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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?: still brilliantly shocking at 60 🍽️🐀

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?: still brilliantly shocking at 60

Featuring one of cinema’s most famous villains and two grande dames of Hollywood – Bette Davis and Joan Crawford – going toe to toe, this 1962 film packs a punch

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by Anonymousreply 230July 1, 2022 2:24 AM

I think the Movies! Channel ran it into the ground for me. But god bless the mesothelioma channels for still being there.

by Anonymousreply 1April 27, 2022 2:07 AM

I am going to the 60th-anniversary screening hosted by TCM tonight. So far only seven seats have been reserved including myself, Maybe I'll see one of you bitches?

by Anonymousreply 2June 12, 2022 3:21 PM

Where is it, R2?

by Anonymousreply 3June 12, 2022 3:24 PM

Given the way Joan acted after Bette was nominated for an Oscar, did she not realize that Bette was always the star of the picture? She has title billing, Bette is Baby Jane. It wasn't a situation like "I Love Lucy" where Desi could make the argument that he was the "I" and therefore had title billing with Lucy.

by Anonymousreply 4June 12, 2022 3:33 PM

It's a brilliant story! Sibling rivalry at its finest!!!

by Anonymousreply 5June 12, 2022 3:43 PM

I have not seen it for a long time but it had a big impact when it came out. It appealed to everyone though it was clearly low budget film with these two former great stars, reputed enemies, playing out their lives in the plot of the film. It brought us the eternally useful line, “But you are, Blanche..”.

by Anonymousreply 6June 12, 2022 3:45 PM

First glance, I thought RJ and Charlie were back together.

by Anonymousreply 7June 12, 2022 3:56 PM

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT The big confessional 'twist' scene on the beach at the end, it's kind of hard to buy it the way Joan tells it. I mean, how fast could she have been going that she ended up paralyzed?

But that's not the point, of course. By now the movie is over and the audience has seen a tale about Hollywood and the dark, ominous, creepy subtext that's just below its surface.. Meryl Streep hah s said that bette Davis was her biggest influence and favorite actress from H'wood's Golden Age. =Then where's the Baby Jane remake, starring Streep and Glenn Close?

by Anonymousreply 8June 12, 2022 4:32 PM

[quote]Then where's the Baby Jane remake, starring Streep and Glenn Close?

Now, THAT would be good!!! Who would make the better Jane???

by Anonymousreply 9June 12, 2022 4:37 PM

Has anyone ever seen the Redgrave's remake? Was it any good?


by Anonymousreply 10June 12, 2022 4:39 PM

^Yes, and NO it wasn't good.

Interesting about GC, R9. I really can't decide who would make the better Jane and I'm rather flummoxed over who could play Blanche effectively.

by Anonymousreply 11June 12, 2022 4:43 PM

OOPS! I meant, R10. (I'm not posting and conversing with myself. I am sane. I am sane. I am sane...)

by Anonymousreply 12June 12, 2022 4:44 PM

R12 GC does unhinged wonderfully. MS is always a little more reserved and vain so I would make her Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 13June 12, 2022 4:47 PM

The only movie where Bette didn't need heavy makeup.

by Anonymousreply 14June 12, 2022 5:29 PM

One of the few horror films I was allowed to see as a kid because it was in black and white and unrated. It made a big impression on me. It's still one of the smarter ones and has a lot to say about showbiz, family, and mental illness. Great acting and a great script really make such a difference.

by Anonymousreply 15June 12, 2022 5:48 PM

[quote] I mean, how fast could she have been going that she ended up paralyzed?

The car was pretty smashed up. The steering wheel could've pushed against her and broken her spine. Though likely she damaged it more by crawling out of the car to position herself as a victim at the gate.


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by Anonymousreply 16June 12, 2022 6:01 PM

Whatever happened to baby Jane? She could dance, she could sing, Make the biggest theatre ring, Jane could do most anything, Whatever happened to baby Jane?

by Anonymousreply 17June 12, 2022 6:20 PM


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by Anonymousreply 18June 12, 2022 6:54 PM

the Redgrave mess

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by Anonymousreply 19June 12, 2022 6:57 PM

Gina Gillespie (young Blanche) is an attorney in California.

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by Anonymousreply 20June 12, 2022 7:07 PM

R18, that was amazing, I never imagined that’s such a thing ever existed

by Anonymousreply 21June 12, 2022 10:23 PM

One of my favorite movies. Grisly yet excellent.

by Anonymousreply 22June 12, 2022 10:34 PM

When I was a kid, my uncle worked in a movie theater that was showing [italic]What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?[/italic] I had seen the ads for it, so I asked him to tell me what happened. Thinking I was too young, he refused -- and it would be 10 years until I finally saw the movie and got the answer. Fortunately, it did not disappoint, and it has remained one of my favorite films ever since.

by Anonymousreply 23June 12, 2022 10:37 PM

Greeting Card - Photo of Baby Jane looking down at Joan Crawford on the floor "What's the matter, Blanche, Christmas gotcha down?"

by Anonymousreply 24June 12, 2022 11:17 PM

What's interesting is that the author of the book; "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" outlived the stars and director of the movie. Henry Farrell (September 27, 1920 – March 29, 2006) It would be interesting to read some dated interview from somewhere about his view of the movie and his thoughts about how it became iconic. It's also tragic that neither Bette nor Joan were able to participate and enjoy any of the massive profits from the movie.

The film was a box office hit, grossing $9 million in theatrical rentals in North America. In adjusted grosses, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? made an estimated $124 million in 2019 dollars, making it the 20th highest-grossing film of the year and giving both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford their biggest hit in over a decade.

by Anonymousreply 25June 12, 2022 11:37 PM

WHET Baby Jane?

by Anonymousreply 26June 12, 2022 11:51 PM

R4 Bette has top billing because that was the compromise she and Joan agreed upon. Joan said that because Bette was the titular character, she should get top billing. The plan was that Joan would get top billing for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (although Bette was still playing the titular character in that one). Both movies clearly feature co-leads and although the Oscars snubbed Joan, she managed to snag a BAFTA nomination alongside Bette.

by Anonymousreply 27June 12, 2022 11:57 PM

[quote] It's also tragic that neither Bette nor Joan were able to participate and enjoy any of the massive profits from the movie.

Who said they didn't?

by Anonymousreply 28June 13, 2022 1:07 AM

Joan's contract gave her a greater percentage of the film's total earnings than Bette so she actually made out better. Which was another thing that peeved Bette.

by Anonymousreply 29June 13, 2022 1:57 AM

I drove my family nuts singing "Ive written a letter to daddy" !

by Anonymousreply 30June 13, 2022 2:13 AM

Nice version by this queen.

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by Anonymousreply 31June 13, 2022 2:24 AM

The Redgrave sisters are actually both excellent, especially Lynn as imo she was more abundantly talented, but the updated script just isn't as good. For a network tv remake it was pretty entertaining, and if you hadn't seen the original I bet you'd find it very good.

by Anonymousreply 32June 13, 2022 5:44 AM

Back then stars were dumb and asked for a % of the "profit".

Today they are smart and get their % str8 off the gross.

by Anonymousreply 33June 13, 2022 5:58 AM

I grew up with a developmentally disrupted (sic) aunt and a disabled grandmother, who lived together in a hellish existence. The movie hits too close to me.

by Anonymousreply 34June 13, 2022 6:16 AM

I love WEHTBJ (aka What Ever Happened To BJ's) but I haven't watched it in years, because I know it too well. Now I'd rather watch Strait-Jacket or Hush, Hush (or any of the other little B-grade grotesqueries they made in the intervening years) because there's more to discover in them. Trog and Bunny O'Hare were the nadir of their respective careers, but they did good work in other projects (Crawford particularly in Night Gallery) and they both still had a lot to offer, even they weren't given prime opportunities. If they hadn't been so angry and needy and pointlessly spiteful (more on Bette's part than Joan's) Hush, Hush could have been the perfect movie. As it is it's "still a pretty good picture."

