Joan Crawford — Answers Twenty Pointed Questions (1933) 🇺🇸
Movie Classic, through James Fidler, asks Joan twenty impertinent queries — ranging from health right through to divorce — and she comes back with twenty pertinent answers. Its something new and frank in interviews!
Joan Crawford is the third star to cooperate with Movie Classic to give you a cross-examination interview — something new and newsy in interviews. You form your own impressions of a star, without any help from the interviewer. The questions ask things that everybody wants to know about Joan — but they are worded frankly to encourage frank, revealing answers. And the stars who follow her in this series will have to work hard to be any franker than Joan Crawford! — Editor.
“Your Questions-and-Answers are certainly causing talk in Hollywood,” Joan Crawford told James Fidler when he arrived to pry into her secrets. “When I was informed that I was to be your next ‘victim,’ I trembled in my boots. But here I am; what are you going to do with me?”
“Well, I might be like a dentist and tell you this isn’t going to hurt at all,” Jimmie responded, “or else I might act like a fond parent and tell you this will hurt me worse than you.”
Either way, Joan cooperated whole-heartedly, and despite the fact that some of Fidler’s questions were abruptly frank, she answered him in kind. The results explain many things about Joan Crawford, and also correct a few false impressions.
Read Jimmie’s “impertinent” questions (in light italics) and Joan’s “pertinent” answers (in heavy Roman type), and learn for yourself:
1. Did you have an operation performed on your eyes to enlarge them?
Joan’s answer: “No.” (Laughing.) “I can explain that rumor, though. Another star whose first name is Joan has had serious trouble with her eyes. When she goes to New York, she visits a noted eye specialist there. People, gossiping, have confused the two Joans. First rumors had me going blind, but later reports changed this to the theme of your question.”
2. Why did you use such heavy make-up on your lips in recent pictures?
Joan Crawford: “When I first entered motion pictures, I was told that my mouth was too large; consequently, I adopted a style of make-up to make my lips appear smaller. Not long ago I became less self-conscious; I decided my mouth was not too large. Then I went to the other extreme, and used very dark lip-rouge to emphasize my mouth. The effect was far from what I wanted, so now I have found a middle ground — I rouge my lips to their normal size, but use a natural make-up color.”
3. Did dieting nearly wreck your health? Do you diet now?
Joan Crawford: “‘Foolish’ dieting injured my health. I ate condiments until the lining of my stomach was raw. Warned by physicians that I must cease that practice, I decided to ‘eat nothing,’ and often lived for days on buttermilk. I tore down my physical resistance, and considerable medical care was necessary to gain my recovery. I still diet, but sensibly. I eat, but I do not partake of fattening foods.”
4. What do you detest reading about yourself?
Joan Crawford: “Untruths, and gossip — not only about myself, but about other people. I am honest, and I detest dishonesty. Untrue, unfair gossip infuriates me, and once I tried to fight it. I found fighting did no good, so now I treat it with disdain.”
5. Are you ill? Was your recent trip abroad for the purpose of recovering your health?
Joan Crawford: “I was ill; I am not ill now. I throw myself into my work with such intensity that my nerves are punished severely. When I went to Europe, I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. The trip proved so beneficial that I am determined to repeat it annually.”
6. Have you and your husband, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., reached an understanding by which each agrees that the other may visit public places attended by someone else?
Joan Crawford: “Yes. We are intelligent enough to permit outside friendships without absurd jealousy. We are engaged in a unique business. There have been periods of months at a time when our individual production schedules have rendered it impossible for us to go out often together; consequently, we understand each other when we seek companionship elsewhere during such times. Unfortunately, many people do not agree with us, and there have been ridiculous, unjust rumors following such appearances.”
7. What changed you from the good-time, dance-contest girl of a few years ago to the present dignified Joan Crawford?
Joan Crawford: “I do not believe I have changed, except to undergo the natural alterations that time brings about. I should love to take part in dance contests now, but Hollywood hotels and restaurants no longer have them. Don’t forget, too, that I work much harder now; I have less time to play at night.”
