Bette Davis vs Joan Crawford


For those of you who are movie buffs when it comes to classic black and white films, and were also fans of Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, like me, I'm sure you're aware of their notorious rivalry.

Supposedly they hated each other and were said to have fought throughout their careers. However, I'm sure that hatred was overly magnified due to Hollywood gossip.

Yet I must say from watching many interviews, I could sense they didn't exactly love each other either. And I think a lot of that came from having very similar personalities; therefore they collided like two fiery meteorites. Davis and Crawford were strongly opinionated human beings who were both highly competitive and aggressive.

And I don't think it was necessarily a competition for getting the same roles because they were total opposites in how Hollywood cast them. I believe it was more of a competition for being the most famous female star at that time.

As they got older and began starring in not-so-successful films, they were both labeled "Box Office Poison." However, they made miraculous comebacks and acted in films up until their deaths.

I adored Bette Davis and Joan Crawford onscreen and thought they were very talented. In fact, I have many of their films on VHS and DVD, and continue to watch them.

But if I had to choose which one I felt was the stronger actress, it would be Joan Crawford, because I think she was more organic in her acting. Bette Davis, to me, used the same "Bette Davis mannerisms" in most of her films. Whereas, Joan was more internal and didn't rely on the same physical acting crutches over and over again.

Still, I admired and respected them both.

Today I would like to share a few of my favorite films with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. And it was challenging to come up with just a few because I enjoy so many within their filmographies.

Take it away, Bette and Joan!



About Now, Voyager - (my favorite BD film. it is a celluloid masterpiece)


About Dark Victory - (notice US ex-president Ronald Reagan in this film)


About All About Eve - (brilliant film. razor-sharp dialogue)




About Mildred Pierce - (my favorite JC film because it was such a complex role. she won an Oscar for this film)


About The Women - (the cast (all female) and costumes in this film are faaabulous!)



About Torch Song - (Joan really shows her dancing ability in this film. she also exposes so much vulnerability in this role)


Then, in 1962, Bette and Joan starred in their first film together, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, a psychological thriller about two aging movie star sister's who have a bitter resentment towards each other. Um...appropriate casting, hu?

I remember first seeing this movie when I was a kid and being scared shitless. This film is now a cult classic!

It was at this time that the two stars were in a feud because Davis had been nominated for Best Actress in the film, while Crawford had been overlooked.

However, Davis didn't win the Oscar that year. Nope, it went to Anne Bancroft for the movie, The Miracle Worker.

Yet it's ironic, Bancroft had asked Crawford to accept her award that night if she won because she could not attend. So, not only was Joan elated that Bette didn't win, but she was more than happy to walk up on the stage that night and ACCEPT an Oscar.

Woops! I guess Crawford did have the last word.

You GO, Joan!


Bette and Joan...I will always love you ladies!

Have a star-studded Monday everyone!
X

Update: I stand corrected by someone (thank you, Michael) who emailed to let me know that Anne Bancroft did not ask Joan Crawford to accept her award that night if she won. Apparently, Crawford had sent letters to the Best Actress nominees saying that in case they couldn't make the awards ceremony, she'd gladly be there to accept for them. Thus, she accepted the Oscar for Bancroft.

51 comments

  1. Geraldine H.December 01, 2014

    Real stars in Hollywood's Golden Age. They don't make them like that anymore. I loved Joan Crawford in The Autumn Leaves, have you seen that one Ron? Lorne Greene was a bad boy in that one,quite a change from his usual type roles.

    Fabulous post, never enough nostalgia imo!!


    Have a wonderful week Ron, sending a heap of snow your way,it was Very chilly here yesterday. Brrrrr......

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  2. Ok, don't be shocked, but.......I've never seen any of those movies!!! I thought I'd possibly seen the BAby Jane one, but I looked up the ending, and I don't think it's the same movie I'm thinking of.....the one I watched had the woman in the wheelchair being pushed over a cliff in the last scene. Well, that terrified me enough as a child to have the black and white image stick with me for 40 years!