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by Anonymousreply 35June 13, 2022 6:39 AM

R10 from what I saw awful! Lynn Looked like Jay leno in drag It's pointless to remake this film

by Anonymousreply 36June 13, 2022 6:45 AM

R35 you should watch Davis in her last really good starring roles in The Anniversary (1968) and 1966s The Nanny

by Anonymousreply 37June 13, 2022 6:47 AM

R27 Joan should have been nominated for the Oscar esp. considering Thelma Ritter in The Birdman of Alcatraz and Shirley Knight in Sweet Bird of Youth were nominated. Patty Duke and Angela Lansbury were both outstanding and Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird was fine.

by Anonymousreply 38June 13, 2022 7:00 AM

R34 Shades of Grey Gardens

by Anonymousreply 39June 13, 2022 7:05 AM

Well, we both got fucked when all was said and done, didn’t we Lucille? No Oscar for you or me. Then our cunt daughters wrote those shitty books about us. At least you got more dick in your prime than a Catholic priest at a Boy Scout convention. I had to settle for vibrators and Judy Garland’s tongue when she wasn’t passed out.

by Anonymousreply 40June 13, 2022 7:07 AM

That was your choice BD and why was everything a competition, anyway?

by Anonymousreply 41June 13, 2022 7:13 AM

R34 a mix of Sunset Blvd and Grey Gardens

by Anonymousreply 42June 13, 2022 7:19 AM

R23 Couldn’t you have persuaded your uncle by using your boyish charms on him?

by Anonymousreply 43June 13, 2022 9:51 AM

[quote]The plan was that Joan would get top billing for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

And, that's why Miss Davis created such commotion on that set which forced Joan to quit. The "plan" was an outrage. Only a TRUE and REAL actor deserves top billing! Insufferable and intolerable cun.... bitches do not.

"You're going to let her play it like that?"

Unconscionable... Just unconscionable...

by Anonymousreply 44June 13, 2022 10:07 AM

R38 Disgusting. A real star would never relegate herself to a supporting acting category. Just ask Rosalind Russell.

by Anonymousreply 45June 13, 2022 10:17 AM

[quote]Erna (business person)

Your business is SHIT!

by Anonymousreply 46June 13, 2022 10:24 AM

Crawford generally under-appreciated as a very good actress. Back in her prime, people knew, then many sort of forgot as the decades passed.

Obviously a MS GC remake would have Glenn as Blanche and give Meryl the challenge to pull off a convincing Baby Jane. Glenn has a lot of skills for playing very long game cool toned duplicitous cunts. I'd like to see Meryl try to make Baby Jane her own. Bette's performance was fantastic and wide ranging in nuance behind the Grand Guignol.

by Anonymousreply 47June 13, 2022 10:46 AM

The writing, direction and production design is extremely tight in this movie, which adds a lot to it's impact. Hush Hush is maudlin and camp. Baby Jane seems razor sharp and twisted as fuck.

by Anonymousreply 48June 13, 2022 10:47 AM

[quote]The writing, direction and production design is extremely tight in this movie, which adds a lot to it's impact.


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by Anonymousreply 49June 13, 2022 10:53 AM

One thing that always perplexes is me is do you Blanche was lying and manipulating Janes emotions in the end, when she told Jane she actually cause the accident. Wouldn't it mean she's also crazy too as she literally tried to kill her own sister ia vehicular homocide.

by Anonymousreply 50June 13, 2022 10:58 AM

I told Madison it was a cautionary tale.

by Anonymousreply 51June 13, 2022 11:02 AM

She became Madonna.

by Anonymousreply 52June 13, 2022 11:14 AM

Someone should really make a tv show about the making of this movie.

by Anonymousreply 53June 13, 2022 11:24 AM

r4 I am sure it was all over but this presentation was in Eastern Iowa.

by Anonymousreply 54June 13, 2022 11:49 AM

R50, it means she was filled with rage and revenge, held inside from tehri younger days. She explained it was Jane imitating her at a party that finally set her off.

by Anonymousreply 55June 13, 2022 1:04 PM

Jane is an ambiguous character because she was in some ways a contemporary woman of the times, able to interact with the world and be clever. Yer she was deeply fixated on the Baby Jane years, but these included her young adult failed D list movie career, not just her girlhood fame in Vaudeville. I wonder how many abortions Jane had had.

by Anonymousreply 56June 13, 2022 3:44 PM

Drag parody on TCM tonight called What Really Happened to Baby Jane.

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by Anonymousreply 57June 13, 2022 3:57 PM

R53 I haven't watched it but does Feud not cover the making of the film?

by Anonymousreply 58June 14, 2022 3:07 AM

I drove my family nuts singing "Ive written a letter to daddy" !

were they surprised when you came out?

by Anonymousreply 59June 14, 2022 5:21 AM

As a troubled young preteen we BECAME Baby Jane Hudson!

by Anonymousreply 60June 14, 2022 6:06 AM

Ya know we got rats in the cellar?

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by Anonymousreply 61June 14, 2022 6:30 AM

You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I wasn't in this chair.

Ok girls; one, two, three!

*But y'are Blanche, y'are in that chair"!

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by Anonymousreply 62June 14, 2022 6:33 AM

Hancock Park house used for exterior shots was up for sale last year, it sold in January 2022 for $3,845,000.

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by Anonymousreply 63June 14, 2022 6:39 AM

Shut up, r53, Ryan Murphy might hear you.

by Anonymousreply 64June 14, 2022 6:44 AM

Debbie Burton was an American singer. She is best known for dubbing the singing voice of the young Baby Jane Hudson (played by child actress Julie Allred) in the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, singing the song "I've Written a Letter to Daddy". Burton also sang a duet with Bette Davis, the rock and roll song "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?", written by Frank DeVol and Lukas Heller. It was released as a promotional single, with Burton's rendition of "I've Written a Letter to Daddy" on the flipside. An instrumental version of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" can be heard in the movie.

In 1964 Burton released a single entitled "The Next Day", which was co-written by Perry Botkin, Jr. with Harry Nilsson.[2] The song was featured on the 2004 compilation Girls Go Zonk: US Beat Chicks and Harmony Honeys.

The single "Baby It's Over" (Capitol 1966) was also written by Nilsson and produced by Botkin.

The music to the song was originally If I Had My Life to Live Over, written by Henry Tobias, Moe Jaffe and Larry Vincent in 1939.

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by Anonymousreply 65June 15, 2022 11:11 AM

The one thing that always bothered me about the movie was when Jane had left to go place her classified ad and Blanche was in her room trying to get the attention of the neighbor next door doing her gardening. Yes, the radio was playing, but are we really supposed to believe Blanche couldn't scream over the radio or that she couldn't grab something and bang on the bars of her window?

Was tossing a note really the only option she had?

by Anonymousreply 66June 15, 2022 11:36 AM

If Blanche had a creamed loud enough to be heard over the radio, Jane would have heard her. She was trying to make contact with the neighbor without Jane finding out.

And BTW, who buys a two-story house with a paraplegic family member?

by Anonymousreply 67June 15, 2022 2:07 PM

[quote]And BTW, who buys a two-story house with a paraplegic family member?


by Anonymousreply 68June 15, 2022 2:13 PM

R67 In that scene, Jane wasn't home. She had driven off to place her classified ad. So Blanche could've screamed her lungs out with no worries.

by Anonymousreply 69June 15, 2022 2:16 PM

R68 That one's explainable. That was Blanche's house before she was paralyzed.

by Anonymousreply 70June 15, 2022 2:16 PM

[quote]That was Blanche's house before she was paralyzed.

Excuse me???

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by Anonymousreply 71June 15, 2022 2:37 PM

I agree about the note, it is a bit of a plot hole. Once Jane gave her back the note, what was to stop her from picking her time and throwing the note again. It seemed as though the neighbor was always out there gardening, there was plenty of opportunity to catch her attention, even without a note she could’ve yelled help, call the police.

by Anonymousreply 72June 16, 2022 3:59 AM

About the house, in an early scene, the Director and the agent were discussing how Blanche had just bought the old Valentino house and was spending a year remodeling it.

by Anonymousreply 73June 16, 2022 4:01 AM

I saw that movie as a kid, late at night. Creepy AF.

