FILM ARCHIVES

Mommie Dearest Dish From Rutanya Alda

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Rutanya Alda played loyal housekeeper Carol Ann in the 1981 flick about Joan Crawford’s abuse of little Christina, who fought back with a tell-all.

She’s interviewed in my current column, but here are some more tidbits she revealed to me (which will be in her upcoming book, The Mommie Dearest Diaries):

“In the funeral parlor scene where I greet Christina, originally it was filmed where I go into the room with the coffin and Faye Dunaway is lying in it, and I weep and tell her that I will miss her and ask why she had to go before me.

“When I go in to film the scene, I find Faye gone, and instead [director] Frank Perry has taken a Polaroid photo of Faye in the coffin and he places the photo in the coffin and I have to do my scene to the Polaroid!

“This was true in a lot of my scenes with Faye, as she would disappear after her close-ups and I would do the scenes without her. But I found this to be really strange, weeping to the Polaroid photo.

“I must say I loved working on this film in spite of the drama — or maybe because of it — and I am proud of this film. I wish Faye had embraced her work. I think she was wonderful.”

And so was her Polaroid!

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