As I’ve said before when the biggest names in Hollywood decide to make a horror film it’s usually pretty good. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is way better than pretty good. It features 2 of the most successful actresses from the glory days of old Hollywood in their only film together. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford really did dislike each other, so it was only natural to pair them up in a movie that pitted them against one another. The Black Cat was the movie that best paired the two biggest classic horror actors, Lugosi and Karloff. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is the equivalent movie for actresses.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is the story of sisters. The older sister Jane, was a huge stage star as a child but then her career fizzled out as she became an adult. Meanwhile the younger sister Blanche became a famous movie star. An accident leave Blanche a cripple and the sisters retreat to the privacy of their home for the next 20 years. Eventually Jane gets tired of taking care of Blanche and starts torturing her.
Bette Davis landed the role of the aging, psychotic, alcoholic, Jane and she plays it to perfection. Her makeup as a rundown old lady trying to pass for a preteen was a good as Karloff’s makeup for Frankenstein. She’s the ultimate bitch except for when she’s reenacting her glory days as a 10 year old. Joan Crawford plays the wheelchair bound and sympathetic Blanche. She does a great job winning over the audience as her sister abuses her but ultimately Davis had the juicier role.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford feuded with each other before What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. During the filming and as a result of working together they learned to like each other even less. But the shit really hit the fan when Bette Davis was nominated for best actress and Joan Crawford was not. Anyway What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a great movie that hasn’t been available for years. I found a recent Blue-Ray on eBay and the picture is flawless. This is a must see film for anyone who thinks they are an expert on horror movies.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?