"If monsters like Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons and Jimmy Fidler didn't happen to like you, they didn't like your pictures,
but if they liked you, they'd call a piece of shit a birthday cake."~Joan Crawford
"Strait Jacket" 1964
Cast: Joan Crawford~Diane Baker~Leif Erickson~Howard St. John~John Anthony Hayes~Rochelle Hudson~George Kennedy~Edith
Atwater~Mitchell Cox~Lee Yeary~Patricia Krest~Vachel Cos~Patty Lee~Laura Hess~Robert Ward~Lyn Lundgren.
Director & Producer: William Castle
Box Office Figures for "Strait Jacket":
Top Grossing Film Position: Ranked #35
Gross Rentals: $2,400,000.
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Thank you for your review on this film.
Stars: Three for Sheer Nerve
Review: "Strait-Jacket" is a camp classic, as compulsively watchable as a train wreck, and succeeds on the inspired
combination of showman/director William Castle, an impish, Hitchcock-wannabe, and star Joan Crawford, so off-the-charts and
"committed" in her performance that she defies one to look away. Usually Castle has a gimmick like "Percept-o"
wired seats for "The Tingler" and "Illusion-o" 3-D glasses for "13 Ghosts." This time he has
Crawford. I saw this film on television as a little girl and would say it's good fun for all ages; I remember laughing at
the same bits then.
Joan Crawford stars as Lucy Harbin, a woman who has just been released from an asylum for killing her husband and his
girlfriend with an axe. She is now planning to reunite with daughter Carol (Diane Baker) who had witnessed the brutal slaying
as a child. Everything is going smoothly...until the heads start rolling again (literally).
"Strait-Jacket" is elevated to memorably gleeful heights for many reasons, not the least of which is Crawford.
In fact, her performance is the chief fascination. Although it is sad to see this wonderful star reduced to such an undignified
role, she plays it straight and gives this B-picture her all, as she always does, actually managing to imbue her character
with some vulnerability and genuine pathos in the midst of the sensationalism. Tragically she was hitting the sauce frequently
at this point in her career, in spite of being talented and pro enough to carry and warrant far better material. She runs
a schizophrenic gamut of emotion from maniacal fury to sadness to lasciviousness to fear to everything in between, often in
the same scene. Her bizarre attire when transforming back to the Lucy of twenty years ago includes an unflattering black fright
wig and an armload of clanking bracelets, and she is garishly lit (oh, what these ladies of the silver screen didn;t have
to endure to keep working after a "certain age!"). Playing at forty, we don't care that we don't believe her, but
she fares much better when her makeup is toned down and she uses her natural hair, appearing more normal then as opposed to
partially deranged. Diane Baker works well as her daughter and Rochelle Hudson (of the Shirley Temple film "Curly Top")
stars as Baker's aunt.
Which campy moment to relish? The beginner's luck with which Crawford is able to chop off two obviously wooden heads with
one blow in an early scene? The scene where she saucily lights a match on a phonograph record? Or when looking like an aging
hooker, as one reviewer put it, she makes a play for her daughter's boyfriend out of left field and equally out of left field
(for the other cast members) sticks her fingers in his mouth? Or what about the Pepsi CEO who is as wooden as the Indian in
a cigar store and who was given a job simply as a political perk? Painfully he recites his lines and mercilessly he is dispatched.
Or my absolute favorite -- the denouement in which two Lucy-Harbins-as-Mildred-Pierce-with-a-hatchet appear and the "real
killer" is unmasked?
A campfest of the highest order.
Review/Comment: The only time I've ever seen this movie was way back in 1964 and I sure would like to see it again but
I can't find it.I was wondering if you could help me with this.Let me know if and where I could get this movie,would be very