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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 31 October 1962 (USA)
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A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Henry Farrell (from the novel by), Lukas Heller (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,338 ( 3,140)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Baby Jane Hudson
Joan Crawford ... Blanche Hudson
Victor Buono ... Edwin Flagg
Wesley Addy ... Marty Mc Donald
Julie Allred Julie Allred ... Baby Jane Hudson, in 1917
Anne Barton Anne Barton ... Cora Hudson (as Ann Barton)
Marjorie Bennett ... Dehlia Flagg
Bert Freed ... Ben Golden
Anna Lee ... Mrs. Bates
Maidie Norman ... Elvira Stitt
Dave Willock ... Ray Hudson
William Aldrich William Aldrich ... Lunch Counter Assistant at Beach
Russ Conway ... Police Officer
Maxine Cooper ... Bank Teller
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Shelby
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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 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$980,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Glen Glenn Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bill Walker appeared in a deleted scene delivering a package to Jane at the Hudson Mansion. It was filmed in the studio recreation of the house but never made it to the final release. He is uncredited. See more »

Goofs

As the two Hollywood executives discuss the Hudson sister while waking on a back lot, at least two extras pass them twice. They include the "showgirl" type and the "Carmen Miranda" type. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Toy Salesman: Want to see it again little girl? It shouldn't frighten you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros. logo does not appear at the beginning of this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original British release was cut in two places: in Reel Four, where Jane kicks Blanche only once instead of multiple times, and Reel Six, which eliminated some shots of Blanche tied up to the bed and writhing. Both cuts were mandated by the BBFC in order to receive an "X" certificate. Subsequent reissues restored the footage. See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Bette Davis (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Folks at Home
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Played by band in the 1917 prologue
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Disturbing, because it's real
23 December 2003 | by robertglassSee 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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