It packs a wallop even now.

by Anonymousreply 74June 16, 2022 4:18 AM

I love Jane’s maniacal laugh after Blanche screams at the dead rat on the tray. It was so evil! Bette was the best — she really got into the role.

by Anonymousreply 75June 16, 2022 5:02 AM

I know gay men are supposed to find it a "scream," but it's too disturbing for me to watch again.

by Anonymousreply 76June 16, 2022 5:47 AM

Is it strange that I, while very much enjoying it, never found it disturbing nor scary?

by Anonymousreply 77June 16, 2022 6:19 AM

Victor Buono (piano player) was perfect and more integral than Joan Crawford. Olivia De Havilland could have played Joan’s part.

by Anonymousreply 78June 16, 2022 6:36 AM

We need more original movies like this, not dumb remakes and sequels of studio spam.

by Anonymousreply 79June 16, 2022 7:04 AM

Hancock Park then and still now today is fabulous. Jane or Blanche, whoever bought that property had good taste and sense of mind to chose well.

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by Anonymousreply 80June 17, 2022 7:32 AM

Jane impersonating Blanche on telephone to get that booze store to send over an order is scary as fuck.

On another note, house belonged to Blanche, that was part of plot device. Jane was informed by her sister she was selling the place, and latter feared she'd be put away in an asylum.

When we find out at the end Blanche was a paraplegic of her own doing, it becomes more clear who was evil. Blanche made her sister suffer all those years, and was about to seal the deal by having her put away (presumably), when it was herself who drove Jane into becoming a mad boozing bitch.

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by Anonymousreply 81June 17, 2022 7:42 AM

What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice was a better film for my money.

by Anonymousreply 82June 17, 2022 7:45 AM

I read years ago that Bette couldn't successfully imitate Joan's voice and that Joan dubbed in her voice during Bette's imitation of her. Watching that clip now, I'm not sure.

by Anonymousreply 83June 17, 2022 8:47 AM

That's clearly a voice-over, R83.

IMHO, the film is a success because to some level there is a lot of truth to it. How many vicious sibling rivalries can you name? There was the Olivia DeHavilland and Joan Fontaine feud; The feud between the Harry Winston brothers (The sons of legendary jeweler Harry Winston have settled their long-running dispute – which ended in a lawsuit and accusations of murder and drug use), etc. As far as Miss Davis's makeup... it was over the top but not outlandishly over the top. During my lifetime I have seen more than one woman wear makeup to that degree. One debutante that comes to my mind who wore such makeup to the day she died was Brenda Frazier. Finally, as far as Jane's torturing of Blanche... unfortunately, that's not too far out of line either (think Mickey Rooney and his son) and people really didn't talk about such things back then

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by Anonymousreply 84June 17, 2022 9:08 AM

Another Brenda Frazier

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by Anonymousreply 85June 17, 2022 9:11 AM

Most shocking thing is Bette was 53 years old when filming this.

by Anonymousreply 86June 17, 2022 9:14 AM

In the imaginary Close-Streep remake, I'd rather see Close as Blanche. But as Jane, it's gotta be Jessica Lange.

by Anonymousreply 87June 17, 2022 9:45 AM

It'll never happen, but Barbra Streisand, as Blanche and Bette Midler, as Jane, would be phenomenal.

by Anonymousreply 88June 17, 2022 10:14 AM

R80, in the new Downton Abbey movie, the actor who invites Thomas to come live with him says that he resides in Hancock Park…

by Anonymousreply 89June 17, 2022 11:41 AM

Why isn't Feud on Netflix if Ryan Murphy made that huge deal with them?

by Anonymousreply 90June 17, 2022 1:10 PM

My parents took me to see this when I was 9 .I was traumatized for years after...such good parenting...

by Anonymousreply 91June 17, 2022 1:29 PM

I love Bette's now iconic line reading where she manages to make "But you are..." into one word.

by Anonymousreply 92June 17, 2022 1:30 PM

I love Bette's attitude when nosy Anna Lee comes over with flowers for Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 93June 17, 2022 1:43 PM

MOTHER: Charlotte, take off that dress. I want to see if you shave your cunt.

CHARLOTTE: Mother, I told you I’ve changed. I no longer wish to have a hairy snatch. Men want women with a bald pussy these days. You’re just going to have to accept it.

MOTHER: (gripping her chest and dying)

CHARLOTTE: What’s wrong, mother? Faking another heart attack? You can dry up for all I care. I’m going to keep my pussy bald. You can’t stop me!

by Anonymousreply 94June 17, 2022 4:10 PM

Hmm... I can't see that, R88. I do think that the Streep/Close casting is on the money.

by Anonymousreply 95June 17, 2022 4:19 PM

It's surprising that this was such a big hit. It's entertaining and pulpy with two really fantastic performances, but what it's really saying deep down is so sad and ugly. I wonder if audiences in the 60's left with a bad taste in their mouths.

by Anonymousreply 96June 17, 2022 5:52 PM

I assume the two performances you're speaking of are Davis and Crawford's R96, and I agree with you, but I also think Victor Buono was wonderful as evidenced by his Oscar nom. He adds another level of dangerous menace and moves it out of the realm of 'scary old lady' cinema which is what most of the follow-ups including Charlotte were.

I generally think Crawford is a limited actor, but I feel this is one of her great performances, in part, because that aura ofphoniness which was there in every performance worked for Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 97June 17, 2022 6:48 PM

Some other casting options:

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Tony Danza and John Travolta

Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston

Gaga and Madonna

by Anonymousreply 98June 17, 2022 6:56 PM

Every queen in LA - including Yours Truly - went to the estate sale at the Hancock Park home where the WHTBJ exteriors were shot. The interior, of course, looked nothing like the Moroccan decor soundstages used in the film. (I remember that I brought my partner a meat platter so that we'd have a keepsake.)

The actual owner of the house was a Holocaust survivor who wrote a best-seller about her experience.

As someone who lived in that area, I appreciate the film as a time capsule. It's fun to see Bette driving down Melrose and whizzing through Larchmont. The street signs have never changed.

by Anonymousreply 99June 17, 2022 7:24 PM

[quote] As far as Miss Davis's makeup... it was over the top but not outlandishly over the top.

Part of the horrific effect was due to the unflattering overhead lighting. Also, the black and white (vs. color) gave Baby Jane a more gothic appearance. It's actually less jarring in color.

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by Anonymousreply 100June 17, 2022 11:58 PM

Whatever happened to my asshole

by Anonymousreply 101June 18, 2022 12:00 AM

It needed better editing and could lose about 10 minutes.

by Anonymousreply 102June 18, 2022 12:46 AM

I remember reading a long time ago on here that Bette Davis based her makeup and hair on a real woman who was a has been/never been actress. Someone posted a picture of ad the woman had placed in paper advertising her services. She did look very Baby Jane-ish.

by Anonymousreply 103June 18, 2022 12:55 AM

Once again....

Brenda Frazier creator of “ white face look ”

Brenda Diana Duff Frazier (June 9, 1921 – May 3, 1982) was an American debutante popular during the Depression era. Her December 1938 coming-out party was so heavily publicized worldwide she eventually appeared on the cover of Life magazine for that reason alone. She had invented the famous “white-face” look. Powdered skin made a startling contrast to her very red painted lips combined with dark, dark hair, perfectly coiffed. Brenda often developed a stiff neck, as she feared moving her head lest a hair fall out of place. She sported strapless gowns and made a sensation with that trend as well. During the year of her debut Brenda was at the beck and call of press agents worldwide. She was most often written about by columnist Walter Winchell. As so many in Society lost their fortunes during the Depression, lineage was no longer the sole common denominator. “Publi-ciety”—a combination of money, social standing and news coverage also entered the Winchell lexicon. And then there were the “Glamour Girls”. In 1938 Brenda Frazier was dubbed Glamour Girl #1. Frazier retreated from the outside world and practically became a hermit. Still not forgotten, however, she was mentioned in the Stephen Sondheim song, “I’m Still Here” (from Follies) while living in relative obscurity until her death from bone cancer in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 60.

