Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
A former child star (Bette Davis) takes care of her bedridden sister (Joan Crawford) only to abuse her, and possibly drive her to her death.
Many of you might be watching a show called Feud: Bette and Joan. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is the finished product that Ryan Murphy’s show is talking about, so it’s really recommended as a companion piece to your Feud watching. On its own merits, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a camp classic that’s gleefully insane and fun. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, infamously, hated each other and you can see it in every frame. Just look at the way Davis rolls her eyes when talking to Crawford’s Blanche; the hate is real.
Director by Robert Aldridge, there’s a poignant sadness within the Grand Guignol mix of horror and melodrama. Crawford and Davis were hoping this would be a new lease on their careers. Though they did see themselves making more movies after this, Baby Jane typecast them as “psycho biddies.” The film did a lot for other actresses, though, implementing a genre of film known as “hagsploitation.” Some other titles to check out: this film’s sequel, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964), Straitjacket (1964) and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo (1972).
Next: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory