After a polite rehearsal of this scene and the completed master shot, Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford were to shoot the close-ups; Norma Shearer’s first. Joan was prepared to deliver the off-stage lines, positioning herself in a chair at the side of the camera while taking out her knitting. She was working on an afghan that required large needles.
Norma delivered her lines in front of the camera whilst Joan answered with her lines, but she never looked at Norma. She continued gazing at her knitting. The needles moved at a furious pace, and they clicked - loudly. “Joan, darling, I find your knitting distracting,” Norma said. Joan seemed not to hear. The scene continued, and the flashing needles grew louder. The tension mounted, and crew members looked from the irritated Shearer to the oblivious Crawford, then to Cukor, who seemed like an unwilling explorer on the brink of a volcano. Again Norma started the scene, and again Joan´s needles distracted her. “Mr. Cukor,” Norma said with icy control, “I think that Miss Crawford can go home now and you can give me her lines.”
Cukor was furious with Joan and almost dragged her from the stage and demanded that she should apologize to Norma the next day.
Also keep in mind that Joan and Norma had shared a strong and open animosity towards each other ever since the 20’s.
(Source: tracylord, via bellecs)