A truly intense sibling-rivalry thriller that's made more interesting because of the real-life rivalry between Davis & Crawford.
"I didn't bring your breakfast, because you didn't eat your din-din!" No actress has ever gotten me to hate a character so much and pity her at the same time. No one but Bette Davis. I mean my god that woman is a fascinating actress! To switch from spiteful madness to regression in a blink of an eye - a hateful countenance to child-like mischievousness flowing smoothly like a river of emotions in her grotesque face - is nothing short of brilliant. At some point she made me wish I could go inside the screen just so I can push her down the stairs, and yet in another scene, she had me bawling like a milk-deprived baby, just wanting to hug and comfort poor Baby Jane. She should have won the Oscars for Best Actress that year. Dammit, she should have!
"A former child star torments her crippled sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion."
Joan Crawford playing Blanche Hudson is also commendable. Her subtle, quiet acting as compared to a "louder" Bette invokes pity from the audience, or from me at least. She even made me forget that she's an abusive mother in real life. Don't mess with the wire hangers, I tell ya!
It could be campy to others, yes. Over the top, some would say it is. But not to me, at least not in a negative way. This movie is everything I have never expected. The acting is SUPERB even from the supporting cast. That scene where Fatty Piano Player (Victor Buono) said in response to his mom saying that Baby Jane was found in a motel room with a man she hasn't even seen before, "Well why should that upset you??! Isn't that how I was conceived?" And Mama Bear was like "Oh, burn!"
Two things I have mulled over while watching: the sad reality of lost youth and the tragedy of living in the past.
While the first several minutes of the film made me unsure whether I'll enjoy the film or not, the freeze-frame gate scene sparked my interest. I was impressed with the techniques used. There's a shot that I love which, to me, was both mysterious and sophisticated. From that scene up to the last, I was hooked.
|I just love this scene.|
This movie is thrilling, interesting, and entertaining. I found myself laughing at Baby Jane's expressions and reactions. Another favorite is when she successfully ordered alcoholic drinks and she was like "YEAH BABY! (In Austin Powers voice)", then she turns around and freezes (like a deer in the headlights) when she sees their maid, Elvira a.k.a Queen Latifah, looking at her in a disapproving if-looks-could-kill-you're-minced-meat glare.
This is one of those classic movies where every scenes are highlights. You simply can't edit out a single scene, even the minor ones. I love the tandem of Davis & Crawford. I don't think less talented actresses could handle these roles as Bette & Joan did. It takes serious skills to portray the Hudson sisters with finesse (or just the right amount of camp in the case of Baby Jane - just a balance of over-the-top & over-the-edge intensity). This movie is perfect in terms of casting. It's also so intriguing to see them onscreen, knowing that they have their own hateful rivalry going on in real life. Oh the parallelism! "When the tension begins to build, try to remember it's just a movie" - as seen from the film's poster. Makes me wonder though, is it really just a movie? For two people who hate each other, do they overstep boundaries in some rough scenes?
The editing was good. The musical score was great! It added to the tension, pretty much like what I felt when I was watching Misery or Psycho. A movie that could fill you with dread about what's being served for dinner (I'm sorry, din-din)? Whew, that's intense!
|Don't open the cover for crying out loud!!!|
I can't stress how much I love this film. You gotta see it to know what I mean. This is the first film of Bette Davis (and Crawford, I think) that I've seen and I can't wait to watch another one. I'm now officially a Bette Davis fan.
MY RATING: 5/5 - YES, I MORE THAN LIKED IT!
- "In scenes where Jane imitates Blanche's voice, the voice heard is actually Joan Crawford's voice, and not Bette Davis', as Bette could not master Joan's voice properly."
- The curious teenager is Bette Davis' daughter in real life.
To end my review, here's the million dollar question for the night: Who do you like more and why, Bette Davis or Joan Crawford?
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