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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

Anniversary Series

Monday, Oct. 30, 7:30 PM

Director: Robert Aldrich; Cast: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono; 132 min., NR (but creepy)
Released in 1962, WHTBJ came with a warning “be prepared for the macabre and the terrifying” and the rhyme “Sister, Sister oh so fair, why is there blood all over your hair.” 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 ’30s, 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 L.A. mansion. When Jane isn’t tormenting the helpless Blanche, she is plotting and planning her showbiz comeback. Convinced that her days are numbered if she remains in the house with her depilated 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 toward 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.

Trailer