on January 25, 2010
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford at their finest! They hated each other off screen and it translates wonderfully on screen! It is yet again another film that proves that you can have suspense, and frightening scenes WITHOUT gore or computer generated effects. It relies on lighting, sound and acting TALENT to get the message across.The picture and sound quality is amazing and reproduces well through 5.1 surround sound. For fans of smart horror as appossed to "Shock Schlok" I highly recommend this film as well as "Hush, hush sweet Charlotte"
on February 12, 2009
If you have a wicked cruel sense of humour and a drama queen sister you love to hate, this is the movie for you two to watch. My 12 year old niece was surprised how entertaining this old black and white movie was, she still raves about this film and still sings the theme song "letter to daddy" to this very day.
on May 14, 2009
This film is a classic! I can't imagine anyone else playing this role other than Bette. She really owns it. Crawford, on other hand, was decent, but I'm sure anyone else could have replaced her...OUCH!! This dvd also comes with lot's of great extras---totally recommend it.
You get 2 discs in this DVD set. Great film, I highly recommend it.
Disc 1 - What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? - 1962, 134 mins, B&W, widescreen 1.85:1, audio: English & French Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles: English, French & Spanish, scene selection. Extras: commentary by Charles Busch & John Epperson, theatrical trailer (2:23)
Disc 2 - Featurettes & documentaries - Bette And Joan: Blind Ambition (29:45), Behind The Scenes With Baby Jane (6:37), excerpt from 1962 Andy Williams TV show (2:04), All About Bette (48:08), Film Profile: Joan Crawford (28:34)
on January 25, 2001
I had wanted to see this movie for yonks. I had assumed that Bette Davis' character had never been a star, and that she was only cruel to Joan Crawford's character because SHE had been a child star! Once all this confusion was cleared up, I began to actually watch the film.
Bette Davis was excellent as Baby Jane because she was so ugly, unpredictable and desperate. She never missed a beat... unless she was having a particularly insane day. You know what it's like when you're stuck in the past and you can't get over the fact that you're not five years old anymore... you don't know what that's like? Oh, good.
There are a couple of slip ups in the movie, deeming it a little unrealistic, but if you didn't let them pass, you'd have the movie end prematurely I guess.
It is kind of haunting and sad to see the photos and memoirs of both women when they were young, loved and famous. It really shows what damage you can do to yourself when you're not willing to age gracefully. (Take note, Melanie Griffith)
This was quite a demented flick, and I was left with a slightly off after-taste once it ended. It makes you wonder if Shirley Temple was ever that crazy, or maybe whether Macauley Culkin is going to end up in an asylum. Worth a look, but not if you're looking for a reason to smile!
on June 6, 2009
What can you say about a movie starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. An absolute classic and just as good today as when it was released.
on July 5, 2004
Check out the editorial review "Sadistic Jane and their servant Norman????" The only servant, err, make that housekeeper in this saga is ELVIRA [No, NOT THAT one!] who meets ..... [Clunk!~ Thud!]
WELL, this utterly dark little Gem of Joy still pack many a wallop!
No quite dated, but such an acidic picture of Tinseltown - as a matter of fact you can still see these old [er] Dolls and Guys on Hollywood Boulevard - or Rodeo Drive [botox-powered] for that matter.
IT hasn't really aged that badly - Crawford is superb as the wheelchair bound glam queen Blance ~ utterly dependent on her increasingly insane sister Jane ~ Davis probably on a par with her turn in THE STAR. Davis sacrifices all for this role, including figure and looks, shuffling around the house in flip-flops, dragging on a cigarette and swigging booze has NEVER been this fun!
Bring along a creepy VICTOR BUONO [debut role] as a grifter with an accent and his dear old Ma ... nasty little jewels they are - check out the scene with Davis and Buono and the sandwich plate ... then the booze scene later! Priceless [It's almost Norman Desmond and Joe - the later years].
Superior lensing and direction etc. etc. etc.
Davis daughter BD HYMAN plays the teen next door.
Roaring fun for late at night viewing - double billed with Sunset Boulevard.
[Now wasn't there a musical version of this one ....?]
on June 28, 2004
In "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" you really DO find out, indeed!
But what horrors you have to endure to see the truth and consequences! With twists, turns, torture & anti-climactic scenes all played to the hilt by the Miss Hudsons (Bette Davis and Joan Crawford), respectively, you will never be able to look at your pet parakeet the same way again.
Miss Baby Jane Hudson, played with great, grotesque gusto by Davis who was once the belle of the ball. Kind of a Shirley Temple of her era. Baby Jane was daddy's girl and Jane, therefore, has quite an Electra complex that is and has been exhibited her entire life.
Her sister, Miss Blanche Hudson, played "aptly and sapply" by Crawford, has a long and lasting career as an adult movie star but is now wheelchair bound because of a little "accident" betwixt the sisters many years back. Jane is the caretaker of Blanche since the "accident" and they both live off of the residuals of Blanche's long and prosperous film career before she became crippled.
