Harriet Craig


1h 34m 1950
Harriet Craig

Brief Synopsis

A woman's devotion to her home drives away friends and family.

Photos & Videos

Harriet Craig - Movie Posters
Harriet Craig - Lobby Cards
Harriet Craig - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Film Details

Also Known As
The Lady of the House
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Nov 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: 2 Nov 1950
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Craig's Wife by George Kelly (New York, 12 Oct 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,457ft

Synopsis

Before she and her meek cousin, Clare Raymond, leave town to visit her ailing mother, Harriet Craig gives the servants elaborate housekeeping instructions. One night, Harriet is unable to reach her husband Walter on the telephone and returns home immediately. When Clare questions Harriet's mistrust of her husband, Harriet explains that her father abandoned her mother and her when she was a child, and she is determined that this will never happen to her. She now regards marriage as a bargain in which she makes a home for her husband and he takes care of her. Clare, who believes that trust grows from love, is dismayed by her cousin's perspective, but admits that the older woman may know more than she does. Upon her unexpected arrival home, Harriet is greatly upset by signs that Walter was entertaining in her absence. She is further angered when she discovers he is still in bed and expresses her opinion that the household disarray is disrespectful to her. In order to retain control over her husband, Harriet has systematically eliminated his friends from their life. She is even jealous of Mrs. Frazier, the widow who lives next door. After Walter gently complains, Harriet plans a dinner party to mollify him, but when the plans are finalized, Walter discovers that none of his old friends have been included. Later, when Harriet learns that Walter's assistant, Wes Miller, who has been dating Clare, is seriously interested in her cousin, she lies to Clare about Wes's intentions, causing her to break off the relationship. After Walter is offered a promotion that involves traveling to Japan without her, Harriet visits Henry Fenwick, his boss, and insinuates that Walter has a gambling problem and is not to be trusted with money. At the last minute, Walter is denied his promotion. When a disappointed Walter arrives home, he learns that his old family housekeeper, Mrs. Harold, has quit, unable to endure Harriet's rigid rules. Walter then asks Clare why she will not take Wes's phone calls and discovers Harriet's interference in that relationship. Angrily, he accuses Harriet of lying about everything. When Harriet explains her theory of marriage as a bargain, Walter responds that all he wanted was for her to love him. Danny, Mrs. Frazier's young son, interrupts their argument to ask Walter to fix his radio. Later, Walter spends a pleasant evening at the Fraziers, and then returns home. During an argument, Harriet inadvertently reveals that she lied about being unable to have a child, and Walter tells her that he knows about her visit to Fenwick. He adds that thanks to the intervention of Fenwick's wife Celia, he will go to Japan after all, but will not return to the house. After he leaves, Mrs. Frazier returns the pipe that Walter left at her house. Having seen Walter drive away, she offers sympathy to Harriet, but Harriet, unable to admit that her life is less than perfect, lies that Walter has only gone for a newspaper.

Photo Collections

Harriet Craig - Movie Posters
Harriet Craig - Movie Posters
Harriet Craig - Lobby Cards
Harriet Craig - Lobby Cards
Harriet Craig - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Harriet Craig - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Harriet Craig - Publicity Stills
Harriet Craig - Publicity Stills
Harriet Craig - Scene Stills
Harriet Craig - Scene Stills

Videos

Movie Clip

Craig's Wife (1936) - Open, House Isn't The Same The domestic staff (Jane Darwell and Nydia Westmond) are introduced along with Walter (John Boles), Ellen (Alma Kruger) and neighbor Mrs. Frazier (Billie Burke) in Dorothy Arzner's 1936 version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Craig's Wife, starring Rosalind Russell.
Craig's Wife (1936) - What's The Matter? In the original version of the better-known re-make (Harriet Craig, 1950), Harriet (Rosalind Russell) re-takes command of her house and servants Nydia Westman and Jane Darwell, after a trip out of town, in Craig's Wife, 1936.
Harriet Craig (1950) - A Different Approach With Each Girl Innocent Clare (K.T. Stevens), who lives-with and works-for her cousin (Joan Crawford, title character) with beau Wes (William Bishop), who works for Joan’s husband, quite sincere until she interrupts, dismissing him, then sharing a wholly fabricated secret about his intentions, in Harriet Craig, 1950.
Harriet Craig (1950) - Perhaps I'd Better Not Hear Title character Joan Crawford is upstairs now, having observed rather a mess downstairs, surprising her husband Wendell Corey, after returning early from a trip because of her (unfounded) suspicions about his activities, in Harriet Craig, 1950, from the 1925 Pulitzer Prize play by George Kelly.
Harriet Craig (1950) - Mrs. Craig Must Be So Upset! Director Vincent Sherman delivers bedlam and power relations in the opening, K.T. Stevens as cousin-cum-assistant Clare manages staff and visitors (Ellen Corby, Viola Roache, Fiona O’Shiel) while title character Joan Crawford supervises husband Wendell Corey, in Harriet Craig, 1950.
Harriet Craig (1950) - You Know About My Father? After a visit with her increasingly unwell mother, Joan Crawford (title character) consults with her cousin-assistant (K.T. Stevens), then with the doctor (Katharine Warren), providing some background, then grows suspicious and decides to travel home to surprise her husband, in Harriet Craig, 1950.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
The Lady of the House
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Nov 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: 2 Nov 1950
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Craig's Wife by George Kelly (New York, 12 Oct 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,457ft

