Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)

The first of a trilogy of similar horror films featuring psychotic women either directed and/or produced by Robert Aldrich, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? holds a special place in that it features two onscreen, perhaps off screen rivals, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Though both give a wonderful performance, Bette Davis certainly deserved her Oscar nod for this piece. Some said it was easier for her given that she was allowed free reign to run through all the stages of oncoming insanity whereas Joan Crawford was religated to a wheelchair and a fortress of steely reserve. However, one must consider that Bette probably came up with her own brand of crazy. She acted out those stages magnificently, right down to the hideous laugh and outbursts of the song, "I've written a Letter to Daddy". And you have to commend Bette Davis, she simply did not give a damn how she looked onscreen whereas you can see Joan still clinging to her dignity. I read somewhere that Bette Davis was one of the first actresses that allowed herself to age in a movie, prime example, Mr. Skeffington. This apparently helped her ease into more matronly roles as her career continued beyond the 40's.

Synopsis: Two aging film actresses live as virtual recluses in an old Hollywood mansion. Jane Hudson, a successful child star, cares for her crippled sister Blanche, who's career in later years eclipsed that of Jane. Now the two live together, their relationship affected by simmering subconscious thoughts of mutual envy, hate and revenge. -IMDb


Tonight on TCM!

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) A farmer sells his soul for seven years of good crops.Cast: Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell, Simone Simon Dir: William Dieterle

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Jane is capable of great invention in her psychological cruelty to her disabled sister, Blanche, but I felt she was ultimately driven by a tragic vulnerability - see the image of her at the seaside, an old woman fantasising about her lost childhood as her sister lies dead on the beach beside her...
    How do you react to the images of her? Wonder if there would be any concencus...?

    Raymond Nickford, Psychological Suspense and Alfred Hitchcock!/pages/Raymond-Nickford-Psychological-Suspense-and-Alfred-Hitchcock/151674051567158?sk=wall