After a local California TV station decides to run summer afternoon, back to back Blanche Hudson films, Baby Jane gets that ol' jealous feeling brewing again and wants desparately to revitalize her childhood career. Baby Jane hires pianist from the classifieds, Mr. Edward Flagg, played in a great understated role by Victor Buono, who has his own Oedipal yearnings and problems. They make a great and perfect pair of drunks and crazies, let me tell ya.
Jane is certainly unstable and is likened to a gin and vodka guzzling 60 year old broad with a six year old spoiled brat mentality. SCARY combo, right there! Let alone Jane's guilt of the "accident", her shameless jealousy, and her expressions of the antithesis of "SISTERLY LOVE".
Filmed in glorious black and white, it lends itself to the dark, somber and horrific things that happen to Blanche vis-a-vis Jane...
"Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" is a cult classic and a true and genuine classic in it's own right.
on January 19, 2004
'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane' is a movie whose name will forevermore conjure up images of Bette Davis in whiteface as the screeching, unhinged Jane, rats on silver trays, and Joan Crawford dying on a beach. However, if you can look past the campy stereotypes there's a beautifully-crafted thriller here, waiting to be enjoyed as one of the definitive films of 1960's Hollywood.
Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis), a former child vaudevillian, is now charged with the care of her crippled movie-star sister Blanche (Joan Crawford). Having lost the use of her legs in an accident, Blanche stays mostly to her room, relying on Jane's guilt to take care of her. When Blanche decides to sell her house, Jane initiates a reign of terror over the infirm star, culminating in one of the most desolate and emotionally charged finales ever seen in pictures.
It's impossible to look away from Davis as Jane. She's loud, over-the-top, unhinged, dangerous and luminous. As one reviewer charged, she is all cliche and mannerism, and there aren't enough sequences where Davis' considerable talent as an actress is allowed to give the character any real humanity. These scenes are present, however, when Jane is drunk at the piano, or right at the end of the movie when she's buying ice cream, and it's these scenes, played so beautifully by Davis, that stop the character of Jane from becoming yet another schlock-horror Titan and propel her into our memories as one of the greats.
Joan Crawford, long considered to be the least-talented of these two actresses, turns the tables entirely in her role as the terrorised, hapless Blanche. She is winsome, emotional and most of all, she is real. Her magnificence as an Actress reveals itself in the personal exchanges with Blanche, their maid, and in those scenes where she is required to move out of her wheelchair - Crawford plays the part with empathy and pathos, and we find ourselves emotionally attached to Blanche for the entire picture.
Victor Buono as Edwin Flagg, Baby Jane's musical arranger and special friend, also deserves a special mention - his performance is greasy, two-faced and cloying, and in absolute sympathy with the character he is portraying.
Direction is excellent - Robert Aldrich has created a monster in Baby Jane, but, not content to let her carry the whole show, he gives us a genuinely creepy mansion for her to terrorise in, a house full of ambiguous shadows and beautifully lit and shot corners, staircases and window-lattices. He cleverly contrasts the pure Horror-Noir look of the Hudson interior with that of the plastic-fantastic suburban world of the neighbouring Mrs. Bates (Anna Lee) to great effect.
Like the direction, the use of music and sound too goes a long way to furthering the sense of isolation and despair in the Hudson house. Blanche's buzzer and Jane's thumping, slouchy footsteps cut through mass silences and add to the tension. Jangly jazz music (the instrumental track from a song by Debbie Burton and Bette Davis, called 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane') in the sequence where Blanche is racing against time to get a note to her neighbours adds more again to the tension and isolation.
Excellently preserved and transferred, 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?' is a movie that no collection really should be without. It's a great example of how talent doesn;t fade with age, a truly chilling film, and above all else, highly entertaining.
on October 14, 2003
A captivating masterpiece of the Grand Guignol school, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? is one of those rare horror movies that can be chilling, repulsive, and downright terrifying, and all this without the slightest soupçon of the improbable, the impossible, or the supernatural. It is a story of the rivalry between two spinster sisters who were both once show-business superstars--the egotistical and hedonistic Jane (Bette Davis), a onetime juvenile darling of the vaudeville stage but now a talentless has-been; and the gracious and congenial Blanche (Joan Crawford), formerly a popular and highly talented movie actress whose career was cut short by a crippling auto accident. Circumstances and kinship obligations have forced them to live together, their sole income the being the interest from Blanche's investments. But feeling trapped in a situation that has become intolerable and loathsome, Jane begins a slow spiral into madness and takes out her psychopathic aggressions on the invalid Blanche in increasingly twisted ways.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were both facing waning careers when they were cast in this movie, but outstanding performances from both jump-started those careers and propelled the women back into the hearts of the public. Bette Davis is especially superb as the selfish and sadistic Jane, both compelling and believable in her portrayal of the onetime child star who has degenerated into a repulsive and vulgar reflection of her former self. Also notable is the appearance of actor Victor Buono, who here makes his film debut in the supporting role of a young, out-of-work pianist attempting to mooch a few dollars off of spinster Jane. Davis and Buono each received Oscar nominations for their performances.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? is sharp, compelling--and scary! The Warner DVD is short on extras, and the digital transfer could have used a little clean-up on the scratches and wear artifacts, but it is still well worth the reasonable price and will make a fine addition to the collection of any horror fan.