Articles

Harriet Craig


Harriet Craig is, quite literally, a housewife - married to her house, a monster of control who cares more about her home and her possessions than she cares about her marriage. Because of her domestic obsession, she alienates friends and family. George Kelly's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Craig's Wife (1925) was filmed three times: as a silent in 1928, starring Irene Rich and Warner Baxter, directed by William de Mille; in 1936, starring Rosalind Russell and John Boles, directed by Dorothy Arzner; and as Harriet Craig (1950), starring Joan Crawford and Wendell Corey, directed by Vincent Sherman.

Crawford, then in her middle forties, was in yet another phase of her remarkably resilient career, which had taken her from flapper to proletarian working girl to fur-swathed MGM glamour queen to steely, against-all-odds survivor in her Oscar®-winning Mildred Pierce (1945) at her new studio, Warner Bros. Her subsequent roles were even fiercer. In his 1983 book, Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star, Alexander Walker writes that Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), and Harriet Craig "all feel like darkening admonitions of a neurotic descent into Crawford's 'panic period,' in which the roles are fashioned to exploit her emotional dependence."

Harriet Craig was Sherman's second of three films with Crawford. During their previous collaboration, The Damned Don't Cry, the married Sherman had begun an affair with his star that would continue through Goodbye, My Fancy (1951). As production on The Damned Don't Cry was wrapping up, Columbia Pictures asked Crawford to star in a remake of Craig's Wife, to be called Lady of the House. She asked Sherman's opinion, and he told her he thought it was dated and wouldn't work, so she turned it down. Soon after, Warner Bros. loaned out Sherman to Columbia for a film with Margaret Sullavan, which he agreed to, not realizing that the film would be Lady of the House. When he found out, he protested, but Columbia chief Harry Cohn insisted. When Crawford heard about it, she called producer William Dozier and told him that she would do the film after all. Sherman was the first, but not the last, to see the similarities between Harriet Craig and Joan Crawford. As he recalled in his 1996 autobiography, Studio Affairs, "I realized that in many ways, she was the embodiment of Harriet Craig...in her obsessive attitude toward her home; her distrust of men [because she had been abandoned by her father] and her desire to control; her power of manipulation; and her concept of the proper way for a man to behave toward his wife." Years later, when Crawford's daughter Christina published her tell-all memoir, Mommie Dearest, it was not difficult to see those same parallels in her daughter's description of Crawford's compulsive housekeeping.

Sherman was not happy about making Harriet Craig, but he worked with screenwriter James Gunn to revise the screenplay, and recalled the production of the film as a rewarding experience. He especially enjoyed his creative collaboration with cinematographer Joseph Walker and editor Viola Lawrence, one of a handful women editors in Hollywood at that time.

K.T. Stevens played the role of Harriet's niece, whose romance Harriet tries to destroy, precipitating a showdown between Harriet and her husband Walter. Born Gloria Wood, Stevens was the daughter of director Sam Wood. She made her film debut at the age of two in her father's film Peck's Bad Boy (1921), and changed her name as a young theater actress in the late 1930s, so she would not be accused of exploiting her father's name. She appeared in a few films throughout the 1940s, including Kitty Foyle (1940), directed by her father, but never became a big star. In the 1950s, she began a long and successful career in television, including a four-year stint in the soap opera, The Young and the Restless in the 1970s. She died in 1994.

Crawford's performance in Harriet Craig earned her some of her best reviews since Mildred Pierce. "Joan Crawford does a prime job of putting over the selfish title-character, equipping it with enough sock to cloak the obviousness that motivates the dramatics," according to Variety. Otis Guernsey, Jr. of the New York Herald Tribune agreed. "The film gives authentic movie star Joan Crawford an opportunity to command the camera's attention through an authentic star role. She remains, as always, a stylish performer in her clear and forceful characterization....Her vehicle may be somewhat laborious but it is steady enough to carry Miss Crawford's act."

