plays Christina Crawford as an adult). And then Steve Forrest (who plays Joan’s boyfriend Greg) plus the film’s director Frank Perry.
From these, it seems pretty clear that Mommie Dearest is coming to the Criterion Collection. It might not necessarily be this month’s announcements (there’s tons of phantom pages swirling around) but there must be plans to release it eventually.
A few have commented that it’s a bad fit for the Collection, that it doesn’t qualify, etc. I’m too young to have been around when it was first released in theaters, but as a millennial I can first-hand vouch for the cult phenomenon that this film has evolved into. It’s not quite Rocky Horror status but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know of the famous “wire hangers” scene, not to mention the countless quotable oddities the film offers (“Tina!… Bring me the axe!” “Don’t f*** with me, fellas!” to name a few).
Mommie Dearest, on its own merits, is not really a work of art or groundbreaking filmmaking. But the way audiences have embraced it and turned it into a riotous comedy, and even inspired live stage shows and countless drag performances, it certainly has become an “important” film – not on its own terms, but through its legacy.