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by Anonymousreply 104June 18, 2022 1:06 AM

R67 - I have creamed loud enough to be heard over the radio (many many times) but then, I never had a bat-shit crazy sister to worry about - just some frumpy ole roommates.

by Anonymousreply 105June 18, 2022 1:28 AM

"I know gay men are supposed to find it a "scream," but it's too disturbing for me to watch again."

Well that's what makes the film so damn brilliant - it works both as psychological horror AND as camp!

Baby Jane is a brilliant creation, both monster and victim, ridiculous and dangerous, delayed child and adult narcissist, and she's played in a way that's both brilliant and real... and so over-the-top it's camp. It's a terrific film, and one of Davis's most brilliant and complicated performances, and I've never seen an other actor hit such extremes and still make the performance work as a whole. Davis really was great.

by Anonymousreply 106June 18, 2022 1:29 AM

There was also "The Nanny" (Bette Davis) that scared the shit out of me as a little kid.

by Anonymousreply 107June 18, 2022 1:43 AM

Do you think films like Fatal Attraction & Single White Female were influenced by WEHTBJ?

by Anonymousreply 108June 18, 2022 1:48 AM

Damn, I hadn’t seen this since my art school days in the early 90s. When I thought it was hilarious.

When this thread popped up I decided to watch it. And it was too real and painful. Too close to home, even. Yikes.

But it’s great.

by Anonymousreply 109June 18, 2022 2:17 AM

R106, It’s interesting that a suburban audience watching the movie at a fathom event would be deadly quiet, but the same movie screened at the Chelsea Classics hosted by Hedda Lettuce would have the (gay male) audience rolling in the aisles.

by Anonymousreply 110June 18, 2022 2:19 AM

R67, re "And BTW, who buys a two-story house with a paraplegic family member?" Blanche bought the house when she signed her first contract. According to the studio guy in the 1935 prologue (1935 was the year of the "accident") she'd just bought Valentino's old place but that it would take a year before it could be renovated so she could move in. So, the house in the film is the house she bought when she signed her 1st contract, and she'd have had no difficulty navigating the stairs.

Baby Jane didn't buy the house, that was her alcoholic delusion. By the early 30s, Jane was a drunken, angry, emotionally disturbed has-been, still stuck mentally at the same age as the bratty little child star she'd once been, and the only reason she got work was because Blanche was a big enough star that she could force the studio to make one film with her sister, for every film she made. The humiliation of the nauseatingly cloying, untalented Jane's films flopping while every film of Blanche's made a fortune was Blanche's way of punishing Jane for the way she'd been treated when they were children, when Jane was the star and Blanche was the ugly duckling. And since now Jane could only get a job at her sister's prompting the shoe was definitely on the other foot.

The book, while lacking the star power of Bette and Joan, is a lot better, and much sadder. Every important point in the book is coarsened and amplified, and while Jane is pathetic, she was spoiled rotten from the start, and horribly unpleasant to Blanche from the word go: a depressing scene from the book has Blanche at the beach as a young girl (mom and dad and Jane are inside napping or eating or something) and Blanche, maybe 7 or 8 years old, is goofing around, singing and dancing and the people on the beach are laughing and appreciating her antics, and she's happy just clowning around and for once getting some positive attention, and she doesn't realize Jane has shown up behind her and is watching furiously, and then Jane slaps her very hard, knocking her over and screaming at her, and IIRC her dad punishes Blanche for trying to get attention.

In the book WEHTBJ, what Blanche did was more subtle and much more believable: Jane was always hired for Blanche's movies as the "best friend" or "the comic relief", the unattractive brunette gal-pal to Blanche's gorgeous heroines (in the book, Jane was a brunette and Blanche was a blond).

Baby Jane was a mentally ill, psychopathic bitch. Blanche, on the other hand was not. She was a nice, timid girl who tried to be friendly and appeasing, but she got shut down every time, by Baby Jane and their father and mother. Blanche was the real victim, a nice person twisted out of true. Jane was an awful child, who was encouraged by parents and throngs of fans to blossom into the monster she was capable of being.

by Anonymousreply 111June 18, 2022 5:14 AM

I just got the book out of the library, and I’m looking forward to reading it

by Anonymousreply 112June 18, 2022 6:57 AM

How could you NOT post Arbus's famous shot of old Brenda Frazier?

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by Anonymousreply 113June 18, 2022 7:50 AM

[quote]Davis' character of deranged former child star Baby Jane Hudson is widely believed to be based (at least partially) on former silent movie ingenue Mary Miles Minter. Minter's career ended abruptly in 1922, when press coverage suggested she was a prime suspect in the still unsolved murder of director William Desmobd Taylor. Although she was never formally charged, Minter survived for decades afterward, as a progressively delusional recluse.

[quote]Early on, Bette Davis made the decision to create her own makeup for Jane. "What I had in mind no professional makeup man would have dared to put on me," said Davis. "One told me he was afraid that if he did what I wanted, he might never work again. Jane looked like many women one sees on Hollywood Boulevard. In fact author Henry Farrell patterned the character of Jane after these women. One would presume by the way they looked that they once were actresses, and were now unemployed. I felt Jane never washed her face, just added another layer of makeup each day." Davis' garish makeup made her look something akin to a grotesque version of an aging Mary Pickford gone to seed, and she loved it. She took pride when Farrell visited the set one day and exclaimed, "My God, you look just exactly as I pictured Baby Jane." The outrageousness of Davis' appearance caused some concern for Aldrich and the producers, who feared it might be too over-the-top. However, as time went on, they came to see that Davis' instincts for the character were right.

[quote]The wig Bette Davis wears throughout the film had, unbeknownst to both leads, been worn by Joan Crawford in an earlier MGM movie. Because it had been re-groomed, Crawford didn't recognize it.

[quote]According to Bette Davis, Robert Aldrich convinced Joan Crawford to let go of some of her glamorous embellishments. "It took him one entire morning to talk her into removing her nail polish for a scene in which she came downstairs with her hand on the railing," said Davis.

[quote]While Bette Davis took delight in looking dreadful for the film, the opposite was true of Joan Crawford. Even though Blanche had once been a beautiful young actress, she was now in her 50s, confined to a wheelchair, emaciated and wasting away. It was difficult for Crawford to appear unattractive, since she had always been considered one of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. "It was a constant battle to get her not to look gorgeous," said Davis. "She wanted her hair well dressed, her gowns beautiful and her fingernails with red nail polish. For the part of an invalid who had been cooped up in a room for 20 years, she wanted to look attractive. She was wrong."

[quote]Bette Davis found doing the scene in which the adult Jane sings her maudlin childhood signature song, "I've Written a Letter to Daddy," particularly memorable. "The old Jane gazing in the mirror from about 12 feet away looks pretty good," described Davis. "Then she walks forward. Ernie [cameraman Ernest Haller] had a high light, straight down, which is always bad for a woman. Especially me. When Jane finally gets up to the mirror, she sees herself as this decrepit old hag, when in her mind she's still young. I covered my face with my hands. [Robert Aldrich] had wanted a loud scream, but what came out was a hoarse cry--I'd been having laryngitis. It was right and we both knew it. [Aldrich] had tears in his eyes. 'You just won yourself an Oscar,' he whispered. I went home that night singing, 'And the Angels Sing'."

by Anonymousreply 114June 18, 2022 3:49 PM

Bette gave the best performance but Joan had the sympathetic role. A tie.

by Anonymousreply 115June 18, 2022 4:23 PM

Sounds like Joan was a PITA with wanting to wear nail polish, wanting to look glamorous. Blanche was supposed to be washed-up and in reduced circumstances, as well.

by Anonymousreply 116June 18, 2022 4:41 PM

[quote]'You just won yourself an Oscar,' he whispered.

