Today’s Classic Review is about two icons from The Golden Age Of Hollywood starring in a film called “What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?”
Released in 1962, (same year Tom Cruise was born & Lawrence Of Arabia came out) the film was a critical and commercial success. Earning five Academy Award nominations including Best Actress for Bette Davis.
Decades later, Showrunner, Ryan Murphy, (American Horror Story, American Crime Story) developed a Television series for FX called “Feud,” which focuses on Hollywood culture. Season 1 involves behind the scenes drama on the making of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane and the on set rivalry between Bette Davis & Joan Crawford.
With The 69th Emmy Awards airing soon, Feud is selected as a nominee for several awards. I wanted to spread the word of mouth for my fellow movie goers to prepare for the upcoming ceremony.
The following article contains SPOILERS. Read at your very own risk if you haven’t seen it yet. The reason why its not a non-spoiler article is because of the various cons. If you’re a movie buff, don’t start a riot on me, this is all just my real thoughts about this movie.
Pretty & Ugly Elements
Pretty: The only decent performance I liked was Joan Crawford’s role as Blanche.
At first, the backstory between the sisters felt strong. As the movie progresses, it all went downhill.
Bette Davis herself actually applied Prosthetic Makeup for her appearance as Jane. An aging womanchild who’s no longer relevant as she was as a kid.
Actual archive footage of Bette Davis & Joan Crawford’s films, are used for their characters’ careers as adult actresses.
Cinematography didn’t suffer from Shaky Cam.
One Hundred Percent depiction on what happens if former child stars who were once in the limelight, are easily forgotten without attempting to reinvent himself/herself as an A-Lister like Jodie Foster. If they take a wrong path similar to Lindsay Lohan, the actor/actress will no longer be in his/her prime.
The Ending with Blanche telling Jane the truth about how she became a paraplegic in the first place. Turns out Blanche is the one who orchestrated the plan to get Jane drunk by making it look like Jane made an accident.
Ugly: When I was watching Feud, the marketing for the film labeled it as a “Horror Picture.” I don’t consider this as a full fledged Horror movie, whenever I think of something Horror related, I think of icons such as Michael Myers, (from Halloween) Jason Voorhees, (Friday The 13th) Freddy Krueger, (Nightmare On Elm St.) or Chucky. (from Child’s Play) Those are legit baddies, not Jane.
Bette Davis’ performance is laughably ridiculous. I couldn’t handle her acting in this film. How on Earth was she nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress? I’m a little puzzled on why Jane Hudson is one of the best cinematic villains in history. I never felt intimidated by her presence, I was laughing at her antics.
A Plot Hole involving Blanche has got to be one of the most incompetent characters in cinematic history, she tosses a letter to a neighbor next door to seek help from her insane sister, instead of crawling her way to the telephone. This broke my Suspension Of Disbelief. If I were her, I would’ve immediately crawled my way through the phone.
There were no scary moments throughout the movie. I didn’t feel a tingly feeling inside my spine. The Scare Factor felt weak, lacking intensity yet numb like feet falling asleep.
An upbeat pop tune plays in the background with Blanche desperately writing a letter. I know ironic music needs to be played carefully, but this one just didn’t work out so well for me. Imagine if a Miley Cyrus song like “Party In The U.S.A.” playing in the background for the movie Logan with the title character fighting his way though the forest?
The Final Verdict: C-
My real thought about this movie is in fact a disappointment. At first I was expecting to get my scare off, after viewing this “masterpiece,” I felt underwhelmed. If you watched Feud, give this one a try to get ready for The Emmy Awards. To this day, I really don’t understand why Whatever Happened To Baby Jane is labeled as one of the best horror films of all time. I find it very puzzling.