8. Do you ever intend to have children?
Joan Crawford: “Thousands of them! I love them. I coddle strange babies on streets. Mothers must dread me, the way I spoil children who work in my pictures.”
9. What is the limit of your ambitions?
Joan Crawford: “Ambitions have no limit. Once I asked a friend the very same question, and he enumerated the things he wished to do. Suddenly, I realized that he was not ambitious; he merely had aims. There are always newer, higher goals to strive for, and no person has ever achieved perfection.”
10. Do you think a woman should be jealous of a man’s past, or he of hers?
Joan Crawford: “No. A man’s past — and a woman’s — are their own. A wife and husband owe each other loyalty and allegiance only from the day they pledge themselves to each other.”
11. Do you agree with many critics that Sadie Thompson in “Rain” was your worst screen performance?
Joan Crawford: “I loathed the picture. I think I over-acted throughout. When I attended the premiere, I closed my eyes time and again and whispered to Doug, ‘Tell me when the scene is finished.’ I was unhappy during the making of ‘Rain’ — unhappy, I mean, on the sets and with the details of production. Under such circumstances, I do not believe it humanly possible to give one’s best efforts.”
12. How much longer do you give yourself on the screen?
Joan Crawford: “As long as my stories are good — no longer. I believe the day is past when a star’s screen life was limited to a brief period of years. Given good stories, an actress may remain popular indefinitely, as is possible on the stage.”
13. Are you stage-ambitious?
Joan Crawford: “Yes; I have been since childhood. I am mad to do a play before an audience I can see. My motion picture contract prevents now, but I hope that within a few years I may have opportunities to satisfy my heart in that direction.”
14. Have you been hampered by the presence of Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer as stars with your company?
Joan Crawford: “Not at all. We are of distinctly different types. I think the men at the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have chosen stories suitable for me, as well as for Miss Shearer and Miss Garbo, with the fairest minds and aims.”
15. Did you gain as much as you lost with marriage?
Joan Crawford: “I gained far more. I attained a more serious outlook on life. I learned the importance of tolerance, and of sacrifice. I discovered that there is fun in being considerate of the other fellow. Any woman who enters into marriage seriously and with honesty profits greatly.”
16. Do you believe a man should be head of his house?
Joan Crawford: “Yes. Doug fills that position in our home, despite what gossips may say. He pays the servants, the grocer, the household bills. I assume the wifely responsibility of keeping his home in order. I think men like to provide, but like their wives to attend to the actual task of maintaining a smooth-running household.”
17. Do you think married women should work?
Joan Crawford: “I think all women should have an interest other than taking care of her home. But I also think certain duties should be considered. If a woman marries a man of moderate means and she chooses to work, I think she should employ a servant, from her own salary, to attend to those household duties which she will find herself unable to perform.”
18. What one common trait should every woman develop in order to make herself more attractive?
Joan Crawford: “Naturalness. Every woman should strive ‘to be herself — making that self pleasant and charming, of course. Some women have more than ordinary beauty, others have more personality, and others have more common sense, but it is within the scope of every woman to make herself so natural that she will be admired for her honesty and sincerity.”
19. Do you weigh only one hundred and ten pounds?
Joan Crawford: “I weigh slightly more than one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and I wish newspapers and magazines would understand that. Only yesterday I read that I weigh one hundred and eight pounds. At such a weight, I would be as thin as a fence rail.”
20. And now, Miss Crawford, a question I dislike asking, but must in order to quid the clamoring mob: Are you and Doug contemplating a divorce?
Joan Crawford: “Thank you for your thoughtfulness, and the answer is: No. I have heard that question so often, from so many people, from so many sources. Gossip, gossip, gossip all untrue. Please believe me, the answer is: No!”
Joan claimed she dreaded Jimmie’s questions — but when he started popping them, she enjoyed them. They gave her a chance to set people straight about a number of things!
Source: Movie Classic Magazine, April 1933
Source: Stars and Films of 1937