Heh heh hehhh..

Wanna bet?

by Anonymousreply 117June 18, 2022 4:52 PM

[quote]Ingrid Bergman, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones and Ginger Rogers were considered for Baby Jane.

[quote]Tallulah Bankhead, Claudette Colbert, Olivia de Havilland and Marlene Dietrich were considered to play Blanche.

[quote]In 2021, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

[quote]Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.

[quote]The Husdon Sister's home is located at 172 So. McFadden Place in Hancock Park, their phone number is HO5-6259. In 1962, the HO exchange in Los Angeles stood for HOllywood.

[quote]Peter Lawford was originally set to play the part of Flagg, but two days after accepting the part he withdrew due to family concerns. Lawford felt the character might reflect badly on his real-life role as brother-in-law of the current President, John F. Kennedy. Victor Buono was then cast as . Bette Davis originally objected to Buono's casting but eventually came around.

[quote]Joan Crawford was scheduled to appear alongside Bette Davis on a publicity tour for the film but canceled at the last minute. Davis claimed that Crawford backed out because she didn't want to share the stage with her. In a 1972 telephone conversation, Crawford related to author Shaun Considine that after seeing a screening of the film she urged Davis (who wasn't interested) to go and have a look. Later when Joan didn't hear back from Davis, she called her co-star and asked her what she thought of the film. Davis replied, "You were so right, Joan. The picture is good. And I was terrific." Crawford told Considine, "That was it. She never said anything about my performance. Not a word." Considine alleges that this denial from Davis (with regards to Joan's talent as an actress) prompted Crawford to cancel the publicity tour and upstage Davis at the Oscars.

by Anonymousreply 118June 18, 2022 4:52 PM

R118 I can't imagine Rita Hayworth in the Jane role. I could see Susan Hayward doing it, though. She was also so freaking over the top.

by Anonymousreply 119June 18, 2022 4:56 PM

R119, but Davis' performance is more than just being 'over the top,' that's only a part of it. Davis made a lot of intelligent choices regarding characterization . She didn't just yell for two hours, the performance is heightened, but there is a ton of complexity. I don't think Hayward would have been given nearly the performance Davis did. She wasn't a bad actor, she just wasn't nearly as good or intelligent an actor as Davis.

by Anonymousreply 120June 18, 2022 5:37 PM

R120 I agree. Davis did a great job in the role. I had a typo in my R119 post. I didn't mean to have the word "also" in there.

In my opinion, Hayward was a two-note actress. She was either crying or yelling in most of her movies. She'd have been theatrical as Jane, but I agree that she couldn't have brought the nuances to the character that Davis did.

by Anonymousreply 121June 18, 2022 6:02 PM

Inside of the house!

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by Anonymousreply 122June 18, 2022 6:26 PM

Whatever happened to my damned ol asshole?

by Anonymousreply 123June 18, 2022 6:43 PM

Our mother forbad us to see the movie but we did anyway!

by Anonymousreply 124June 18, 2022 6:53 PM

I can't see Rita Hayworth ever being interested in playing Baby Jane. Jennifer Jones was neurotic enough to play her though. Ginger would have been a complete miscast.

by Anonymousreply 125June 18, 2022 9:09 PM

It's too bad no filmmaker ever thought about making a similar movie as a vehicle for Olivia and Joan Fontaine.

by Anonymousreply 126June 18, 2022 9:09 PM

It's Davis' most career defining role next to Margo Channing. The guts it took to let it all hang out like that and intentionally look bad kept her working for years and years when most actresses her age couldn't get as much work. Her lack of vanity is still refreshing to see.

I can still remember seeing this movie on TV as a kid and being spellbound by it. I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was definitely a horror film, but it had such interesting characters and psychological realism. As terrified as I was of Jane, I also couldn't help but pity her and hope she'd get better somehow. The scene where she kills the maid was a huge shock to me. I'd never seen a movie where escape seemed so hopeless.

by Anonymousreply 127June 18, 2022 10:52 PM

I am surprised that no one ever cast Lucy in a humorous Psycho-biddy film. As she aged her make got closer and closer to Baby Jane's anyway.

by Anonymousreply 128June 19, 2022 12:13 AM

What fun a Jayne Mansfield/Paul Lynde version of this would have been!

by Anonymousreply 129June 19, 2022 12:29 AM

They’d be incredibly popular today considering they both look like transsexuals.

by Anonymousreply 130June 19, 2022 12:35 AM

It's time for a remake starring Madonna and Cher. No makeup needed for M.

by Anonymousreply 131June 19, 2022 12:37 AM

R126. I’m sure someone did. My guess is Joan would have been game, but Olivia, never.

by Anonymousreply 132June 19, 2022 12:43 AM

R128- Our Lucy as Baby Jane Hudson would have been FABULOUS- but who would be the perfect foe for her?

Her raspy cigarette voice would have paired well with the Baby Jane Hudson Makeup

by Anonymousreply 133June 19, 2022 12:54 AM

R133 Her old friend Eve Arden as Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 134June 19, 2022 1:01 AM

I think Madonna could play certain aspects of the Baby Jane character, but not all aspects like Bette Davis did. Also, Madonna always holds back, she's always self-conscious. She wouldn't allow someone else to control how her character looked. Wouldn't allow herself to be seen in, literally, an unflattering light.

by Anonymousreply 135June 19, 2022 1:05 AM

Knowing what we eventually learn about Blanche's behavior and motives, when Jane contradicts her to say that indeed it was Jane's vaudeville funds that originally purchased the house, I'm always tempted to believe her.

by Anonymousreply 136June 19, 2022 1:25 AM

Blanche a former glamorous star being in a wheelchair, bored and cooped up all day, would of course always have nice nail polish on! It is one of the few things she could manage and enjoy without Jane's permission!

Joan was correct and Aldrich was wrong.

by Anonymousreply 137June 19, 2022 1:29 AM

More about the house.

It would be interesting to know the backstory of the house ie architect and why that particular house was chosen for the film.

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by Anonymousreply 138June 19, 2022 1:42 AM

[quote]Was Blanche also a monster?

[quote]Blanche is trying to sell the mansion, but Jane reminds her the house is hers, not Blanche’s. There is no reason to believe this is a lie, and after finding out the whopper, Blanche had been sitting on all these years, it is probable that the home was initially purchased with Jane’s Vaudeville money by their father for her. There’s also the minor issue of trying to run someone down with your car for being mean at a social event. That’s not exactly model behavior.

[quote]Finally, she let her sister blame herself for the accident all these years. Obviously it affected Jane’s mental and physical health, yet she chose to let Jane believe she hurt her. A strong argument could be made that Blanche was also a terrible person and drove her sister crazy. Sure, her sister cooked her parakeet and served her both rats and birds instead of real food, but Blanche was partly responsible for her demise.

by Anonymousreply 139June 19, 2022 1:51 AM

Wait until you see "The Exorcist," OP!

by Anonymousreply 140June 19, 2022 2:11 AM

R138- I know that interior shots of the Baby Jane house were filmed on a sound stage but the interior of this house looks sterile. It's obvious that ALL period details of the interior of the house have been removed. The interior not only looks sterile it has the interior of a very average looking McMansion.

by Anonymousreply 141June 19, 2022 2:15 AM

"Meryl Streep hah s said that bette Davis was her biggest influence and favorite actress from H'wood's Golden Age."

R8, Streep said that as payback because in Katharine Hepburn's lifetime, she wouldn't have anything to do with Streep.

by Anonymousreply 142June 19, 2022 2:22 AM

R142 Exactly, Streep was just pissed at Hepburn's infamous *click, click, click* comment. And that Hepburn chose Streep's rival Glenn as her natural successor for the title of best actress.

by Anonymousreply 143June 19, 2022 3:36 AM

Hepburn never gave Bette Davis the time of day so that's another thing Bette and Meryl have in common.