    We missed you on Black Friday....hope it wasn't too bloody awful!

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  3. Good morning, Ron. You must have a terrific film library and certainly your knowledge of films is FABULOUS.


    I can't believe these two actresses were stars sooooo long ago. Makes me feel really, really old, ha ha. I never took to Bette Davis but loved Joan Crawford though I can't remember any of their films. That's not to say I didn't see them... just that the memory is somewhat faded.


    We had our first Black Friday here... aren't we copycats? All hell broke loose, fights and everything. I made a note never to go out on Black Friday again. Have a great week x

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  4. I really need to brush up on classic hollywood films. All of these films look like films I would love but have never had the opportunity to enjoy! Thanks for sharing this! Gorgeous ladies they were!

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  5. Ron, was a great post! Your love and admiration for Bette and Joan shine through your words. I've only seen one of these films, "Baby Jane", and it scared me too! Bette Davis was scary and funny at the same time. I didn't know about the Oscar and Joan accepting it for Anne Bancroft. Lol OMG, I Bette was livid!


    Love the film photos you shared. There was such a beautiful glamour to movies back then. That last photo of Joan and Bette is wonderful because it's so candid.


    Glad to see you back blogging again. I missed you on Friday. Have a wonderful week, Ron x

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  6. "Real stars in Hollywood's Golden Age. They don't make them like that anymore."

    I agree, Geraldine...the don't make them like that anymore. Back then, stars were STARS.

    "I loved Joan Crawford in The Autumn Leaves, have you seen that one Ron? Lorne Greene was a bad boy in that one,quite a change from his usual type roles."

    OMG, I can't believe you mentioned Autumn Leaves because I watched that movie again this past weekend!!! And yes, Lorne Green was SUCH a bad boy! Joan was excellent in that film, as well as Cliff Robertson! And what a handsome man he was.

    " sending a heap of snow your way,it was Very chilly here yesterday. Brrrrr......"



    You got SNOW!?! I'm so jealous. For the past two days it's been very warm here. Yes, please send us a HEAP of snow :)


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantabulous week!
    X

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  7. Wow, Ron, talk about two Hollywood legends! Like you, I was terrified by "Baby Jane" and I think "Mildred Pierce" is a terrific movie. I'm having a hard time picking a favorite, but I think I lean toward Joan Crawford.


    Either way, these are two fabulous actresses who represent Hollywood. Great post, buddy! Now fasten your seat belt, it's going to be a bumpy night!

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  8. "Ok, don't be shocked, but.......I've never seen any of those movies!!!"

    That's okay, my friend, I know that not everyone has seen many of the old classics, like me. I think I'm this way because my mother was such a fan of old movies that I developed her same passion. She and I would watch these old films on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid.

    " I thought I'd possibly seen the BAby Jane one, but I looked up the ending, and I don't think it's the same movie I'm thinking of.....the one I watched had the woman in the wheelchair being pushed over a cliff in the last scene. Well, that terrified me enough as a child to have the black and white image stick with me for 40 years!"


    HAHAHAHAHA! That would terrify me as well. I wonder what movie that was!?


    Black Friday was not bad at all. We were very busy, however, the day went smoothly and very fast. I worked 9 hours, but the time flew by. And the customers were very patient and nice.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, Bijoux. Have a faaaabulous week!
    X

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  9. Gooood morning Valerie!

    "You must have a terrific film library...."

    It's funny because if you looked at my film library, it's practically ALL black and white classics. Many of them are still on VHS, however, some of them have been transferred to DVD.

    " I never took to Bette Davis but loved Joan Crawford...."

    My father felt the same way. He didn't care for Bette Davis. Actually, his favorite female movie star at that time was, Susan Hayward. I think he had a secret crush on her because he thought she was so beautiful. I have a lot of her films in my collection as well. "Backstreet" is one of my favorites!

