11 January 2016

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962
  • Director: Robert Aldrich
  • Based on book by Henry Farrell
  • Cast: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Maidie Norman, Anna Lee
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Bette Davis – The Whales of August, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Pocketful of Miracles, All about Eve, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
    • Joan Crawford – Grand Hotel
    • Victor Buono – Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, many TV series
    • Maidie Norman – many TV series
    • Anna Lee – Sound of Music, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, many TV series
  • Why? Bette Davis
  • Seen:  Twice before (at least). Now 8 January 2016 

       Are we really up to this? It’s scary, that much I remember.
       Two aging sisters – former movie stars - in Suburbia USA. Blanche is confined to a wheelchair after having been run down by sister Jane years ago. In her heyday she had made quality films. Jane made bad films, her glory days as child star Baby Jane long past.
       Jane is now a sadistic, slatternly drunken madwoman. Blanche is a righteous, long-suffering martyr, a prisoner, at the mercy of cruel Jane.
       Joan Crawford is good as the frightened cowed victim.
       Bette Davis is outrageously good as the lying, manipulative, increasingly insane, murderous and pathetic Baby Jane.  Did she get an Oscar for this? She should have.
       It’s still creepy but of course it doesn’t have the shock effect of when it came out in the early 60’s. As always I appreciate the black and white photography but that and Davis are its strengths. The rest? A competent product of the era.

3 * of 5



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