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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  31 October 1962 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 27,119 users  
Reviews: 178 user | 106 critic

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

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(from the novel by), (screenplay)
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Top 250 #249 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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The relationship between a jealous, former child star and her sister take a twisted, dark turn after their careers flip-flop and a car accident leaves the more successful one confined to a wheelchair. A remake of the 1962 thriller 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Marty Mc Donald
Julie Allred ...
Anne Barton ...
Cora Hudson (as Ann Barton)
Marjorie Bennett ...
Dehlia Flagg
...
Ben Golden
...
Mrs. Bates
...
Dave Willock ...
Ray Hudson
William Aldrich ...
Lunch Counter Assistant at Beach
Russ Conway ...
Police Officer
Maxine Cooper ...
Bank Teller
Robert Cornthwaite ...
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Storyline

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. Blanche is now confined to a wheelchair - Jane ran her over with the car while drunk, even though she has no memory of it - and Jane is firmly in control. As time goes by, Jane exercises greater and greater control over her sister, intercepting her letters and ensuring that few if anyone from the outside has any contact with her. As Jane slowly loses her mind, she torments her sister going to ever greater extremes. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You'd better be shockproof before you dare find out! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¿Qué pasó con Baby Jane?  »

Box Office

Budget:

$980,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Baby Jane picks up her altered costumes from "Western Costumes" which is, in reality, one of the largest costume houses in Hollywood. See more »

Goofs

A graphic after the credits identifies the film's main narrative as beginning "Yesterday", though the events appear to take place over the course of several days and nights. However, it has been debated that "Yesterday" can merely be a synonym for "in the past". See more »

Quotes

Jane: I don't want to talk about it! Everytime I think about something nice, you remind me of bad things. I only want to talk about the nice things.
See more »

Crazy Credits

introducing Victor Buono See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Written a Letter to Daddy
Music by Frank De Vol
Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Performed by Bette Davis
Also performed by Julie Allred (dubbed by Debbie Burton)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Disturbing, because it's real
23 December 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Interesting, to see comments dismissing WEHTBJ? as a "gay" film, or "cult" film, etc.

As a writer/producer who lived and worked in Hollywood for 30 years, I submit that those comments represent a "denial syndrome" of people who are ignorant of the facts of Hollywood.

What is so "horrifying" about WEHTBJ? is that the film is an utterly realistic psychodrama about two specific sisters of that era.

It's easy to say that Bette Davis' performance/makeup was "over the top," except that they weren't. In fact, I thought her look was taken from a sad "street person" in Hollywood who, in her seventies, walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard in a pink ball-gown and dead blonde wig and thick makeup, speaking into a transistor radio she held to her ear -- in the 60s, long before cell phones -- "talking" to the FBI about people chasing her.

Perhaps those who've spent their lives elsewhere, other than in Hollywood, feel that the characters in WEHTBJ? are "over the top." But they're not.

That's what makes them so heartbreaking. And the incredibly brave performances by Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Victor Bono and the rest -- not to mention the script and Robert Aldrich's direction -- make this simply the most definitive "Hollywood" psycho-thriller since "Sunset Boulevard."

There's "A Star Is Born," in any of its incarnations. Which is also "true" in its (their) way.

And there is "Sunset Boulevard" and "Baby Jane," which are even more true, and more brilliantly made.

These are not "horror films." They are riveting psychological studies, cast with astonishing actors, and magnificently directed and photographed.

They are the equivalent of Hitchcock's "Psycho," IMHO, which was preceeded by "Sunset Boulevard" and followed by "Baby Jane."

Each different, each brilliant, each marked by some of the most indelible performances ever captured on film.

It's typical of adolescents to make a "joke" about things that make them uncomfortable.

But when experience and age acquaint one with people like Baby Jane and Norma Desmond and, yes, Norman Bates, what's the point of joking?

These three films will tell those characters' stories forever, and better than 99% of films ever made.

That's why they're classics.


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