What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

USA 1962. Dir: Robert Aldrich. 133 min. DCP

Kiss Me Deadly director Robert Aldrich helmed this marvellously macabre set-in-Hollywood gothic melodrama, recently the subject of the FX cable series Feud: Bette and Joan (with Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon). Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are, respectively, Baby Jane Hudson and her sister Blanche, aging actresses holed up in a crumbling Hollywood mansion. Jane was a vaudeville star in childhood; Blanche eclipsed her in adulthood to become a Hollywood goddess. Jane is now unhinged; Blanche is now confined to a wheelchair — and at the mercy of her sister’s sadistic streak. Originally conceived as a B-movie chiller that might capitalize on the success of Hitchcock’s Psycho and revive the sagging careers of A-listers (and real-life rivals) Davis and Crawford, the film became an unexpected box-office hit, was nominated for five Oscars, and has become an enduring cult classic of psychological horror — and high camp!

 

REVIEWS

"One of the most fascinating and unusual cinema items ... A lurid melodrama of hate, revenge, and murder."

Hollywood Reporter | full review

★★★★ "One of Hollywood's best gothic grotesqueries."

Roger Ebert | full review