    "We had our first Black Friday here... aren't we copycats? All hell broke loose, fights and everything. I made a note never to go out on Black Friday again."



    OMG, you had your FIRST Black Friday?!?! And yes, it's usually a day of bedlam here in the States. But I have to say that it wasn't bad at all in my store. It was very busy, but not insane.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. Have a lovely week!


    X to you and Joe!

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  10. " All of these films look like films I would love but have never had the opportunity to enjoy! "


    If you ever get the chance to watch some of these classics, I think you would really enjoy them, Shae.


    I think my passion for classic black and white films came from my mother because she loved them. She and I would watch them on Saturday afternoons. I still have such fond memories of those times.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fabu week! Hope you had a super Thanksgiving Day!


    x

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  11. Hola Denise!

    "I've only seen one of these films, "Baby Jane", and it scared me too! Bette Davis was scary and funny at the same time."

    Yes! I agree! Bette was both SCARY and HILARIOUS in that movie. Her makeup was horrifying!

    " I didn't know about the Oscar and Joan accepting it for Anne Bancroft. Lol OMG, I bet Bette was livid!"

    Yes, I think she was because I once heard Bette mention the incident in an interview once. I think Bette was a bit more vocal about their rivalry because I never heard Joan say anything negative about Bette in an interview, other than she knew that Bette didn't like her.

    "That last photo of Joan and Bette is wonderful because it's so candid."



    Isn't it a great shot? They look like the best of friends!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a wonderful week too!


    X

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  12. Hey there Rob!

    Yup, talk about two Hollywood legends! And they still live on in their films!

    "I think "Mildred Pierce" is a terrific movie. I'm having a hard time picking a favorite, but I think I lean toward Joan Crawford."

    I respected them both, but like you, I lean toward Joan as having been the stronger actress.

    "Now fasten your seat belt, it's going to be a bumpy night!"



    LOVE it!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a super week!
    X

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  13. I'll take Bette over Joan any day. Joan Crawford always seemed cold and artificial to me. You do know Bette waged an all-out war for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone With the Wind'? If she had gotten the part it would have been a far more interesting film. (Personal opinion" GWTW has got to be the most boring movie ever made.)

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  14. Ron, I learn a lot from reading your blog. I've not seen any of these films but your astute knowledge of the classics has me very curious to seek them out. And from what you've said about these two actresses, I get strong sense of their talents and personalities.


    I do like black and white photography, so perhaps I need to watch more of the classics.


    Great movie photos, dude! "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" does look scary!

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  15. Wow Grace, looks like you and I have completely different view points on this, but that's okay :)

    To me, there was no other actress who could have played the role of Scarlett O'Hara in GWTW like she did. She WAS Scarlett.

    And yes, Bette did fight for that role, you're absolutely right. I once saw a screen test video of all the actresses who auditioned for the role, such as: Carol Lombard, Paulette Goddard, Susan Hayward, and Talullah Bankhead. Fascinating video!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fabulous week!

    X

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  16. Hiya Matt!

    I think my passion and love for the classics stems from my mother because she was such an admirer of black and white films. We used to watch them together on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid.

    "I do like black and white photography, so perhaps I need to watch more of the classics."



    Black and white films were like a work of art. And they were much more challenging to make than colored films.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a most excellent week!


    X

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  17. Ron, what you said about the differences between Davis and Crawford in their acting I agree with. Davis was almost a characterization of herself.


    I like the movies you selected. I've seen all of them except "Torch Song." I will have to look for that one.


    Great last photograph of the two Dames.

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  18. "Davis was almost a characterization of herself."

    I agree, Elaine. I think they each had such strong personalities that they couldn't help having them cross over into their roles, however, Crawford always seemed more real to me.

    " I've seen all of them except "Torch Song." I will have to look for that one."

