Politics makes strange bedfellows for Joan Crawford and a cadre of kingmakers.
It’s fun when Joan Crawford can vamp it up and come out victorious.
Obligatory bus anecdote
So bus drivers miss stops sometimes, right? Or don’t open the backdoor for some reason. Some people yell to have the bus stop. Me, I just stood there at the backdoor while everyone looked at me and the bus kept moving. It’s too damn early in the morn for me to raise my voice. Besides, the extra half-mile walk probably did me good.
The Random Remake
Fielding Carlisle (Michael Fassbender!) is a Southern gentlemen, a deputy sheriff, and an all-around OK kind of guy. He knows he’s being taken under the wing of the imposing sheriff Titus Semple (Robert Duvall), but he doesn’t know how far. Fielding is following the script: simple law degree, upstanding job, courting of the lady Titus implores him to marry. Everyone wants him to run for city council, but he says he wants to concentrate on his job. We see Titus doing some corrupt stuff: letting the son of a local business owner out of jail after a DUI, grabbing some free grub from the local diner, meeting in secret backrooms with other dignitaries.
Everything is pretty much on schedule until the carnival comes to town. One of its organizers, a rough lady named Lane Bellamy (Reese Witherspoon) makes a point of skirting the local ordinances for noise, land use, etc., and Fielding is sent to deal with the nuisance. Fielding soon becomes enchanted with Lane, who represents the gruff anarchy he has had to reject to fit in. He tells her that his whole life has been about landing on Flamingo Road, the nicest part of town.
Titus, obviously, doesn’t like Lane interfering with his plans and hatches schemes to get rid of her, including framing her for random crimes – even after Fielding pleads with her to quit the carnie and stay in town. Titus wants Fielding as a US senator, and soon Titus is back-channeling to get his ways. That is, until Fielding has a change of heart about being a stooge and stands up to Titus, who responds by creating a scandal for Fielding involving Lane and destroying his squeaky clean image and career. Fielding is distraught by the lies and his sudden depression alienates Lane. Fielding offs himself in the milieu, and now Lane wages war against Titus, who has decided to appoint himself to the absent senate seat, blackmailing everyone in the state to do so. Lane is up against a powerful adversary, but she has knowledge Titus doesn’t – and soon she’s sown the seeds of a drug scandal, drugging Titus and injecting with enough heroin to stop his aging heart. On her way out of town, she drives by Flamingo Road and bids it farewell.
Flamingo Road: When their paths cross, the going gets rough
Next up: Of Human Bondage (1934)