Streams

No Wire Hangers! Mothers in the Movies

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Time movie critic Richard Corliss looks at how mothers have been portrayed on the screen. Mom in the Movies: The Iconic Screen Mothers You Love (and a Few You Love to Hate) is his fully illustrated book about how Hollywood has celebrated, vilified and otherwise memorialized dear old Mom. He writes about the Criminal Moms, like Shelley Winters in “Bloody Mama,” and the eccentric Showbiz Moms from “Gypsy” and “Postcards from the Edge.” In addition to Great American Moms there are plenty of frightening mothers, like Angela Lansbury in “The Manchurian Candidate” and Faye Dunaway playing the terrifying Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.”

AMC/AMC
Don Draper from AMC's "Mad Men", pushing his son, Bobby, on a swing

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Myrna Loy
Courtesy Turner Theatrical Library/Turner Classic Movies
Myrna Loy in "Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House," 1948. Myrna Loy leads husband Cary Grant and daughters Connie Marshall and Sharyn Moffett to their new country estate.

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Jane Darwell in
Courtesy Turner Theatrical Library/Turner Classic Movies
Jane Darwell in "The Grapes of Wrath," 1940. Ma Joad (Jane Darwell) leads her family (Henry Fonda, Russell Simpson, Doris Bowden seated in the rear) to California, the land of broken promises.

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Mary Astor in
Courtesy Turner Theatrical Library/Turner Classic Movies
Mary Astor in "Meet Me in St. Louis," 1944. Mary Astor and husband, Leon Ames, sing a song at Christmas, attended by daughter Margaret O'Brien.

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Joan Crawford in 'Mildred Pierce'
Courtesy Turner Theatrical Library/Turner Classic Movies
Joan Crawford in "Mildred Pierce," 1945. Joan Crawford slaves her way to success for her thankless child, Ann Blyth.

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Greer Garson in
Courtesy Turner Theatrical Library/Turner Classic Movies
Greer Garson in "Mrs. Miniver," 1942. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon clutch their children (Christopher Severn and Clare Sanders) during an air raid.

From Mom in the Movies, but Richard Corliss, published by Simon & Schuster and Turner Classic Movies.

Guests:

Richard Corliss

Comments [6]

My mother was the paragon of true motherhood, what we call in Yiddish an "eishes chayal" or Woman of Valor and Virtue. Unfortunately her example initially gave me the absolutely wrong impression of women at an early age, and at first put women on a pedestal from which thereafter they would forever be knocked off. Women are just frustrated men, having no penis nor the upper body strength on average and lacking of those symbols of power, and that drives so many of them totally crazy. Women want power, just as most men do. Many hated having to wield power behind men or their own sons. Now women have power up front but must keep men down in order to hold onto it. Women have the political power to do just that and so now it is young men who feel utterly powerless as young women once did.

May. 08 2014 12:58 PM
James A Durland

My favorite film mother is Ma Joad in the Grapes of Wrath. She is the haert of the family and the film

May. 08 2014 12:55 PM
Susan from Westchester, NY

Juanita Moore played the saintly mother of the wicked,selfish,thoughtless daughter in the later version of Imitation of Life!!!

May. 08 2014 12:54 PM

Hepburn in suddenly last summer great bad mom

But Sybil's mom led me to conclude my mother wasnt that bad after all

May. 08 2014 12:50 PM
suzinne from Bronx

When I first saw "Mommie Dearest" in the movies back in 1981, I said to myself "This is just like my home life." No joke. Ma (as we called her) was a raving, off the wall, lunatic who was in fact named "Joan" after Joan Crawford.

Here we go again, another Mother's Day. SO happy I don't have to be phony and buy a card. Ma's gone now, and don't miss her for a minute.

May. 08 2014 12:47 PM

I think the Spartans had it right, to take children away from mothers at the age of 7 to be raised as warriors by men. Otherwise they become crazy mama's boys.

May. 08 2014 12:44 PM

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