Tina, bring me my tights: Joan Crawford's Torch Song as Swan Song

This year, Fresh City Life is celebrating Hollywood Regency style in film. Torch Song, Joan Crawford's musical offering from 1953, is a fabulous and fabulously wrong film. It plays this Tuesday on the big screen.

Crawford always found the zeitgeist. She was a liberated flapper at just the right moment. Then she transformed into a shop girl who makes good to highlight the collapse of the economy. And after WWII, she debuted her last great incarnation for the screen -- a self-empowered and independent woman who didn't need anyone by her side to make her complete. It played beautifully to pre-Women's Movement audiences. And then, when her star began to fade, her film choices became more over-the-top and her characters more broadly sketched. In Torch Song, she is Joan Crawford as Joan Crawford playing Joan Crawford. It is a camp classic, though Crawford hoped it would be something very different.

Torch Song (1953)
Tuesday, February 25, 6:30-9 p.m.
Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center

Starring Joan Crawford. Directed by Charles Waters.
A classic film of the Hollywood Regency era, watching Torch Song is like staring at perfectly lit costume jewelry – all icy beauty, saturated color, glitter and artifice. The sets, the costumes, the script, Joan Crawford’s eyebrows – all seem larger than life. Filmed in gorgeous Technicolor, this is one of Joan Crawford’s last great roles; she has become a caricature of herself as The Star. It works brilliantly in this film – but discerning viewers will see that the mirror has cracked. 90 minutes. Not rated.


Written by Chris on February 24, 2014


Johna439 on April 28, 2014


Magnificent website. Lots of useful information here. Im sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat! bgekdcfcbbdf

Anonymous on May 20, 2014


Anyone know who the artist of the poster was ....?


as a long time film poster collector have,,,diligently followed the thread of this art for years...

fun things to plug into "google"...

MGM artist William Cotton's May, 1933 caricature of Joan in Shadowplay magazine (an ad for MGM's latest Crawford film...Today We Live...) this is the earliest I find this art used...

a variation next appears in 1938 and is usually labeled "Joan Crawford self portrait 1938"..

then there's the original Herald that was printed to advertise 1941's A Woman's Face...put in herald + a woman's face..very similar to Cotton's work..and may indeed be his..

the art for the 1953 poster seems to be a slight reworking of all of them!!!..just keep in mind that MGM used hundreds of artists...even including the venerable Al Hirschfeld ...who also did caricatures of Crawford..

hope any of this helps...Cheers, Ed...

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