I don’t know if there is a category for Camp Noir, but if there is I nominate Queen Bee starring Joan Crawford. So deliciously hammy, trashy and tres fashionable at the same time. Check out this Lobby card for the movie.. The Hollywood Wax museum would have a hard time copying this pose for zombie allure. Few could top the Queen Joan for over-the-top cinema glamour. The skin-tight costumes by Jean-Louis were nominated for an academy award. Unfortunately the skin-tight facial expressions and caterpillar eyebrows were somehow overlooked by the makeup committee.
The film was released in 1955 and co-starred Barry Sullivan, Betsy Palmer and John Ireland. I imagine a young Aaron Spelling crib noting this movie to to use as basis of his long running soap-monster Dynasty kingdom. Flashy tight costumes with shoulder pads and jewels – Check. Riding crop destruction scene – Check. Venomous dialog spewed by crazy scheming rich bitch, Check.
“Oh, they’re so smug and namby-pamby!” [Swings riding crop violently and knocks trophies off the mantle] “I wish I could get rid of them as easy as this trash!” .
Christina Crawford, Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter, recounted in her autobiography “Mommy Dearest” that she had to leave the theater midway through a showing of this film because her mother’s portrayal of the main character was too true-to-life.
Well, I guess a real comparison reading of Mommie Dearest and The Queen Bee should help settle the matter. The Queen Bee was based on a novel by Edna Lee, which was published in 1949-. Curl up with some cocoa and enjoy.