Joan of Argh

Poor Joan Crawford. Despite star roles in histrionic classics like Mildred Pierce and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, she was portrayed as a merciless, wire hanger-hating harridan in Mommie Dearest, and experienced one of the most graceless cinema departures in Hollywood history. After cameos in a passel of low-budget thrillers in the late 1960s, Crawford hit a low point with her final performance. Yes, I'm talking about Trog, a 1970 debacle that featured Crawford as a British anthropologist (Dr. Brockton) who stumbles upon the "missing link," a half man/half ape circus performer in need of some etiquette. TROG!, a live parody of the cult flick, elevates the movie's basic badness into a gloriously campy spectacle. Matthew Martin, who plays Dr. Brockton, takes a stab at Crawford's amusingly earnest performance; Trannyshack luminary Heklina assumes the role of the doctor's daughter, Ann; and Mike Finn (who also wrote the script) plays the titular troglodyte, who, as luck would have it, develops a fondness for the doc's equally smitten daughter. The trio's exploitation of the film's comic possibilities is a feat that Crawford herself might have found redemptive.
Aug. 25-Sept. 23, 8 p.m.

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