Wilson had other plans. Her story ran as scheduled on Oct. 23, under the headline “That Trip Necessary? We Ask After Seeing Joan At Sedona” and was a sarcastic recounting of the star’s rude behavior. Wilson never spoke to Joan, so she simply wrote about the “diva” attitude she encountered on the set. “Another trip to Sedona to see Joan on Tuesday is about the most unnecessary thing anyone can think of,” she declared.
“So we won’t be writing about what a sweet and gracious person The Star really is once you get past that lineup of cigarette-lighterers, door-closers, car-drivers, etc., who run interference for her.
“The rest of the cast is simply Sterling (as in Hayden) and untoWard (as in Bond) and they were Up as in set about Joan’s Up as in staging.”
Crawford was reportedly furious when the article came out, suspecting McCambridge was involved because of the praise lavished on Hayden and Bond. To counter this negative publicity, the studio placed a display ad in the rival Phoenix Gazette on Oct. 27, which said in part:
“We have worked with this great lady [Crawford] in a wide variety of circumstances, in oftentimes difficult and exhausting situations, at all hours of the day and night, and in all kinds of weather and we are prepared to testify that if there is a more co-operative, charming, talented, understanding, generous, unspoiled, thoughtful, approachable person in the motion picture business, we have not met him or her.”
Meanwhile, the production continued around town; the hidden waterfall entrance to the gang’s hideout was shot at a tunnel on 89A using water diverted from the Jordan farm’s irrigation ditch on Oak Creek; the hideout itself was actually in West Sedona, with the two separate locations edited together to look seamless on screen. Location shooting ended with the burning of Vienna’s Gambling Hall, which was built close to the south side of the Nuns Formation at Little Horse Park, about four miles from town. Ruth Jordan, who like most of Sedona’s population, was present for that final evening’s work, marveled at the scene, writing of “…the awe-inspiring sight of the rugged red butte illuminated by the powerful lights.
“The next hour was a very interesting one for spectators, and a very busy one for Miss Crawford. Once when the story called for a change of costume, she went quickly through the crowd expecting to find her car, but for some reason it wasn’t parked in the usual place. She gave a quick glance around, but wasted no time in anger. She even missed a legitimate chance for a tantrum such as we have heard temperamental actresses are supposed to have, but with no ill-feeling, she gathered up that long full skirt with a hand at each side and started running down the trail without the benefit of even a flashlight. As she disappeared down the hill, it looked as though her hair-dresser and wardrobe lady were hard put to keep up with her. In nothing flat she was back on the set dressed in a red shirt and blue jeans.”
With location work completed, the company of 95 people returned to Hollywood for interior scenes at the studio. Crawford literally moved in when two large dressing room suites were combined to make a deluxe apartment for her; assisted by her personal staff, she slept and took her meals there every night. She also demanded the soundstage be kept freezing cold, despite protests from her coworkers.
Crawford’s wrath was not limited to McCambridge; she had Hayden’s wife, Betty Ann, ejected from the set. Mrs. Hayden was later quoted as saying, “Joan Crawford hates all women, except those who can help her. If I ever see her again, I’ll probably strike her in the face.”
Word of the feuding started leaking to the press. According to Crawford biographer Bob Thomas, after L.A. Daily News writer Erskine Johnson printed an item in his “Hollywood Diary” about the banishment of Mrs. Hayden, he received a late-night telephone call:
“Is this Erskine Johnson?” a woman’s voice inquired.
“Yes, it is.”
“This is Joan Crawford. You’re a shit.” She then hung up.