    It's a great film. It was made in 1953. I have it on VHS. Michael Wilding is also in the film.

    "Great last photograph of the two Dames."



    Isn't it a fab shot?


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super week!
    X

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  19. And what's the fun if all comments agree? You I like a lot, Joan Crawford, as a person and a performer, not so much. Bette on Joan

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  20. This post makes me want to pull a pajama and B&W old movie day! Both were good actresses...the rivalry made me wonder which female actresses of today are huge rivalries.

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  21. "And what's the fun if all comments agree?"

    Amen! And that's the joy of blogging - sharing different views and opinions.

    OMG...thank you so much for sharing that link!

    “Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why [Joan Crawford] always plays ladies.”

    Bwhahahahahahaha! You GO, Bette!

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  22. "Both were good actresses...the rivalry made me wonder which female actresses of today are huge rivalries."


    I agree, I think they were both talented. And isn't it funny how you don't hear as much about the huge rivalries between actors and actresses of today?


    Thanks so much for stopping by, Suzi. Have a fantabulous week!

    X

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  23. I remember seeing "Baby Jane" and being terrified, too, Ron! I can't pick a favorite between Bette and Joan. They're both such LEGENDS and arrived on the scene at the right time, then gave everything to perfect their craft! Everybody's right -- they don't make STARS like that any more!

    Wasn't that a young-looking President Reagan??

    You know, if I *had* to pick between the two, I'd probably go with Bette. If I remember right, "Mommie Dearest" was a frightening portrayal of Joan, ha!

    Happy Monday to you, dear!

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  24. Mark PetruskaDecember 01, 2014

    I haven't seen those films either, with the exception of parts of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." I'd get sucked in whenever I was flipping through the channels and it was playing on TV, but for some reason never got around to watching the whole thing from start to finish. I'll have to do something about that, because I agree with you that both women were exceptional actors and their canon of work is worth exploring.

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  25. Fascinating post, Ron! As you know, I'm a fan of Bette and Joan as well. You mentioned two of my personal favorites: Now, Voyager and Mildred Pierce. I also loved Bette in Jezebel and Joan in Humoresque.

    "it would be Joan Crawford, because I think she was more organic in her acting. Bette Davis, to me, used the same "Bette Davis mannerisms" in most of her films. Whereas, Joan was more internal and didn't rely on the same physical acting crutches over and over again."



    I like how you said that. Bette did have certain mannerisms in her acting which she repeated in a lot of her films. I think Joan was more diverse. They were both very distinct in their acting. Bette was a bit softer, while Joan had an edge to her. But I liked that edge.


    That last photograph of the two of them is stellar! You couldn't tell they didn't like each other, could you? They looked like the best of friends!


    And the legends live on!

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  26. "I remember seeing "Baby Jane" and being terrified, too, Ron!"

    HA! Debbie, even to this very day that film gives me the CREEPS!

    "They're both such LEGENDS and arrived on the scene at the right time, then gave everything to perfect their craft!"

    You're right! They were one of a kind and will remain legends forever.

    "Wasn't that a young-looking President Reagan??"

    Can you BELIEVE that? Ronald Reagan!?! I remember watching an interview with Bette Davis where she said that she was glad he got into politics because she thought he was a terrible actor. But I have to say that I thought he was quite good in that film.

    You know, if I *had* to pick between the two, I'd probably go with Bette. If I remember right, "Mommie Dearest" was a frightening portrayal of Joan, ha!"



    I read the book AND saw the movie. And I think it was most likely a true portrayal of Joan in her personal life. But I guess we'll never really know the WHOLE truth.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Happy Monday and week!


    X

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  27. " with the exception of parts of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."

    Mark, even to this very day, whenever I watch that film, in as much as I love it, it gives me the CREEPS. Victor Buono was awesome in that film!

    " both women were exceptional actors and their canon of work is worth exploring."



    You're right, their whole body of work is amazing!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a grrrrrreat week!