When Bette wanted Katharine to co-star with her in Charlotte after Joan "left," Katharine infamously refused to pick up Robert Aldrich's phone calls. Then Bette was desperate to do a photoshoot with Katharine but Bette found out third hand that Katharine was not interested at all and refused.

In the hierarchy of actresses Bette was always schmoozing up to Katharine and desperate to receive some attention from her. It probably didn't help her that Kate's bestie George Cukor despised Bette and thought she was a diva.

It must have killed Bette that Joan and Katharine were actually on good terms in contrast and that Katharine actually praised Joan, but never Bette.

by Anonymousreply 144June 19, 2022 3:37 AM

Actually, R144, Hepburn did praise Davis, when Dick Cavett interviewed Hepburn and asked her what she thought of Davis's acting, and Hepburn replied, simply: "She's awfully good." And that was it. Rather tight-lipped on the praise, but when put on the spot, she acknowledged Davis.

by Anonymousreply 145June 19, 2022 3:45 AM

Emphasis on "awfully." And being put on the spot on live TV doesn't count. If she really admired Bette, she wouldn't go out of her way to snub her at all times especially when she was chummy with other actresses.

by Anonymousreply 146June 19, 2022 3:48 AM

Bette Davis was better than KH. Certainly more daring, imo.

by Anonymousreply 147June 19, 2022 3:54 AM

The calla lilies are in bloom again - Katherine Hepburn snubbed What a DUMP! Bette Davis because she was jealous of her more successful career than Katherine's.

by Anonymousreply 148June 19, 2022 3:57 AM

R148 Are you referring to the same career which could not win an Oscar after 1938? The career that held "classics" such as Bunny O'Hare, Beyond the Forest, and Wicked Stepmother?

Even in The Whales of August, she thought she could trot her crotchety self out, face half paralyzed from her stroke, and play her acerbic one-liners and get all the Oscar buzz only to be completely ignored whereas Lillian Gish's performance got all the rave reviews. No one wanted to see Bette look like one of the undead onscreen.

by Anonymousreply 149June 19, 2022 4:01 AM

No, she wasn't either, R147. Hepburn was the greater actress, and as for more daring, Davis never did Shakespeare or Shaw on stage, or O'Neill and Euripedes or Albee on film, as Hepburn did.

by Anonymousreply 150June 19, 2022 4:02 AM

Even number of Oscars aside, another thing to consider is that Bette could not do comedy at all. Kate could easily flip between drama (contemporary and period) and comedy easily.

Bette also always paired herself off with weak leading men like George Brent or Herbert Marshall as they wouldn't threaten or overpower her. Kate held her own against stalwarts like Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart, not to mention Henry Fonda and Humphrey Bogart. Even Joan, for that matter, had a much better collection of leading men like Gable, Tracy, Stewart, Cooper, etc. and she was never once overshadowed by any of them. There's a reason Joan always had top billing over all these stars, even Gable.

by Anonymousreply 151June 19, 2022 4:07 AM

I thought she did well in The Bride Came C.O.D.

by Anonymousreply 152June 19, 2022 4:10 AM

Bette is only good in unintentional comedy like Beyond the Forest. Even Joan was more adept at comedy as seen in The Women, I Live My Life, Love on the Run, etc.

by Anonymousreply 153June 19, 2022 4:12 AM

Bette Davis deserved Best Actress Oscar just as much as Elizabeth Taylor deserved hers for Virginia Woolf. Both gave riveting performances at a level beyond anything anyone would have believed they were capable of.

by Anonymousreply 154June 19, 2022 6:33 AM

Bette's cult (as Joan called them) loves to whine about how Bette was robbed of an Oscar but anyone who's ever seen any of the other nominees up that year can attest to the fact that any one of them would have been more rightful winners. There's a reason Anne Bancroft and Geraldine Page won all the critics awards whereas Bette won nothing. Anne Bancroft winning a Tony for the same role and Patty Duke winning best supporting actress pretty much guaranteed Anne would win the Oscar.

If not her, Geraldine Page would have won. And if not her, Hepburn would likely have won since that was the only Oscar nomination she ever campaigned for and at that point she was still a one-time winner and would have been considered overdue for a second. Bette had alienated too many people in the film industry for anyone to consider giving her a third Oscar.

by Anonymousreply 155June 19, 2022 6:42 AM

A few years ago Walter Hill was going to do a sequel to Baby Jane? with M. in the Bette role and Sissy Spacek in the Joan role. In never came to fruition.

by Anonymousreply 156June 19, 2022 7:04 AM

Bette and Joan both should have been nominated for Oscars.

by Anonymousreply 157June 19, 2022 7:05 AM

Remake with Julia and Sandra please

by Anonymousreply 158June 19, 2022 7:06 AM

I re-watched the Redgrave remake last night. It's on YouTube for those who are interested. It's not bad but it's not good either. Here's my problem with it; IMHO, it assumes that the viewer already knows the Baby Jane storyline and have seen the original movie. It moves too quickly and misses a lot of the subtle nuances that helped develop the characters and story. Lynne Redgrave's performance as Jane could have been brought down a notch in order to make the character more sympathetic. In the original you never knew that Jane was crazy and a nutso. You just assume that she is a very bitter old lady who is jealous of her sister's success. It is as the movie progresses that we see how she just sinks into a neurosis that causes her to do all that she does. With the remake it's as if the character is a bull right out of the gate with full-blown craziness.

by Anonymousreply 159June 19, 2022 11:41 AM

[quote]As a troubled young preteen we BECAME Baby Jane Hudson! —Erna

And then we LITERALLY shit the bed! And the future path or our life was set!

by Anonymousreply 160June 19, 2022 11:47 AM

R133. Gale Gordon as Blanche with Vivian Vance as Elvira.

by Anonymousreply 161June 19, 2022 12:15 PM

It always cracks me up near the beginning of the "present day" part of the film when Jane's looking through the horoscopes and she slurs "zhem-in-eye," like "I wonder if it's gonna be a good day or a bad day?"

by Anonymousreply 162June 19, 2022 4:48 PM

I just had a wild thought. Joan could have played Baby Jane (if you've seen Strait-Jacket or the little half-hour tv drama One Must Die, linked below, she clearly was capable of violence, madness, poignancy and sadness in the same performance. She plays twin sisters in One Must Die (don't want to spoil it if anyone decides to watch it), one sweet and frustrated, the other rotten and rather nuts.

It's a lurid little episode of Zane Grey Theater, but it's fun. And if Joan had decided to play Baby Jane, she could have brought Norma Shearer out of retirement to play Blanche!

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by Anonymousreply 163June 19, 2022 10:13 PM

R161- Glen Close as Albert Nobbs as Baby Jane Hudson

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by Anonymousreply 164June 19, 2022 11:40 PM
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by Anonymousreply 165June 20, 2022 1:16 AM

R158 it would be delicious. But Julia Roberts will never make a movie Sandra Bullock. She barely likes to recognize her existence.

by Anonymousreply 166June 20, 2022 1:21 AM

[quote] Davis' most career defining role next to Margo Channing.

Except for Regina in "Little Foxes"

by Anonymousreply 167June 20, 2022 1:54 AM

Such great memories. I wanna push a bitch down some stairs, for old times sake.

by Anonymousreply 168June 20, 2022 2:01 AM

It would be amazing to finally have Roberts and Bullock in a film together. And this would pure camp brilliance. America's favorite actresses going at it. It's DL catnip.

by Anonymousreply 169June 20, 2022 2:04 AM

R161- How about Bonnie Bartlett as Barbara Thorndike as Baby Jane Hudson?

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by Anonymousreply 170June 20, 2022 2:26 AM

Wouldn't Julia and Sandra be considered the grande dames for this?

by Anonymousreply 171June 20, 2022 2:29 AM

My favorite movie!

by Anonymousreply 172June 20, 2022 2:52 AM

R170 that's a brilliant idea, and she could add a whole new layer by continually calling Blanche, Madge. 'Face it , Blanche and Elvira are limited...'

by Anonymousreply 173June 20, 2022 6:35 AM

[quote] I remember that I brought my partner a meat platter so that we'd have a keepsake.

