Strait-Jacket, a Joan Crawford Masterpiece

Feminism? Not sure... but satisfying? Definitely.

Warning! This movie depicts ax murders! Warning? More like Welcome! Why stay satisfied with Faye Dunaway’s impersonation, “Christina, bring me the ax!” Instead, you can watch a movie where the actual Joan Crawford swings one around. It’s Joan playing a woman named Lucy, and Diane Baker as her daughter. Also, Lee Majors makes his first on screen performance as her murdered husband. Lee went on to become very famous, for among other things, starring in “The Six Million Dollar Man”.



After Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? became successful, aging women of Hollywood were scrambling to create the next horror bust. Joan Blondell was originally to play the role of Lucy, but was injured prior to shooting. Suspicious? So, Joan Crawford took the role, claiming cast approval and 15% of the film’s entire profit. She forced out Anne Helm, and replaced her with Diana Baker (they’d worked together before). Diane Baker actually claims on the featurette accompanying the DVD that she was given the role because Anne Helm was an incompetent actress. Truthfully, at the time of the movie, Helm was the more seasoned actor of the two. It seems Joan and Diane may have been birds of a feather, a bitchy feather.

Um.. Hi-YA again!

So, Joan Crawford, aka Lucy, is returning home from the mental hospital after 20 years. She was put away for savagely decapitating her husband with an ax. Is savage decapitation redundant? Perhaps. She comes home to a semi quiet farmstead that is now run by her daughter, Carol. Carol wants things to go back to the way they were. She encourages her mother to look exactly as she did the time of the murder. Sounds healthy, I know. Soon Lucy starts hearing a mocking song everywhere she goes. If the movie were modern, I’d recommend Marylin Manson to write the tune.


“Lucy Harbin took an ax, gave her husband 40 wacks.”

Beautiful Bust

Well, her husband shouldn’t have cheated on her. Then, she wouldn’t have had to chop his head off. I mean, really. I abhor violence, but there’s something about a crime of passion that really gets me going. You’ll never hear me complain about queer drama. Bring it on, I want all my nearly burned-out queer icons ax-weilding and foaming at the mouth… with good stylists.

Things get hella creepy (there’s a nod to my friend Gina, who uses “hella” more effectively that even Gwen Stefani). Soon, a matronly Joan Crawford is transformed into a duplicate of her former self. Even her jewelry is on point. Lucy struggles with the time machine makeover. However, her daughter, Carol, begs her to become her old self, and Lucy feels too guilty not to comply.

This mother daughter team could kick some serious roller derby ass.

Everything’s fine, until it isn’t. Heads start to roll again, and everyone’s afraid Lucy has returned to her murderess pattern, especially Lucy. She’s scared that she’s blacking-out, and killing the people around her. Man, I hate when that happens. That’s why Allison keeps the ax out of reach. I’m capable of anything after dark.

There’s lots of shots of intensity. Mostly, you stare at Joan Crawford the entire movie. I don’t think you go more than 30 seconds without looking at her. While building to a crescendo of terror, we start to uncover the truth about these new murders. Audiences today will be less shocked by the reveal, but can bathe-bask-and beyond in the performance surrounding it.

Am i ruining things by announcing that if ANYONE comes across a Joan Crawford mask in real life, I’ll pay top dollar. Email me.

Click Here to start watching this masterpiece. If you get the DVD though… you can watch the back-biting actor drama. YES!



2 comments to Strait-Jacket, a Joan Crawford Masterpiece

  • Nicole

    Brilliant! There are few things I love more in life than watching Joan Crawford swing an axe around and act like a crazy! This movie is so great!

  • Lyska

    I agree! Next week I’m discussing a movie that Joan Crawford was pulled from. Did you know that because she practically controlled Pepsi that she demanded product placement in every single movie? Perhaps, to spite her, the movie for next week’s blog put a deliberate scene of a Coca Cola truck driving down the street.