Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? [DVD]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
An edge-of-the-seat thriller playing on the fears of helplessness and lost youth. Truely gripping throughout.
Bette Davis gives a cracking performance as the once famous "Baby Jane" with Joan Crawford playing the vulnerable weaker sibling. The two are matched perfectly for such an entertaining story.
The extras on this DVD fill in the background of the two stars' career in Hollywood, which is really informative. The commentary, though informative about aspects of the film, is a tad rambling. The documentary about Crawford and Davis could have been much improved by better editing. Why cut from one talking-head to another so quickly? Why cut from one film clip to another after just a few seconds? At one point my head began to spin.
However, the film itself is well worth watching again as a true classic!
I was worried when the UK bluray arrived because it doesn't say "Anniversary edition" on its cover like it does on the Amazon picture, and it doesn't list extras on the back cover.
However, this is the same set as the US bluray release (restored 1080p HD picture and audio, commentary, behind the scenes documentary, Bette Davis documentary etc). The only difference is that its in a standard keepcase instead of digibook packing.
Bette's singing scene on Tv with Andy Williams is a hoot! it shows Bette was gutsy enough to try anything!...
The film isn't perfect though. As some critics have stated, it only has enough plot for half of the film. The first half is superior, while the second runs out of steam and sadly drifts off. Some parts are also slightly predictable.
Even with this, the film is indeed a horror classic featuring two excellent, engaging performances. As stated in the title, see this film if you liked "Misery" and/or "Sunset Boulevard"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my all time favourites. A lot of people my age dismiss black & white movies (I usually do too) but this film is exceptional. Bette Davis' descent into madness is brilliant.Published 2 months ago by Jade king
Timeless classic even in black and white. Brilliant performances by two incredible actresses who really personify resentment between siblings. A must rainy afternoon couch watch !Published 2 months ago by Pamela L. Clayton
Not bad for an old movie. Would have preferred a more "final" ending but i would still recommend.Published 2 months ago by ste