What's a meat platter?

by Anonymousreply 174June 21, 2022 1:16 AM

Olivia and Joan F should have remade this movie in the early 2000s when they were both still alive and in good health.

by Anonymousreply 175June 21, 2022 3:22 AM

That episode off Zane Grey Theatre with Joan features the exterior of GWTW's Tara as Joan's home. It was still standing at the time.

by Anonymousreply 176June 21, 2022 4:57 AM

Surely someone over the years has made a musical out of this.

by Anonymousreply 177June 21, 2022 5:01 AM

Indeed they have, r177 but it's pretty bad. There are clips from it on youtube.

by Anonymousreply 178June 21, 2022 5:15 AM


What they brought me the head of John The Baptist on....

by Anonymousreply 179June 21, 2022 9:28 AM

R156 Sissy would have been miscast as Blanche. She's never been able to pull off glamorous. Glenn or Jessica would have been more fitting.

by Anonymousreply 180June 21, 2022 10:23 AM

R157 Joan was horribly snubbed but at least she got a BAFTA nomination

by Anonymousreply 181June 21, 2022 10:24 AM

It does not need to be a competition between the two actresses in this movie, as both did very well and the movie is great.

by Anonymousreply 182June 21, 2022 11:40 AM

Bonnie & Clyde. Thelma & Louise. Butch & The Kid. Blanche & Jane. The War of the Roses. Sometimes films with costars offer two great performances. I'm sure that the two performances work so well together is key to such films being super successful. There are many. And sometimes its 3 or 4 great performances.

by Anonymousreply 183June 21, 2022 11:43 AM

"Joan could have played Baby Jane (if you've seen Strait-Jacket or the little half-hour tv drama One Must Die, linked below, she clearly was capable of violence, madness, poignancy and sadness in the same performance."

IMHO she would have been okay in the role, or at least fun to watch, but she'd NEVER have been able to do what Davis did!

For one thing, she wasn't willing to be photographed looking like a hag who looked decades older than her real age, She didn't have the skill to dance between tragedy, camp, and suspense. And she just didn't have the balls to be fulsmonstrous. The closest she ever came to playing a real monster was in "Queen Bee" (her role in "Strait Jacket" was ultimately sumpathetic), and she played that role as a genteel and ladylike monster. She would have either been comparatively dull in the role, or pure camp.

by Anonymousreply 184June 22, 2022 6:26 AM

[quote] or pure camp

Yeah, R184, like what Bette did wasn't pure camp all along hence all the drag queen acts of Baby Jane.

by Anonymousreply 185June 22, 2022 7:41 AM

No, R185, what Davis did wasn't pure camp... it was mixed camp!

Like I said, it was camp mixed with real drama and character insight, and suspense.

by Anonymousreply 186June 22, 2022 8:32 AM

The ultimate version would be with Kate Jackson as Blanche and Cheryl Ladd as Jane. We all know Cheryl has been terrorizing Kate for years, so this would just be a page torn from their everyday lives!

by Anonymousreply 187June 22, 2022 11:31 PM

Some other old queen must have bought Jane's wig. Probably wears it the bank.

I want a Baby Jane Hudson doll!

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by Anonymousreply 188June 23, 2022 2:50 AM

I wonder if Joan previously wore that same wig when she made "The Gorgeous Hussy"? Not sure if that is true, but it was implied in the Feud mini series.

by Anonymousreply 189June 23, 2022 5:44 AM

Joan went blonde for 1931's This Modern Age but I don't think the Baby Jane wig is from that, I think it must have been from 1930's Our Blushing Brides. It definitely wasn't from The Gorgeous Hussy.

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by Anonymousreply 190June 24, 2022 6:16 AM

Straight Jacket was worth it for the surprisingly well written and good scenes between Diane Baker and George Kennedy. Joan also scored the second best 'lighting cigarette scene' (off a phonograph record) in movie history. The first best was William Holden lighting his off a fellow POW's beard.

by Anonymousreply 191June 24, 2022 10:37 AM

The only weak point of the film for me was the fact that the house didn't have any kind of elevator or stair lift. Impossible to think that a wealthy, disabled person wouldn't have option, if not for mobility, then at least for fire safety. I think that aspect hurt the film and Joan's chances for a possible Oscar nod.

Even with a believable egress, Jane would have been able to kicked Blance down the stairs and turned off the lift electrical breaker. Still, it was a pretty good picture.

by Anonymousreply 192June 25, 2022 1:03 AM

[quote] I think that aspect hurt the film and Joan's chances for a possible Oscar nod.

What the hell did that have to do with her getting on Oscar nomination?

by Anonymousreply 193June 25, 2022 1:27 AM

I'll spell it out for you. The writers fucked over the role of Blanche by making her a rich cripple with no way out of her own home. Unbelievable. Unless she were mentally disabled, which she wasn't. Joan was very good as Blanche, but Bette got better writing.

by Anonymousreply 194June 25, 2022 1:34 AM

"The only weak point of the film for me was the fact that the house didn't have any kind of elevator or stair lift"

I suppose that they may have had a big strong healthcare worker before, a man who could carry the small Blanche up and down the stairs - and that Jane fired him and ran off any replacements. Or there may have been an elevator, that Jane broke. Or she may have pitched a fit about a stairlift, saying it ruined the look of their grand house. All speculation, of course, but I think scenario #1 is the likeliest.

by Anonymousreply 195June 25, 2022 2:05 AM

Let R111 chime in, did the book have an elevator?

by Anonymousreply 196June 25, 2022 2:08 AM

Good question!

by Anonymousreply 197June 25, 2022 2:16 AM

R196, it's been so long since I read it, but I'm fairly certain there was no elevator.

by Anonymousreply 198June 25, 2022 4:57 PM

Blanche is a mostly passive role. Besides trying to get help that one time, she basically just wheels around her room or gets abused by Jane. It's not an actor's showcase like Jane. Jane gets to be scary, pathetic, funny, bitter, and even a little childlike. It's a wonderful role for an actor. It's no wonder Bette got the nomination. It's no fault of Joan's. She did what she could. Her role in Strait-Jacket proves that she could have handled more. Her character in that is surprisingly complex and nuanced. Reminds me a bit of how they portrayed Norman Bates in the first Psycho sequel. It gives an actor a lot to chew on instead of being a one-note boogeyman.

If you look at a horror duo that did get nominated like Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie in Carrie or Jodie Foster & Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, you'll see that both of those actors were given really interesting material and were more like equals in their scenes together. Each character had strong goals and personalities. It's the same reason Kathy Bates got all the acclaim for Misery and James Caan didn't. Caan is excellent and believable in the movie, but his character isn't as interesting.

by Anonymousreply 199June 25, 2022 5:55 PM

Home staircase elevators/stair lifts weren't really thing in the 60s. They existed but weren't well known. It was later that they became a thing.

by Anonymousreply 200June 25, 2022 6:47 PM

! ! ’s mom was a real bitch, Lovey!

by Anonymousreply 201June 25, 2022 10:42 PM

Meryl should do Blanche. She's better at tragic victims. Glenn could have a career-cappling turn as the crazed Jane.

by Anonymousreply 202June 26, 2022 1:29 AM

If I were Blanche, I'd have moved to the first floor. Or a ranch styled home. They want you to believe she was a bed ridden recluse that didn't even roll around the block for fresh air? Bars on the windows with no fire egress. Implausible.

by Anonymousreply 203June 26, 2022 1:41 AM

Using another DL favorite film in comparison (Dolores Claiborne), Vera Donovan's mansion didn't have a lift or anything similar either. If Mrs. Donovan did want to go downstairs, Dolores Claiborne would likely have had to carry her, just as was done in days past and still today. Vera Donovan solved that problem by throwing herself down stairs...

Cornelia Hilyard had an elevator installed in her mansion following a suffering a broken hip, and look what happened to her....

