Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Franchot on Joan's Humor, Talent, and Feminist Example

Joan. Dancing Lady, 1933.
Franchot continues his conversation with Jack Jamison on his love for Joan:
And then, of course, there's her sense of humor. You can always tell if a person really has a sense of humor by his willingness to let himself seem ridiculous. Joan loves to be caught looking 'silly,' so that people will laugh.
Sometimes at the end of a scene, while the cameras are still turning, she makes a face or lets her mouth hang open. Then when she goes into the projection room to see the rushes, she too laughs at the foolish picture of herself. It isn't loud, insincere laughter—the kind of laughter so many people use to cover a situation which embarrasses them. Nor is it the kind of laughter that seems to say, 'See what a good sport I am?' It's more a snicker, like a youngster's, but very real. She honestly loves to kid herself.
She loves to kid other people, too, but never cruelly—always gently. Once when we were making a picture together, I was supposed to do a swimming scene. Joan went to the director and asked anxiously, 'The tank isn't deep, is it?'
'Sure! Ten feet or so.' The director replied. 'Why?'
'Mr. Tone can't swim.'
'Can't he swim at all?'
'Well,' she said. 'He can do the breast-stroke a little.'
She had them nearly crazy, explaining that I'd look silly if I couldn't do a crawl stroke, wondering if they could get a shallow tank so I could just wade, arranging for me to stay up all night and learn strokes. Then after they were all wild, she broke down and told them that I really could swim, after all.
But there is something even more important than a sense of humor—especially in a woman. And that is good taste. Joan's taste is exquisite. Like her intelligence, it is instinctive. While William Haines gets the credit for decorating her beautiful home, Joan, as a matter of fact, did a great deal of the actual choosing.
And her taste is as creative as it is discriminating. I've even heard her make suggestions to Adrian when he was planning clothes for her. They must have been good suggestions, because Adrian followed them.
Incidentally, Joan's wardrobe is stunning because she has good taste and not because she spends large sums of money on clothes. Undoubtedly one of the best-dressed girls in pictures, she spends far less for clothes than many another feminine stars. Recently, when complimented on a lovely new outfit, Joan winked and said, 'Last year's suit. New scarf and new hat, that's all.'
Most important is her taste in people. I have never, and there is not a single exception, found a soul she liked whom I didn't like, too. In choosing her friends, accomplishment—what they've done—means nothing to her. She's interested in what they are. If what they are helped them to do something, that is another matter. But popular acclaim, fame, popularity—they mean nothing to her. They two qualities Joan looks for in a person are sincerity and self-reliance.
And then, last but not least, there is Joan's talent. She has temperament. Her emotions are quick and full. She's angry when she's angry, gay when she's gay. I think she is one of the most vivid personalities on the screen or stage today. And I think that, with her determination, she is going to become one of the greatest artists America has ever produced. She herself believes she is only beginning now.
I believe Joan Crawford would have achieved outstanding success in any profession she chose for herself. She is the perfect example for feminists to point to in maintaining that the sexes are capable of equal achievement. With her shrewd, clear, quick thinking, she would make a marvelous business woman. With her executive powers and ability at handling people, she could go far in politics. With her sympathy and intelligent understanding for other people's troubles, she would be ideal for social service. Every child she meets falls in love with her—she ought to be a wonderful teacher. That girl could do anything!
Part One: Franchot on Joan's Intelligence and Beauty

Jamison, Jack. "'I'd Rather Know Joan Than Anybody Else' says Franchot Tone." Photoplay Magazine. November 1933.

No comments:

Post a Comment