What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?Director: Robert Aldrich, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
As a child, "Baby Jane" Hudson was the toast of vaudeville. As an adult, however, Baby Jane was overshadowed by her more talented sister Blanche, who became a top movie star. Then, one night in the early 1930s, came The Accident, which crippled Blanche for life and which was blamed on a drunken, jealous Jane. Flash-forward to 1962: Jane (Bette Davis), decked out in garish chalk-white makeup, still lives with the invalid Blanche (Joan Crawford) in their decaying LA mansion. When Jane isn't tormenting the helpless Blanche by serving her dead rats for breakfast, she is plotting and planning her show-biz comeback. Convinced that her days are numbered if she remains in the house with her addlepated sister, Blanche desperately tries to get away, but all avenues of escape are cut off by the deranged Jane. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? sparked a trend towards casting venerable Hollywood female stars in such grotesque grand guignol melodramas as Lady in a Cage (1964) and Hush ... Hush Sweet Charlotte (1965). In addition to revitalizing the careers of Davis and Crawford, whose real-life mutual animosity came through loud and clear, the film made a star of sorts of 24-year-old character actor Victor Buono, cast as a porcine mama's-boy musical composer. Lukas Heller's screenplay was based on the novel by Henry Farrell.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Home Video
Cast & Crew
|Bette Davis||Jane Hudson|
|Joan Crawford||Blanche Hudson|
|Victor Buono||Edwin Flagg|
|Marjorie Bennett||Mrs. Della Flagg|
|Anna Lee||Mrs. Bates|
|Maide Norman||Elvira Stitt|
|B.D. Merrill||Liza Bates|
|Julie Allred||Baby Jane Hudson|
|Gina Gillespie||Blanche (younger)|
|Dave Willock||Ray Hudson|
|Anne Barton||Cora Hudson|
|Robert Cornthwaite||Dr. Shelby|
|Tom Connors||Asst. Director|
|Frank deVol||Score Composer|
|William Glasgow||Art Director|
|Kenneth Hyman||Executive Producer|
|Norma Koch||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|George Sawley||Set Decoration/Design|
|Don Steward||Special Effects|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is an absolutely brilliant film! I remember viewing this film many7 many years ago at the age of 5 and being terribly horrified. The two leading ladies Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had a scream of a career in Hollywood and definitely leave to shame, today's actors and actresses. The film centres on the realities of dying performers and how difficult they find it , to relate to wider society. Baby Jane was a success as a child star but then her sister Blanche took the realm in her early twenties. This is a must see film!!!
In this movie she is just amazing to watch. In Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte and every film she plays in you know you are going to get the (Best Acting) there is and when you leave the theater you will say (DAM) she is a great actress!!!
This movie is a classic! It's a real awesome movie, Bette Davis made a great alcoholic and the way she tortured Joan Crawford! A definite must see...These two ladies together were totally awesome...
In all their years as the queens of Hollywood, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had never worked together in a film. Then, in 1962, producer-director Robert Aldrich gave them that opportunity. Davis and Crawford teamed for "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" But instead of providing them with a fitting swan song, it rather redirected the careers of these two indomitable film stars. The film is to the Sixties what Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) was to the Fifties: a Grand Guignol horror melodrama about Hollywood of the past and present. Lukas Heller's script was based on a novel by Henry Farrell. The dark, unsettling tale concerns 'Baby Jane' Hudson (Davis), a vaudeville child star circa 1917 who completely overshadows her dark-haired, brooding sister Blanche (Crawford). By 1935, the sisters' roles have reversed Blanche has become a top movie star, while Jane, her childhood charms vanished, gets film jobs only because of her sister's power. Jane is consumed with jealously, then devastated by guilt when she blames herself for a car wreck that leaves Blanche permanently crippled. The story then jumps to 1962. The aging Hudson sisters are now mutually dependent upon each other. Most of the action takes place in their decrepit house where the wheelchair-bound Blanche is tormented by Jane, who brings her dinner platters full of 'surprises'. The hostility grows from the earlier occurrence: the "accident" which left Blanche in a wheelchair grew directly out of Jane's obsession that Blanche's stardom in motion pictures overshadowed Jane's own fame in vaudeville. Producer-director Aldrich had been turned down by all the major studios when he peddled the Baby Jane property around Hollywood, so he made the low-budget movie independently. The film was shot twenty-one days on a budget of less than a million dollars, and director Aldrich made sure that, for publicity purposes, noted interviewers covered every single one of them. Warner Brothers finally agreed to distribute it after the press began to get excited about the casting. The New York Times had headlined: TNT POTENTIAL EXPLOSION SEEN IN PAIRING OF BETTE DAVIS AND JOAN CRAWFORD. When the film opened on Halloween in 1962, movie studio heads that had rejected the property were kicking themselves when the film turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the year, making a fortune overnight (the first Hollywood film to recoup its cost in one weekend). Time Magazine called it "the year's scariest and most sophisticated thriller" and it was nominated for five Academy Awards including Bette Davis as Best Actress and Victor Buono as Best Supporting Actor in the role of Jane's pianist/suitor Edwin Flagg. At AFI's recent tribute to the Top 100 Thriller Movies of All Time, director Steven Spielberg called "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" his favorite 'Haunted House' movie the Hudson mansion acting as the haunted house and Baby Jane Hudson as the 'ghost' who haunts it. [filmfactsman]