    X to you and Tara!

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  28. Hey ho Robert!

    "I also loved Bette in Jezebel and Joan in Humoresque."

    Ditto! GREAT films! That's why it was so challenging to select just a few of their movies because I loved SO MANY of them.

    " They were both very distinct in their acting. Bette was a bit softer, while Joan had an edge to her. But I liked that edge."

    I agree, Joan did have a certain "edge" onscreen, but I liked it. She seemed darker, whereas Bette seemed more light.

    "That last photograph of the two of them is stellar! You couldn't tell they didn't like each other, could you? They looked like the best of friends!"



    Yes, they looked like the BEST of friends!


    *snicker*


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a grrrrrrrrrrreat week!


    X

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  29. Ron, forgot to mention two things: love your blog header for December. It's so festive. I also spotted the video on K. D. Lang and just watched it. Amazing!

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  30. Hey Ron, I think you are right in that their "hatred" for one another may not have been as intense as the industry made them out to be, or should I say caused them to be.

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  31. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comDecember 02, 2014

    What golden stars they were! Bette Davis was quite funny too!

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  32. " their "hatred" for one another may not have been as intense as the industry made them out to be, or should I say caused them to be."

    Exactly Jimmy, I think it was perpetuated "by" the industry which "caused" them to be. From what I gathered watching interviews, they didn't exactly love each other, however, they did have a "respect" for each other.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a faaaabulous week!

    X to you and Cindy!

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  33. Yes, she was Fiona, very funny! I've seen her (and Joan) in several personal interviews and they were both quite humorous.

    "What golden stars they were!"



    Yup...they don't make them like that anymore.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great week!
    X

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  34. Two lovely, lovely women! They just don't make Hollywood actresses like that anymore. Theirs is class that I don't really see anymore.

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  35. Geraldine H.December 02, 2014

    PS: I remembered this post after I wrote my first comment here, thought you might enjoy reading it:

    http://mypoeticpath.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/haiku-reflections-the-autumn-leaves/



    The Autumn Leaves was a film from my childhood that I never forgot. I don't know why I happened to see it when I was younger (not really kid fare is it?) but it had a big impact on me then. Still does. Joan Crawford was amazing in this movie as was Cliff Robertson. The supporting cast was great too. And of course, that very haunting melody...


    Have a great rest of the week Ron. Did you get that snow I sent? ;-) We have NONE left here!!!

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  36. Yup...hands down, Joan Crawford for the versatility of her talents. That being said, Davis was gifted in her artform as well....boy could she be the witchy, off kiltered one thiugh. And yup, Baby Jane gave me the willies, lemme tell ya.

    But I agree, they don't make 'em like they used to. Computer graphics with all the bells and whistles has done a lot for films, but it's also done a lot for the actors/actresses, too. Like all things there's the good with the not so good.
    But black and white films hold a special place in my heart. Cheesy as some might find them, they always bring me back home, to a different time in my life.
    LOL. I'm becoming an 'old fart'! It's official. :-/ Feel free to join me.

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  37. I did not much care for Joan Crawford, maybe it was the roles she played. She was so often evil or cruel. And those eyebrows! But I love the way women were portrayed in those days - the most beautiful women were all curvy instead of bean poles!

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  38. "That being said, Davis was gifted in her artform as well....boy could she be the witchy, off kiltered one thiugh. And yup, Baby Jane gave me the willies, lemme tell ya."

    I agree, Bette was gifted in her artform as well. "Baby Jane," even to this very day, gives me the willies! And what I loved about her performance was that is was both frightening AND humorous.

    "...computer graphics with all the bells and whistles has done a lot for films, but it's also done a lot for the actors/actresses, too. Like all things there's the good with the not so good.But black and white films hold a special place in my heart."

    You are spot on about that, Mel! Computer graphics has done a lot for films, and I appreciate it. Yet, there was something utterly beautiful about the black and white films back then. They were simple, yet GRAND.

