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Remembering: Frances

Remembering: Frances
American drama based on the life of movie actress Frances Farmer
Directed by Graeme Clifford
Starring Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard
Released on December 3, 1982
by Lisa McDonald
Live Music Head

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The film about the rebellious life of Hollywood actress Frances Farmer may be filled with inaccuracies, a dramatized account of facts, but the results endeared her to me. Watching the film, I sympathized with her all the way. You see, Farmer saw through the bullshit early on.


At the age of 16, Farmer won a high school contest for writing an essay called God is Dead, shocking the community by saying she found no evidence He exists. Later, when her talents as a great stage and movie actress became apparent (she made her first film for Paramount Pictures in 1936), it was at a time when the movie studios called all the shots, and she simply would not, could not play their game. Despite her growing popularity and success as a good actress, she would not, and could not play the game of anyone who set out to control her, or mold her into what they thought she should be.

Frances Farmer was institutionalized for her resistance to conformity, and if the film is to be believed, grossly mistreated while incarcerated. But who would argue that in the year 2013 this kind of injustice still happens? Jessica Lange does an outstanding job portraying Farmer and was Academy Award-nominated for it.

The trailer for Frances...

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