January 13, 2013

Queen Bee

For lovers of bad movies, it doesn't get much better than Joan Crawford and her deliriously overwrought vehicle, Queen Bee (1955), a ridiculous, over-the-top piece of twaddle about a Southern household full of miserable people, none of them with enough brass to stand up to Miss Crawford's demands. Her husband is the one with the money, but he's an alcoholic and so she pretty much controls every aspect of the family circle, manipulating, blackmailing, backstabbing, or crying, if necessary, to get what she wants. A drab, goody-goody young relative named Jennifer (Lucy Marlow) comes to live with them, and she gets to witness all the cooked-up hokum unfold. This movie has everything: tawdry affairs, murder, suicide, bad pop psychology, and a thin veneer of Southern countrified histrionics to make everything particularly amusing in its badness. With John Ireland, Betsy Palmer, Barry Sullivan, and Fay Wray. Written and directed, with a straight face, by Ranald McDougall. 95 min.  

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