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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
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Index 170 reviews in total 

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A camp field day for a macabre Bette Davis

Author: Heath McEwan from Stonehaven, Scotland
27 February 2003

This undisputed camp classic of the thriller genre will no doubt please generations to come. Even given the fact that it's in many ways a "cheap-jack" film, it merits countless viewings due to the one-and-only legendary teaming of the two greatest movie divas Hollywood ever knew: Bette Davis & Joan Crawford. The film deserves its cult status. As the demented alcoholic slattern Baby Jane Hudson, Davis frankly shocked the public and critics alike with her fearless portrayal of a grotesque misfit who can't forget that she was once a child star in Vaudeville. It's fitting, by the way, to show Blanche as the older sister in the prologue: Davis was a full four years younger than her screen rival in real life. The film goes on and on in a light dimmer than necessary, and the cop-out ending isn't exactly Hitchcock, but the performances are indeed striking. The wig Davis wore for her interpretation of the title role was an old bleached-out wig reputedly once worn by Crawford in either a twenties silent or in the 1939 fiasco ICE FOLLIES OF 1939: no one seems to know for sure. As the wheelchair-bound crippled Blanche, Crawford wisely underplays Davis, and her performance is admirably restrained - if a mite deceiving: she's not all sugar and spice, it turns out! During the filming, director Robert Aldrich had to contend with each actress individually griping about the other: somehow he drew two nicely contrasted performances instead of totally letting the two icons chew each other up & spit each other out. The house in which the film was shot still stands in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. Maidie Norman and Victor Buono are terrific in their roles of Elvira the maid & Edwin Flagg respectively. Anna Lee has a cameo as the nosey neighbour, Mrs. Bates - whose daughter is played by Davis's fourteen year-old daughter B.D. Indeed, talent must skip a generation...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

By the Sea...By the Sea...By the Beautiful Sea

Author: BaronBl00d (baronbl00d@aol.com) from NC
5 March 2002

Robert Aldrich did what no one said he could do in 1962. He made two old actresses like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford box office magic. Aldrich gave the two women parts that were like nothing either had ever done before. Davis plays a crazed, ugly woman looking like she did when she was a huge child star. Crawford plays her famous movie star, crippled sister. The story revolves around Baby Jane's desire to recapture her fame amidst her growing separation from reality. Aldrich creates a great deal of suspense by building the film up scene by scene through tension. Davis is simply wonderful. She captures the essence of the role. She can convey malice in a scenend then childish eagerness or uncertainty the next. Her performance was truly worthy of the oscar nomination she received(and would have been worthy of winning it as well). Crawford is acceptable in her role too, but let's face it. She was no match for Davis when they were younger. They are clearly no match in 1962. The rest of the cast is adequate with Victor Buono stealing his scenes as a roly-poly pianist looking to cash in on a hasbeen's ambition to return to show business. Director Aldrich, however, really makes the film memorable with the bird scene, the rat scene, and the final beach scene. The pathos created in that scene is very moving, strangely awkward, and thoroughly enjoyable. Some old clips of Davis and Crawford's films are used to great advantage in the film. Great suspenseful fun and frolic.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A very disturbing masterpiece

Author: Brian Blueskye (brianblu23@aol.com)
16 September 1999

The one thing I love about this movie, it's a classic I can't stop watching. It's got the best 2 actresses with the worst attitudes, Crawford and Davis, who were probably the best picks. Oh, I know about how the gay community loves the movie, but I'm straight, and I love the movie.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The winner by a knockout......The viewers!

8/10
Author: tonyjackie from United Kingdom
24 March 2007

I hadn't seen this film in ages,so it was with some trepidation that I watched it with my better half recently.Would it be dated?Would it seem boring?No,it is a cracking film and holds up very well today.

We all know that there was this intense rivalry between Bette and Joan,but this just makes the film more compelling.You are constantly trying to find signs,little details really,about their apparent loathing for each other.So who comes out tops?An honourable draw I'd say.

Bette Davis has by far the more showy part and boy does she relish it.She may chew on a pretty thick slice of ham at times,but her performance glues you to the screen.By contrast,Joan Crawford underplays her role as the wheelchair bound Blanche and this makes for a well balanced film with many terrific scenes.I won't give anything away here,but though the film may seem a little twisted,there are still parts of the film that may shock.It Isn't all about the two stars as Victor Buono scores as a slightly camp piano player and he reminded me a lot of Oliver Hardy in his build and mannerisms.

This film should really be in the top 250 and it amazes me that it Isn't.Two Hollywood greats in fierce competition makes this a gem of a movie.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Whatever Did Happen to Baby Jane Hudson? ***

7/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
5 February 2006

As in anything she did, the late Bette Davis proved herself to be adept to horror.

As the long-washed up child actress, Baby Jane Hudson, Davis pulled no punches in creating a memorable brilliant characterization which led to still another Oscar nomination. It is said that Davis was extremely disappointed when she lost the award.

She does so well in terrorizing her invalid sister played with an anguish by Joan Crawford. What the made the movie so good was that in real life, Davis and Crawford loathed each other and they took this hatred out on the silver screen as well.

Throwing her sister down and serving her a rat is all in Davis's master plan to do evil. Her rendition of "I've Written A Letter to Daddy" is memorable.

