Author Mike McCrann

  • Mike McCrann



Lee Grant: Proof That Hollywood Does Have Second Acts

In the early 1950s Lee Grant had it all—Broadway career, a new husband (the playwright Arnold Manoff) and an Oscar nomination for her first film Detective Story—then it was all gone. Grant was blacklisted for twelve years at the peak of her youth and talent. But life has a way of making amends. Read more...

Remembering Mona Freeman and Martha Hyer, Actresses of the Golden Age

Two Hollywood actresses from the Golden Age, Mona Freeman and Martha Hyer, died last month. Neither was a huge star, and most people under 50 probably had no idea who they were, but both ladies were beautiful and talented, and each had a few wonderful films. One was even nominated for an Academy Award.


Faye Dunaway is 'Mad as Hell': New Book Chronicles the Making of 'Network'

1977 was a great year for Faye Dunaway. She finally won her Academy Award for her blistering performance in the now-classic Network. Previously nominated for Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 and Chinatown in 1974, Dunaway was at the pinnacle of her career. Little did she know that the long slide to oblivion had already stared.

Jane Fonda—Actress, Sex Kitten, Activist, Fitness Guru—Takes Home AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Jane Fonda is probably the most polarizing celebrity in movie history. Praised as an actress, denounced as a traitor, Fonda has had more career changes than any actress to date, but she has come full circle. She was recently given the prestigious AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, and the ceremony was televised on TNT this past Saturday evening.

Alice Will Always Live Here: Examining a Breakthrough in Early Feminism

1974 was a great year for American films, possibly the finest year of the entire decade. Chinatown, Godfather II, Woman Under the Influence—classic after classic that 40 years later still retain all their original luster. Of all the films released that year, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore probably has the most meaning and topicality. Ellen Burstyn won the Academy Award for her groundbreaking portrayal of Alice under the direction of Martin Scorsese in his first studio "A" list film.

Marion Cotillard, Star of 'The Immigrant': An Actress at Her Peak

A goddess walks among us. She is 38, and she is not American. She is the French superstar Marion Cotillard—star of The Immigrant, in theatres now—and I have been bewitched by her since her amazing performance as Edith Piaf, which brought her the Academy Award back in 2008. I truly think that Marion Cotillard is the premiere actress of her generation. Every film she makes is unique and she is splendid in the varied characters she has played recently.

Bad Movies: Make Them Stop!

American movies have reached their nadir. This past Monday I decided to go see the No. 1 movie from the past two weeks – Neighbors and The Other Woman. I can only say that Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges must be rolling in their graves. These two great comedy masters would have been appalled at what is passing for comedy in films today.

Neighbors: OK, I wanted to see Zac Efron in his shirtless scenes. Check. He looked great. But this raunchy comedy with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a married couple with a fraternity next door was beyond the pale. Both the NY Times and the L.A. Times gave this disaster positive reviews. Critics have compared it to Animal House as one of the best. Please. Read more...

Dearest Faye—Dunaway and Crawford

It's difficult to say who received worse publicity—Joan Crawford for being a bad mother or Faye Dunaway for playing her in Mommie Dearest. As the 'day of the mom' is here, we thought it fitting to rerun the Mommie Dearest story in which Faye Dunaway's great performance as the legendary Joan Crawford is finally given its due.

"Joan, thanks to Dunaway's performance, manages to steal Christina's story from beyond the grave." —Eric Henderson, Slant magazine
"Why can't you give me the respect that I'm entitled to?"  —Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford
For over 30 years, Mommie Dearest has been the high-camp champ of motion pictures. There have been a number of worthy contenders, like Valley of the Dolls and Showgirls, but gay movie fans have a special reverence for both Joan Crawford and Faye Dunaway, who took on the movie idol and lived to regret it. The film's famous lines (almost any line in the film!) "No more wire hangers," "Tina, bring me the axe," etc., have entered camp nirvana. So why at this late date do we still need to talk about Mommie Dearest, and what more can be said? For starters, Faye Dunaway should be given the respect that she's entitled to.

Is It Possible to Choose the Best Bette Davis Performance?

Bette Davis has been a gay icon for decades. Next to Judy Garland, La Bette has probably inspired, entertained and thrilled more gays for years with her over the top performances and outlandish behavior.
Choosing the greatest Bette Davis performance will also probably inspire, entertain and outrage her many gay fans. So many choices. The most obvious are of course, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and All About Eve. These are the most famous Davis performances and each of them is a treasure. Beyond their camp value, Davis is remarkable in both films. Eve saved her career in 1950 and Jane prolonged it in 1962. Davis was nominated for Best Actress for both films. (She did not win either – see Oscar blogs on both the 1950 and 1962 Oscar races.)

The Children's Hour: A Cultural Dinosaur with Brilliant Hepburn, MacLaine Performances

"I feel so damn sick and dirty I can't stand it anymore." 
—Shirley MacLaine, The Children's Hour

There are so many gay characters on television and in the movies that most younger gays probably assume this has always been the case. With gay marriage marching proudly toward an eventual Supreme Court victory, it seems like a good time to go back in time and check out some of the first films that featured gay characters and themes.