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Monday, December 5, 2011

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

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. 

And so...
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. 


  1. Baby Jane Hudson what a name that is drilled into my head. I first watched this classic gothic hoot of a flick when I was 10 that was 40 ago....Bette Davis playing against Joan Crawford they despised each over so playing old jealous sisters with one crippled in a chair well....bring in the scotch and one twisted sister and you have a classic with a TWIST !!

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