Gothic horror beautifully realized by an ever effective Davis with remarkable support by Crawford.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

GREAT FUN! NOT TO BE MISSED!!

10/10
Author: olddiscs from Fords, NJ
12 October 2001

A movie, I can watch again and again is my criteria for a great film!! Baby Jane('62), fits that category... I enjoyed when first opened in theatre, and am enjoying repeatedly on video. Bette Davis mastered this role... She should have won her 3rd Oscar for it..Crawford was excellent also in the more sympathetic role of Blanche...The entire cast worked very well !!Don't take it seriously just sit back and enjoy. The behind the screen stories of this film are now Hollywood legend. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall of the Baby Jane set...Can't wait to watch again, I need a good laugh ! Its 10/12/01, and Antrhrax is all over the news...This is the diversion I'll need tonight, and I recommend for others as well

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An extremely well done chiller!

10/10
Author: Ralph DeMattia (FatAss-4) from Gaithersburg, Maryland
27 November 2000

Having never seen Joan Crawford act, and in fact, my only exposure to her was Faye Dunaway's portrayal of her in MOMMIE DEAREST, I caught this flick on American Movie Classics and after 5 minutes was absolutely enthralled by her performance! I had read her daughter's book as well, and thought that Joan was just an off-the-wall screwball, but no more! I still feel that she was a little off center, but her acting in BABY JANE was absolutely flawless! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie, and will look forward to seeing it again. I am now looking forward to the next Joan Crawford movie I come across. BABY JANE is a definite, absolute Classic!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Bette Davis Is The Movie

Author: etagle (etagle@looksmart.com) from San Antonio, Texas
25 July 2000



This movie to me was all right.I thought it would have more dialouge like Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf but it's ,but it use terror to hook the viewer.Unfortunely today the terror of 1962 doesn't capture the audience now.So like other horror movies of that day I found it to be somewhat dull.

Don,t get me wrong I know how to spot a four star movie, I like those movie's.I just don't like the horrors with the absilute exception of Psycho and The Birds.I like the films that relie on the script.What ever... is very good but it is nowhere as good as excelent, you could cut out atleast 20 minutes of time out of the movie.It could have more like Psycho, which is long considerd one the greatest movie ever made and my absolute faverite,but if it wasn't done by the master of suspence Alfred Hitchcock I guess it not all that suspenceful.

The thing I absolutly enjoy is Bette Davis's peformance.She have won best actress for her role.I love her just as much as Meryl almost.She's so convincing as the psycho washed up has been who envy's her sister.Joan Crawford is almost as good as Davis but I always thought she was the starlet and Bette as the extremly gifted actress.

I truly wanted to see the film because of the famous feud with Davis and Crawford that surrounds it.8 out of 10 on acount of the best acting Ive almost ever seen.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Flawed but riveting!

Author: ivan-22 from Los Angeles
21 July 2000

One of my favorite movies, a camp classic. On the surface it's a thriller, but deep down it's a homage to failure, a poignant ode to all the forgotten and washed up people that litter our big cities. Baby Jane is a rotten cookie, a faded star. She has no friends, no future, and is full of bitterness and envy. This film is much more effective than "Sunset Boulevard". I like its everyday atmosphere, its trivial aspects: a trip to the bank, the maid getting a day off, the fat piano teacher, icecream at the beach. The nightmare and the beautiful dream mingle. The writing is very fine, unpretentious and unobtrusive. There is no standard theatricality. Money figures prominently. In today's world, it is the life-blood without which nothing can be accomplished. Everything and everybody must be purchased. Smiles and compliments require hard cash. There are no loyalties, no affections. Pure alienation. Yet we don't get sociology, we get art. What makes the film beautiful is its freedom from agenda or comment. It just invites you to stare at life's gargoyles, and challenges you to find the beauty in it. Yes, there is beauty even here. This is one of the most beautiful films ever made, visually ravishing. The black and white is very effective. The film's surprise ending reverses the moral situation. Thus moral parity is achieved, and a beautiful transcendence. I have no idea how far writer and director intended this deeper meaning, but intentions don't matter.

The film is far from flawless. It has plenty of scenes one is tempted to cut, particularly the first half hour showing baby Jane as a child and young woman. I would also cut the scene in which the pathetic pianist talks with his mother. It is irrelevant to the plot, though highly comical. And the violence could also be removed as gratuitous. But if one starts tampering with this crooked film, it falls apart. Enjoy it's weirdness.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

nice campy film

Author: Goon-2 from WA
1 December 1999

I think Whatever Happened To Baby Jane is supposed to be some "cinematic masterpiece," so it's probably "too good" to be considered a camp-classic, but it certainly had the feel. I'm not insulting it though. I heatily enjoyed this dark tale of a bratty former child star who grows up a has-been while her sister, who was "plain" as a child became a star later in life...until she mysteriously got paralyzed. The twisted relationship between Crazy Jane and the more sane Blanche is fun to watch as it develops, but nothing is quite as entertaining as when the flashback when Jane was still nauseatingly refered to as "Baby Jane" and is throwing a tantrum right in the middle of her adoring public, who of course act all horrified. Great stereotype of child stars. Great fun.

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