In a tale that almost redefines sibling rivalry, faded actresses Blanche and ‘Baby’ Jane Hudson live together. Jane was by far the most famous when she performed with their father in vaudeville but as they got older, it was Blanche who became the finer actress, which Jane still resents.
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Rewatched and re-loved. Bette Davis, BETTE DAVIS. I still remember the day when I saw All About Eve for the first time, I think I was 14. I've always wanted to watch all her films and hope can do it someday. Rewatching her films is a pleasure; watching her films for the first time is a life-changing experience.
Warming up for FX's "Feud: Bette vs. Joan", I had to see this. Delusional Jane vs. Suffering Blanche makes for great entertaining... that's for sure. This almost surrealistic story of the Hudson sisters never gets boring and even if the final twist was somewhat predictable, it was a fun ride. Davis was just... beyond words!
Something like Sunset Blvd. meets Misery and yet not quite as great as either, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? reaches fantastic heights nonetheless. It's stunted by a surprising underwhelming and over-the-top performance from Joan Crawford. Her character is so annoyingly passive and misses every opportunity to help herself that she's hard to sympathise with, except for the reasons that shes a cripple and elderly...
"During the kicking scene, Bette Davis kicked Joan Crawford in the head, and the resulting wound required stitches. In retaliation, Crawford put weights in her pockets so that when Davis had to drag Crawford's near-lifeless body, she strained her back."
No film has scaled such Olympian heights only to descend into the bowls of Tartarus. The style is glorious. The shot with the halo-like light on Jane's head is one of the most twistedly beautiful images I have ever seen. It's a shame, then, that this film drops the ball so hard as it goes on. Plot holes and stupid character decisions abound. When the maid made herself completely vulnerable, I stopped watching. Sigh.