Thursday, August 4, 2011

Joan Crawford in Flamingo Road (1949)

Lane Bellamy (Crawford) is a carnival dancer, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. When she falls in love with the hand picked political pawn (Zachary Scott) of the powerful sheriff (Sidney Greenstreet) of Bolden City, she makes an enemy of that sheriff who will dog her to the death. She thought she had escaped his grasp when she married a political boss more powerful than he, but will his burning hatred be shielded by power and influence? Don't count on it.
I've always been aware of this film, but had never seen it until tonight when I hosted it for Chelsea Classics here in New York. It's one of those Crawford films from that era that all seem to blend into each other - The Damned Don't Cry... Sudden Fear... Flamingo Road... It's a damned good picture though, with great suspense and pot-boiling drama. Sidney Greenstreet is just hateful as the sheriff, with a mean streak so wide you could drive a truck down it. The story, which originated in novel form, was turned into a television series in the 1980's starring Morgan Fairchild Stella Stevens.

This film is available on DVD. The trailer for it is above, uploaded to YouTube by captbijou.

Obscurity factor: 4 (known to diehard Crawford fans, still in the public consciousness, available on DVD)


  1. I think this is a great movie. No studio did movies of this type at that time, with the lighting and cinematography and set design and music, like Warner Brothers.

  2. I agree, WB was great at the film noir genre and Crawford really added excitement. This film was successful enough to inspire a similar scenario the next year with The Damned Don't Cry - instead of politics, it was organized crime.

  3. Have not seen this film, oddly enough. Crawford was born here in San Antonio, but left when only three, I believe. Her father, who abandoned the family, was a laundry man. I wonder...did HE not like wire hangers? I'm a big fan of Crawford, and have been reading up on her, recently. Her other adopted children, claimed that Christina's "Mommie Dearest" is quite inaccurate. The story is fascinating...

  4. After Crawford's death, and the publishing of "Mommie Dearest", Bette Davis commented on how sad she was, that Christina Crawford would publish such a book, and that she (Davis) was fortunate that her own daughter, B.D., would never do such a thing. Of course, we all know what happened a few years later (and by the same publisher, no less).

  5. Yes, that publisher has some karma to live down...