    ". I'm becoming an 'old fart'! It's official. :-/ Feel free to join me."



    HA! I'm right there with you, dear lady!


    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a glorious week!


    X

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  39. "I did not much care for Joan Crawford, maybe it was the roles she played. She was so often evil or cruel. And those eyebrows!"

    HA! Yes, Benze, those eyebrows of her's were a bit scary, I agree!

    Back then (especially the female stars), had a signature "look" to them, which I think was created by the movie studios who had them under contract.

    "But I love the way women were portrayed in those days - the most beautiful women were all curvy instead of bean poles!"



    AMEN!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super-duper week!


    X

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  40. I have to admit, I've not actually seen any of these movies! I need to check and see if Netflix carries any of them.


    Bette Davis has an intriguing look to her - not the stereotypical Hollywood star look.

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  41. If you watch any of them, try Now, Voyager or Mildred Pierce, they're my favorites and I think might enjoy them too. If you like suspense thrillers, Baby Jane is great too!

    "Bette Davis has an intriguing look to her - not the stereotypical Hollywood star look."

    Yes, you're right, she didn't have that typical Hollywood star look (like Joan), but she was beautiful in her own way. Like you said, she had an intriguing look to her.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a FABU week!

    X

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  42. The crème de la crème, Ron! Adore them both and am fortunate to have those you've mentioned except "Torch Song." Have to say my favorites of each aren't above. My absolutely favorite of BD is "Of Human Bondage" with Leslie Howard. Her acting is absolutely stunning, Ron, if you haven't seen it. And my absolutely favorite of JC is "The Bride Wore Red". Great acting and fun! I couldn't believe several months back wanting to buy it, it was only available on VHS and was going for over $100.00. Now, it's available on DVD and is going for ~$20.00. Hmmm...I just might put it on my Christmas list.
    So enjoyed the story of their rivalry. Had no idea, but wouldn't be surprised at all. As you say,

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  43. oops, As you say, "...having very similar personalities; therefore they collided like two fiery meteorites." A wonderful description, Ron!
    p.s. How did Black Friday go?

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  44. "The crème de la crème"

    You are so right, Petra, they were!

    " My absolutely favorite of BD is "Of Human Bondage" with Leslie Howard. Her acting is absolutely stunning, Ron, if you haven't seen it."

    Yes, I have seen that film and Bette WAS stunning in that role! The other one of JC, I haven't seen. I will have to look for it at F.Y.E. because they have previously viewed DVD's that are so cheap. And even their new DVD's are inexpensive. Thanks for letting me know about that film!!

    Yup, their rivalry was notorious in Hollywood. They were we two very strong women who just rubbed each other the wrong way. But I loved them both!

    Black Friday went well. We were very busy, but the day went smoothly.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear friend. Have a fabulous rest of your week!

    X

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  45. Hey Ron! I am popping in to say hello as I have been under the weather and a bit behind. Just wanted to let you know I'm still ALIVE! They really don't make the stars like they used to...something about that Old Hollywood Style. Hope you are surving retail season ... it is quite tough!! xo Jeanne and the girls

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  46. Hello there Geraldine!

    Yes, this is such an insane time of the year, so I understand. Hope you're feeling MUCH better, my friend!

    "They really don't make the stars like they used to...something about that Old Hollywood Style."

    You said it! And I miss that Old Hollywood style!

    Have a great rest of your week!
    X to you and the girlz!

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  47. I agree, Ron. Love her voice!

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  48. Thanks, Dale!


    "No wire hangers EVER!!!!!!!!!"


    X,
    Joan

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  49. A couple of great examples how great actors used to be. Back then there were many. Today, there are only a few.


    I loved the movies of that period. GREAT post Ron!

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  50. "I loved the movies of that period."


    Amen, Pat! I loved them too! There was something simple yet, GRAND about movies back then.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy!

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