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by Anonymousreply 204June 26, 2022 6:27 AM

When my mother couldn't walk up the stairs any more, she'd pull herself up the stairs to her bedroom by her elbows. I was aghast but Mama said she and Daddy were looking into other possibilities. My sister said the exercise was good for Mama. I had moved 500 miles away to Manhattan to get away from them and haven't regretted it.

by Anonymousreply 205June 26, 2022 10:59 AM

IMHO, what this film has done is to immortalize Joan Crawford and Bette Davis (the placement of their names is alphabetical) for many generations to come. A few stars of the Golden Era have been mentioned here but who REALLY remembers them and their performances along with their nuances? Kate Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, and many others are wonderful actors but what iconic performances have they had that are a part of the American fabric/culture that will stretch into eons? In another 60 years will these actors and their work be so readily remembered? Few actors have this opportunity. Off the top of my head, I can think of Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, and Hattie McDaniel, who have a work ("Gone With The Wind") that has become so iconic as such. In modern day, I guess I would note Marlon Brando's role in "The Godfather"

by Anonymousreply 206June 26, 2022 11:51 AM

In one movie Richard Widmark solved the elevator problem for a wheelchair bound recluse.

by Anonymousreply 207June 26, 2022 12:23 PM

[quote]She had invented the famous “white-face” look. Powdered skin made a startling contrast to her very red painted lips combined with dark, dark hair.

Bullshit, R104.

by Anonymousreply 208June 26, 2022 12:25 PM

Astaire and Rogers are iconic, certainly as much as Gone with the Wind, so...

by Anonymousreply 209June 27, 2022 6:55 AM

R203 et al...

Blanche was planning on selling that house, so maybe she was going to move into a place more suited to her disability.

by Anonymousreply 210June 27, 2022 7:00 AM

Yes, I am gay, but besides a threshold, nobody is carrying me anywhere(even if they could). And I would have been scared to exist in a second floor fire trap. I would have slid down the banister, if had be, but I would not have lived that way. And I can't imagine Blanche laying on her ass like that when she could maneuver the wheelchair like a champ to the chocolate box. Otherwise, a great film.

by Anonymousreply 211June 28, 2022 12:45 AM

[quote]Blanche was planning on selling that house, so maybe she was going to move into a place more suited to her disability.

You have to consider the time too. As someone noted earlier. stairlifts in the home weren't something readily available for the mass consumer market. Also, there wasn't the American Disabilities Act (it passed in 1990) and the handicap/disabled were treated FAR differently than they are today.

by Anonymousreply 212June 28, 2022 12:57 AM

Also, fuck the waded paper note to the neighbor. If your bedroom is facing the neighbor, throw something that makes noise out the window. By the time Jane kicks your ass, the police are there. No sense of self preservation. The dead pet budgie would have set me off enough to get help. Fast. Plus, nobody is gonna starve this bitch.

by Anonymousreply 213June 28, 2022 2:19 AM


That being said since their invention elevators were installed in all sorts of private homes by those who could afford.

In late 1800's Alexander Palace had elevators installed. Many private homes including urban mansions and row/town houses had them installed as well. We know from film Gosford Park that home at least had an elevator for luggage.

Main issue besides money was carving out space for an elevator. But never the less it could be done.

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by Anonymousreply 214June 28, 2022 8:34 AM

They had stairlifts back then. Charles Laughton rode one in Witness for the Prosecution (1957). First invented in 1923.

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by Anonymousreply 215June 28, 2022 7:02 PM

If Blanche and Jane were real, there would have been decades of wrangling over whether to trade the house in for a one-level ranch house, and how to make the big house accessible for Blanche while they were there.

Personally, I imagine a series of strong young home health aides who could pick up Blanche and carry her up and down the stairs, and they all quit when they realized that Jane thought of each one as her new boyfriend. But of course, once Blanche made up her mind to sell the house and put Jane away, it was easy to fire the current one and not hire another, and that would leave Blanche trapped on the second floor.

by Anonymousreply 216June 29, 2022 12:39 AM

R219 after living in a fire trap for decades!

by Anonymousreply 217June 29, 2022 3:41 AM

[quote] I imagine a series of strong young home health aides who could pick up Blanche and carry her up and down the stairs

Uh, hello! You forget about me? What do you think I did.

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by Anonymousreply 218June 29, 2022 4:03 AM

Elvia came but once a week R218

by Anonymousreply 219June 29, 2022 4:29 AM

That little thing did NOT carry Blanche's ass down any stairs.

by Anonymousreply 220June 29, 2022 4:53 AM

Jane was the same size as the maid. After she Maxwell hammered her, she must of rolled her down the stairs.

by Anonymousreply 221June 29, 2022 5:28 AM

By 1950's and certainly 1960's plenty of homes had a weekly maid as opposed to a daily girl. Much of this was based upon household finances, but also composition. A home with just two adults often coped fine with a weekly who came in to do "heavy" work. With mod cons such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines and dryers (or sending laundry out), dishwashers, etc... much of the heavy stuff could be done in one day. During week family (mainly the wife in most instances), coped well enough with light housework.

Plot doesn't go there, but Elvia was only a maid, not a home help woman who came in daily to "do" for an invalid. This would have entailed assisting bathing, toileting, and dressing, cooking, cleaning, etc..

From same time period, the elderly and invalid Miss Elva Keene has just such a woman who came in daily to do for her.

WEHTBJ was released in 1962 IIRC. Medicare wasn't created until 1965, with Medicaid several years later. Invalids existed long before, and if one wasn't wealthy enough to hire a caretaker/woman who does, and or a maid (if the former didn't do everything), costs money. Post WWII as the "servant problem" was becoming acute finding home domestic help of any sort was becoming difficult and or expensive.

In tight time and story confines of a major motion picture obviously many things just cannot be explored. But do we really believe Jane was bathing, dressing, etc... her sister Blanche all those years?

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by Anonymousreply 222June 29, 2022 5:46 AM

They could have made Blanche's escape attempt more plausible. Jane would still, easily have thwarted her attempts, but the Blanche would have garnered more audience sympathy. Hell, I wanted to kick her myself.

by Anonymousreply 223June 29, 2022 6:43 AM

Thanks for responding to questions about the book, R111. Another one: in the book, did Blanche die on the beach, or was it left unclear like the movie?

by Anonymousreply 224June 29, 2022 9:43 PM

R223 the New York Times review said 'she might earn one's gentle compassion, but she is such a sweetly smiling fraud such an artlessly helpless ninny that one feels virtually nothing for her' 11-7-62

that review was quoted in Ryan Murphy's Feud

by Anonymousreply 225June 30, 2022 1:11 AM

Ouch! Yes, Blanche could have fought harder.

by Anonymousreply 226June 30, 2022 2:33 AM

[quote]in the book, did Blanche die on the beach, or was it left unclear like the movie?

Basically it's the same as the movie. No ice cream cone, however. In the book, Jane herself calls the police from a pay phone after Blanche tells her the truth about the crash. But by the time the cops get there, she is completely lost in her delusional state and cannot answer their questions as to Blanche's whereabouts.

"Miss Hudson… your sister!…"

All at once it all came back to her, in a whole and perfect memory, and it was as if she had finally managed to rouse herself from a deep and troubled sleep. She felt quite, quite wonderful and intensely alive. Turning, she looked about at the hundreds and hundreds of staring faces.

"… your sister is ill and helpless…"

Bowing deeply, holding her head at just the right angle, she straightened and picked up her skirts. Careful to arch her hands at the wrists, just as Daddy had shown her, she began, very prettily, to dance.

by Anonymousreply 227June 30, 2022 2:29 PM

The police should have followed the vultures and pigeons.

by Anonymousreply 228July 1, 2022 2:10 AM


by Anonymousreply 229July 1, 2022 2:17 AM

Yes. AT THE BEACH. Or the cops could have looked for the broad with the stiff falsies.

by Anonymousreply 230July 1, 2022 2:24 AM
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