FEUD: "You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?"
April 24, 2017 11:42 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The series wraps up with an episode covering the last decades of Joan and Bette's lives, as they face the ends of their careers and declining health.

The show gives us a final moment between the two stars, as Joan hallucinates a gathering with Hedda, Jack Warner, and Bette. While Hedda and Jack remain unapologetic to the last, Joan and Bette have a moment of wishing they could have been kinder to each other. Though outside of Joan's mind, in the real world Bette greets news of Joan's death in her famously curt way.
posted by dnash (10 comments total)
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story, right?

Joan Crawford alone in that apartment (which is still pretty fabulous even if it's a far cry from a palatial California mansion), cooking sad TV dinners in a toaster oven.

Bette trying to take solace in her family only to find her mother hated her, her daughter now hates her too.

(Loved the digs at Faye Dunaway - Bette deciding she hates Faye more than Joan; Joan suggesting Faye could play her in a movie as word of Christina's soon to be infamous book is circulating...)
posted by dnash at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2017

They're saying season 2 of this will be about Charles & Diana. I don't feel great about that. It feels too recent, too many people still living. I feel like the historical distance with this season gave greater objectivity to the story than had ever been done with this particular pair before, and helped it to become as much a commentary on today's Hollywood as a period piece. I'm really not sure what we're supposed to learn about Charles & Diana that we haven't already, from the tons of current news reports, and "The Queen" showing some of the royal family's side of things.
posted by dnash at 11:54 AM on April 24, 2017

The Don who does Davis' portrait is Don Bachardy, Christopher Isherwood's partner.

Margaret Keane''s big eye portrait of Crawford can be seen in her apartment.

I'm inferring that the filmmakers take the "Christina is lying" side wrt Mommie Dearest. Cheryl Crane(lana turner''s daughter) reports in her memoir that she heard nannies gossiping about Crawford's abuse in the 40s and 50s.
posted by brujita at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2017

Elizabeth Fuller , who wrote a memoir about how Davis stayed with her during a hotel strike said that Davis was "firm but sweet" with her then 4 year old son.

One of the anecdotes is how the boy got lost at the beach....suddenly Fuller and Davis hear over the lifeguard''s bullhorn: "Will 'Mommy' and Bette Davis please come to the lifeguard station and pick up a boy named Christopher?"
posted by brujita at 12:00 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ryan Murphy's past few shows have convinced me that his relationship with Hollywood, fame, and the entertainment industry is about as love/hate as it gets. I really did like this show, and Sarandon and Lang both deserve awards for their performances.
posted by codacorolla at 8:33 PM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I definitely think this the strongest work I've ever seen by Murphy, not least for its quite feminist take on the protagonists and the power dynamics in Hollywood during the era. I usually hate biopics and have a very limited tolerance for Murphy's antics, but this was genuinely pretty great. (I don't think I'll stick around for Charles and Diana, though, because enough already about Charles and Diana.)
posted by whir at 10:27 PM on April 26, 2017

One of the most brilliant shots in this episode was the bit where Joan is alone on the set in the middle of the night, out of her mind, and she sees Trog's mask, slowly approaches it, gently reaches toward it to stroke its face, as the Doors chant in the background, "This is the end, my friend..."
I love people. I've been asked if I go around in disguise. Never! I want to be recognized. When I hear people say, "There's Joan Crawford." I turn around and say, Hi. How are you?
What makes that scene amazing to me is yeah, I was watching Joan Crawford, but I was also watching Jessica Lang bookending her career by reaching out to the beast who made her career at the beginning. Touching the ape's face as gently as Kong stroked hers in Dino's version of the first real film. Cut to the disoriented Joan, carelessly carrying Trog into a cave, falling into a corner, again considering the beast, before surrendering and assuming its visage.

Holy shit. Mind fucking blown.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:07 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow. Just read this series review at LARB and I'm kind of flabbergasted. If this person is really a scholar of divas, she needs a better review of the literature on Crawford and a deeper understanding of camp.
But Feud isn’t really the story of two divas at war. There is only one diva here: Crawford, played by Jessica Lange, and the whole point of the series seems to be gutting and shaming her, offering for our entertainment yet another cautionary tale of a woman who wanted too much for too long and did not have the sense or the graciousness to retreat into invisibility with age.

If in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Davis got to play the flashy grotesque to Crawford’s straight man, Feud flips the script: where Sarandon’s Davis gets to be professional, sensible, and even sexual, Lange’s Crawford is neurotic, vindictive, and isolated, a sexless alcoholic who cannot survive, emotionally or financially, off the celebrity A-list.
—Melissa Bradshaw, The Misogyny of FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan
posted by Stanczyk at 6:23 PM on May 8, 2017

I'm so glad Judy Davis got an Emmy nomination for her Hedda. She was sensational!
posted by h00py at 8:10 AM on July 22, 2017

I'm inferring that the filmmakers take the "Christina is lying" side wrt Mommie Dearest. Cheryl Crane(lana turner''s daughter) reports in her memoir that she heard nannies gossiping about Crawford's abuse in the 40s and 50s.

It's hard to know how much of Mommie Dearest is true. Crawford's son Christopher said it was a mild account of what their mother was like, while the "twins" Cindy and Cathy denied everything and people who knew Joan well said she was too hard on her children but that they didn't believe it was as extreme as in the book. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle. Joan acknowledged herself, late in life, that she hadn't been a good mother. Christina was the oldest child and the most wilful, so I think she got treated worse than the two youngest girls, who were much more compliant and were adopted in a later stage of Crawford's life.

Bette Davis's daughter's book seems to have been renounced by everyone in a position to know what was going on in Davis's household. Davis's adopted son said the book was false and stopped speaking to B.D. after the book came out, Davis's ex husband also denied that the book was accurate, and there were other people who said it was a false account. I think it's fairly safe to dismiss B.D.'s version of events.
posted by orange swan at 9:02 PM on September 3, 2017

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