Mommie Dearest debunked

Syracuse Cinephile Society will screen Joan Crawford's real home movies here this weekend:

Every year at this time, the Syracuse Cinephile Society hosts its annual Cinefest which draws a few hundred vintage film fans from all over the world to the Holiday Inn on Electronics Park in Salina.

But not every year do they show home movies featuring a controversial star of the silver screen.

This year's Cinefest 29 audiences will enjoy an unusual rarity, Joan Crawford's personal home movies shot in the 1940s and showing the glamorous star behind the scenes with family members and friends. Films from Crawford's estate are now housed in the archives of Rochester's George Eastman House, whose representatives will screen them here.

Memoir spawned movie

In the 1981 film "Mommie Dearest" based on a memoir by Christina Crawford, Faye Dunaway portrayed Joan Crawford as a driven, alcoholic actress and compulsive housekeeper who tried to control the lives of those around her, including Christina.

Born Lucille LeSueur in San Antonio, the real-life Crawford excelled on screen and in business (notably for Pepsi Cola), but grew estranged from her two eldest children, Christopher and Christina. She disinherited Chris and Christina before she died in 1977. The following year Christina's unflattering memoir was published and the Dunaway movie came out three years later.

Who knows what Crawford's home movies will reveal?

Maltin hosts auction

Cinefest 29 opens at 9 a.m. Thursday March 19, with the Duke Ellington Orchestra starring in a 1933 short called "A Bundle of Blues."

The festival continues Friday and Saturday and concludes Sunday March 22 with a few final screenings including 1940's "The Boys from Syracuse" and a movie memorabilia auction conducted by "Entertainment Tonight" critic Leonard Maltin at 10:30 a.m.

This year's film highlights include "The Perfect Specimen" (1937) with Errol Flynn and Joan Blondell, "Enter Madame" (1934) with Cary Grant and Elissa Landi, "The Desert Song" (1929) with John Boles and "Safety in Numbers" (1930) with Carole Lombard and Buddy Rogers.

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