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Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Blackly comic psychodrama from director Robert Altman starring screen legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Jane Hudson (Davis) found fame as child star 'Baby Jane', only to be eclipsed by her sister Blanche (Crawford) when the latter became a Hollywood glamour girl in the 1930s. Blanche's career was brought to an abrupt end by an accident for which Jane was seemingly responsible. Now the two ageing sisters live together in their Hollywood mansion, attended by their maid, Elvira (Maidie Norman). When Jane discovers that Blanche is planning to sell their home and have her put away, she begins a campaign of terror against her wheelchair-bound sibling. Old rivals Davis and Crawford allegedly continued their on-screen conflict after the cameras stopped rolling - Davis kicked Crawford in the head during the recording of one scene, and Crawford retaliated by placing lead weights beneath her skirts for a sequence where Davis was required to drag her across the floor.
A cultish horror favourite, 1962's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? will make you think twice before hungrily unveiling a covered plate of food. Bette Davis stars as Jane Hudson, a onetime child actress and singer. As an elderly woman, she wishes to revive her vaudevillian career, but she has become a grotesque caricature of her former self. Over the years as her star faded, the star of her older sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) rose, outshining the career of the has-been Baby Jane. Jane was relegated to minor roles, which she only won when Blanche demanded that she be awarded them. The film opens years after a calamitous car accident leaves Blanche in a wheelchair, with no one to care for her except the increasingly insane and sadistic Jane and their servant, Norman. Trying to punish Blanche for her years of success, Jane tortures the house-bound woman, slowly trying to starve her to death, all the while attempting to recapture the fame of her youth. This dark drama also stars Victor Buono as the hefty pianist who answers Jane's ad for an accompanist, hoping to milk some money off the demented old woman. Both Buono and Davis were nominated for Oscars for their roles in this suspenseful and somewhat sick thriller that exploited well the real-life antagonism between Davis and Crawford, while at the same time rejuvenating both their careers. --Jenny Brown
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Murder and attempted murder, filial envy, old age and alcoholism. Just some of the main players here. Also striking is another couple, a British pair of mother and fat piano playing son. Four people who can not live with strangers. Is it money that binds them? Or fear? Maybe some kind of twisted love. Melodrama indeed. But sane balance is provided by another couple, the mother and daughter neighbours commenting yet oblivious to the horror next door.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? May well have been a last goodbye to the movies. Douglas Sirk's all colour modern dramas had reigned the 1950s displaying the American way for a post-war world. But this black and white movie is a history text. At one point the word `yesterday' comes up on screen. 1962, this is how it is.
I drooled over the way the camera moves. The collection of fully filled shots showing not telling the story. So many memorable angles. Angles lost to the television viewer. Robert Aldrich does not let the two leading ladies steal his movie. Bette Davis has the more interesting part to play. But never was the part of surly servant more surly played. From the bottom of the bottle.
I much prefer Sunset Boulevard  as a movie in similar territory. But I do recommend Baby Jane. Was a solid silver food tray ever a better metaphor for empty richness?
Looking better than ever, glorious blacks, whites and greys and in a pristine condition with a clear crisp soundtrack.
The disc is loaded with extras too.
This is a true film classic that should be in every film buffs blu ray library.
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