Monday, December 9, 2013

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)

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!

This scene! ugh -_-

Here's a short info about the movie. :)

"A former child star torments her crippled sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion."

Directed by:  Robert Aldrich (Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte)
Screenplay by:  Lukas Heller
Cinematography by:  Ernest Haller (Rebel Without A Cause)

Editing by:  Michael Luciano
Music by:  Frank De Vol (Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte)
Starring:  Bette Davis, Joan Crawford
Running Time:  133 mins
Budget: a little over a million dollars
Box Office:  $9 million

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!"

But back to Bette Davis. I will tell you now, I cried at the end of the movie. I cried hard. I felt the impact in the end and boy did it catch me off-guard. For a viewer to cry for and sympathize with one of the best movie villains I have watched is something only an actress of great talent could achieve. 

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. 


  • "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?

Please LIKE, Share or Follow my blog, it may not change the world but it will change mine LOL :)

Follow me on Tumblr! Ravings of a Madwoman
To my fellow bookworms, add me on Goodreads: Lucresia Strange


  1. Well well well.... You have outdone yourself on this one... A masterpiece of distinct quality..... I love this film, and your review brought a light to its realism that made me feel this film all over again in all of the ways a film should be admired...You write as you see it, and I must say, " Davis" is one of my all time favorites... I was excited to read this review, and felt your words in each paragraph just as they were meant to be felt... GREAT JOB!!! This is my favorite review so far, and ALL are amazingly written...Thanks for sharing!!!!! :) Great Job!!!!!

    1. i feel like what i wrote is not enough lol. im just glad that my friend convinced me to try a Bette Davis movie! thank you!

    2. To answer your mill dollar question:
      I like Bette Davis much better than Crawford in any films.... Davis, is a well-known actress known for her sarcasm first of all, which was clearly demonstrated on more than one occasion in the film. Davis was the LEAD actress in this film for me, and was beautifully portrayed as a woman that had hit bottom due to a false accusation,not revealed until later... So, overall, this film to me was great because Davis stole the audience with her most horrifying role of Baby Jane Hudson, a character like none other... Crawford was in the shadows, only a toy of amusement for Davis to agonize and torture.. But!!!! Davis did this because she was smart, and did'nt miss a beat with what went on in the house.. Crawford was not the victim here, Davis was.. :)

    3. Davis is sensational in here! I was really shocked to see such talent and an unforgettable performance from an actress.

  2. Bette all the way. Joan's character I have nothing but sympathy for, but it takes a really extreme actress to play Baby Jane and Davis nails it. I love, too all of the pancake makeup which Bette caked on, a small touch that comments on the fact that Jane would never wash her face (thanks IMDB trivia!). She's so dedicated to the role and the haunting ending sticks with you. What an intense movie!

    1. yes! i really love bette davis in this one! i cried like a housewife chopping onions bec of that ending! my god :'(

  3. This film is fantastic. While it's sort of an exploitation of the decades-long Davis/Crawford feud, it's still so fun to watch. What makes it better (and what makes the audience considerably less guilty) is that Davis and Crawford also want to be there--they want to play these characters so they can rip each other to shreds. Art has never imitated life so vividly, as far as Hollywood rivalries go.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...