Director: Vincent Sherman (
Producer: William Dozier
Screenplay: Anne Froelich, James Gunn, based on the play Craig's Wife, by George Kelly
Cinematography: Joseph Walker
Editor: Viola Lawrence
Costume Design: Sheila O'Brien
Art Direction: Walter Holscher
Music: George Duning
Cast: Joan Crawford (Harriet Craig), Wendell Corey (Walter Craig), Lucile Watson (Celia Fenwick), Allyn Joslyn (Billy Birkmire), William Bishop (Wes Miller), K.T. Stevens (Clare Raymond), Viola Roache (Mrs. Harold), Raymond Greenleaf (Henry Fenwick), Ellen Corby (Lottie).
BW-94m.

by Margarita Landazuri
Harriet Craig

Harriet Craig

Harriet Craig is, quite literally, a housewife - married to her house, a monster of control who cares more about her home and her possessions than she cares about her marriage. Because of her domestic obsession, she alienates friends and family. George Kelly's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Craig's Wife (1925) was filmed three times: as a silent in 1928, starring Irene Rich and Warner Baxter, directed by William de Mille; in 1936, starring Rosalind Russell and John Boles, directed by Dorothy Arzner; and as Harriet Craig (1950), starring Joan Crawford and Wendell Corey, directed by Vincent Sherman. Crawford, then in her middle forties, was in yet another phase of her remarkably resilient career, which had taken her from flapper to proletarian working girl to fur-swathed MGM glamour queen to steely, against-all-odds survivor in her Oscar®-winning Mildred Pierce (1945) at her new studio, Warner Bros. Her subsequent roles were even fiercer. In his 1983 book, Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star, Alexander Walker writes that Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), and Harriet Craig "all feel like darkening admonitions of a neurotic descent into Crawford's 'panic period,' in which the roles are fashioned to exploit her emotional dependence." Harriet Craig was Sherman's second of three films with Crawford. During their previous collaboration, The Damned Don't Cry, the married Sherman had begun an affair with his star that would continue through Goodbye, My Fancy (1951). As production on The Damned Don't Cry was wrapping up, Columbia Pictures asked Crawford to star in a remake of Craig's Wife, to be called Lady of the House. She asked Sherman's opinion, and he told her he thought it was dated and wouldn't work, so she turned it down. Soon after, Warner Bros. loaned out Sherman to Columbia for a film with Margaret Sullavan, which he agreed to, not realizing that the film would be Lady of the House. When he found out, he protested, but Columbia chief Harry Cohn insisted. When Crawford heard about it, she called producer William Dozier and told him that she would do the film after all. Sherman was the first, but not the last, to see the similarities between Harriet Craig and Joan Crawford. As he recalled in his 1996 autobiography, Studio Affairs, "I realized that in many ways, she was the embodiment of Harriet Craig...in her obsessive attitude toward her home; her distrust of men [because she had been abandoned by her father] and her desire to control; her power of manipulation; and her concept of the proper way for a man to behave toward his wife." Years later, when Crawford's daughter Christina published her tell-all memoir, Mommie Dearest, it was not difficult to see those same parallels in her daughter's description of Crawford's compulsive housekeeping. Sherman was not happy about making Harriet Craig, but he worked with screenwriter James Gunn to revise the screenplay, and recalled the production of the film as a rewarding experience. He especially enjoyed his creative collaboration with cinematographer Joseph Walker and editor Viola Lawrence, one of a handful women editors in Hollywood at that time. K.T. Stevens played the role of Harriet's niece, whose romance Harriet tries to destroy, precipitating a showdown between Harriet and her husband Walter. Born Gloria Wood, Stevens was the daughter of director Sam Wood. She made her film debut at the age of two in her father's film Peck's Bad Boy (1921), and changed her name as a young theater actress in the late 1930s, so she would not be accused of exploiting her father's name. She appeared in a few films throughout the 1940s, including Kitty Foyle (1940), directed by her father, but never became a big star. In the 1950s, she began a long and successful career in television, including a four-year stint in the soap opera, The Young and the Restless in the 1970s. She died in 1994. Crawford's performance in Harriet Craig earned her some of her best reviews since Mildred Pierce. "Joan Crawford does a prime job of putting over the selfish title-character, equipping it with enough sock to cloak the obviousness that motivates the dramatics," according to Variety. Otis Guernsey, Jr. of the New York Herald Tribune agreed. "The film gives authentic movie star Joan Crawford an opportunity to command the camera's attention through an authentic star role. She remains, as always, a stylish performer in her clear and forceful characterization....Her vehicle may be somewhat laborious but it is steady enough to carry Miss Crawford's act." Director: Vincent Sherman ( Producer: William Dozier Screenplay: Anne Froelich, James Gunn, based on the play Craig's Wife, by George Kelly Cinematography: Joseph Walker Editor: Viola Lawrence Costume Design: Sheila O'Brien Art Direction: Walter Holscher Music: George Duning Cast: Joan Crawford (Harriet Craig), Wendell Corey (Walter Craig), Lucile Watson (Celia Fenwick), Allyn Joslyn (Billy Birkmire), William Bishop (Wes Miller), K.T. Stevens (Clare Raymond), Viola Roache (Mrs. Harold), Raymond Greenleaf (Henry Fenwick), Ellen Corby (Lottie). BW-94m. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's working title was The Lady of the House. George Kelly's play was the basis of two other films, both entitled Craig's Wife: a silent version starring Irene Rich and Warner Baxter (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1070) and a 1936 Columbia film starring Rosalind Russell and directed by Dorothy Arzner (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.0856).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1950

Released in United States Fall November 1950