A Mother’s Day Flick

She’ll never win any “Best Mother of the Year” awards but Anjelica Huston as Lily Dillon in Stephen Frears THE GRIFTERS, based on Jim Thompson’s pulp fiction classic, gives a superb performance as one of the nastiest Mom’s on screen. After a scam gone wrong, and her son Roy (John Cusack) gets beat up badly, she tells the ambulance medic “He’s gonna be alright ain’t he? If not, I’m going to kill you.” Yet, she has no problem stealing her boy’s money at the same time. Ah, motherly love.

With a screenplay by Donald Westlake, THE GRIFTERS is a great neo-noir and makes for an terrific alternative Mother’s Day flick.

The Grifters

10 comments on “A Mother’s Day Flick

  1. le0pard13 says:

    Angelica Huston as lizard mother! My god, she’s awesome in this fantastic adaptation (by the great Donald E. Westlake) of Jim Thompson’s novel.


  2. beachgal says:

    Common mistake – Anjelica Huston is spelled with a ‘j’ and not a ‘g’


  3. Sam Juliano says:

    Ha, great choice here John as the alternate mother. I know MOMMIE DEAREST would be another to be considered as well as the mother played by Piper Laurie in CARRIE and in a comic vein the one in THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN. Horror film moms of notoriety appear in PSYCHO and in FRIDAY THE 13TH.

    Ha, great post John. I wish you and Dorothy a special day!


    • John Greco says:

      Sam, originally I had a list of five bad mamas which included Mommie Dearest, Carrie and Jason Voorhee’s mom, all of whom you mention. I also had Alexander Sebastian’s mother (Notorious) and Anjelica in The Grifters. Then somehow I deleted the entire post and just went with Anjelica.


  4. The Lady Eve says:

    Anjelica Huston as Lily Dillon is one of the deadliest, if weirdly “loving,” mothers in movie history. As Lily, she definitely made the cut and joined the pantheon of legendary devouring movie moms like – Leopoldine Konstantin as Alex Sebastian’s mother in “Notorious,” Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Venable in “Suddenly, Last Summer,” Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Vale in “Now, Voyager” – and, of course, Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Iselin in “The Mancurian Candidate.”

    Excellent alternative Mother’s Day movie pick, John, love it…


    • John Greco says:

      Thanks Eve! Lansbury in the Frankenheimer film is superb and the others you mention are definitely up there in the stratosphere of cinematic bad mothers.


  5. Rick says:

    John, I always think of THE GRIFTERS as an Annette Beining film (perhaps, it has to do with how her character paid rent). But Anjelica is terrific in it. In fact, it deserves to be better known as do other modern noirs like RED ROCK WEST.


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