Last night I went over to visit an old friend at her parent's house for dinner and a movie. One of the interesting things about growing up in Los Angeles is that sometimes the guy who used to drive you home from swim practice is a card-carrying SAG member. (I think). Lisa's parents are Bob and Marsha, industry people, or at least, they were before they had kids. This family takes movies very seriously. I have to give them a lot of credit for piquing my interest in old movies at such a young age. Anyway, last night we watched What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Lisa's been trying to find a horror movie that scares me for years and if she can't scare me, she at least wants me to be disturbed. Unfortunately she is destined to fail because I have read Geek Love in it's entirety and I thought it was awesome.
|the most disturbing movie poster I could find.|
The most disturbing thing about this film is Bette Davis' face/costumes/hairstyle/cackle/singing/heart-shaped-mole/overall performance. She is absolutely brilliant. Joan Crawford is good too, but her role as Blanche Hudson is such a subtle character that she is effectively upstaged by Baby Jane.
This movie is pretty famous so I don't think I need to do a synopsis. Jane Hudson was a child star while her sister Blanche was a big fat nobody, but then later, Blanche Hudson was a glamorous movie star while her sister Jane was a washed-up, alcoholic, has-been. There was a mysterious car accident...and then in the "present", 1962, the sisters are living in a dilapidated old mansion. Blanche is a paraplegic recluse and Jane is still an alcoholic has-been. A local TV station has started showing all the old Blanche Hudson movies, generating some fan mail which makes sister Jane jealous, which triggers a series of psychotic episodes. There. That's all you need to know.
If you get a chance, pay attention to the character's shoes in the movie or any Joan Crawford movie for that matter. She must have had a shoe clause in her contract that provided amazing shoes for the cast. It's prevalent in Mildred Pierce where everyone is wearing gorgeous shoes, including Butterfly McQueen who plays a maid teetering around in nose-bleeder stilettos. Obviously JC couldn't wear shoes in this movie since she plays a cripple, but everyone else got to show off a nice pair. (I apologize for this tangent, but the internet being what it is, maybe somebody else noticed it. Or else, I just have a simmering shoe fetish and it's a really good thing that I don't use credit cards.)
|Did you know Miss Jane has been going through your mail and throwing it in the trash?|
|Sorry Blanche, but your pet parakeet flew away.|
|lol j/k I cooked it for your lunch|
|and I've decided to revive my old vaudeville act. I've always looked great in giant hair bows.|
|uh-oh. I forgot to feed my sister and she's dying. "let's go to the beach and make sand castles before you die, k?"|
Baby Jane is 133 minutes of exquisite gothic horror with a pretty awesome twist at the end. It's also a black comedy with a lot of train-wreck-appeal. If you haven't seen it, go see it now. If you have, share your thoughts in the comments section.