Gay History – September 18, 1981: “Mommie Dearest” Opens Nationwide. Happy 40th. Birthday Mommie Dearest.

Mommie Dearest

Walk into any gay bar in America and shout, ‘‘Tina, bring me the ax!” and  you will  unleash a torrent of  quotes from one of the most unintentionally campy gay cult classics ever made, Mommie Dearest

Based on the 1978 tell-all memoir of the same name penned by Christina Crawford, the adopted daughter of Hollywood legend Joan Crawford,  Mommie Dearest tells it all.  From Crawford’s demanding nonstop attention and allegiance from her adopted kiddies to sinks full of ice and rubbing alcohol facials.  And lets not forget the booze, the boys and of course “NO MORE WIRE HANGERS”!

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a mixed approval rating of 49% based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. 

Roger Ebert opened his one-star review with, “I can’t imagine who would want to subject themselves to this movie,” calling it “unremittingly depressing, not to any purpose of drama or entertainment, but just to depress. It left me feeling creepy

About Dunaway’s performance, Variety said, “Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all.”

Faye Dunaway’s portrayal is so eerily visual and over the top it couldn’t help becoming one of the biggest gay camp classics of all time.  Interestingly Dunaway has always gone to great lengths over the years to distance herself from the movie– in an alleged voicemail rant which can be heard here. the actress declared that she was not interested in “dilly-dallying” over the film’s notoriety, and has repeatedly refused to discuss it in interviews.

Well Dunaway be dammed!  It was all about Joan anyway. And as nasty as she was Mommie Dearest resurrected her stardom and psychosis from beyond the grave in theaters across the country and energized a generation of drag queens who re-discovered shoulder pads, fuck me pumps,  and the “don’t fuck with me fellas” attitude that Joan Crawford was famous for.


1 thought on “Gay History – September 18, 1981: “Mommie Dearest” Opens Nationwide. Happy 40th. Birthday Mommie Dearest.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.