What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Reviews

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August 22, 2015
This black comedy / psychological thriller is both riveting and frustrating at the same time. With good costuming, cinematography and solid performances all-round (Davis is outstanding), this is a classic drama. 1001
August 17, 2015
A classic. But a bit sad to see these two stars that way. But then, that's acting. And 'realism'.
July 19, 2015
Two great performances. One crazy sister.
July 5, 2015
inquientante y altamente extravagante. Una obra amestra
½ May 30, 2015
The cheap, tacky and perverse sister to Billy Wilder's masterful SUNSET BLVD. Robert Aldrich managed a truly historic feat of even getting these two iconic and open Hollywood enemies into one room much less convince them to do this movie. The making of this film is the stuff of legend. And it is important to note that at the time of its release this film was genuinely shocking to audiences who had never seen these highly respected movie stars presented in such a disturbing way. With time, this movie has become brilliantly campy entertainment. But the truly brave and brutal performance by Bette Davis is undeniably potent. Looking back, Bette Davis gave the most powerful performance of 1960. Joan Crawford's work is oddly out of place. Choosing to play it in her standard glam movie star way is without any level of realism. The mixing of not only these two incredibly charismatic actors and their widely different approaches to their craft actually serves to add a level of surrealism which is oddly effective. While most definitely a cult and campy ride of a movie, it power should never be underestimated. ...even if it was largely accidental.
April 15, 2015
Psychological thriller that snuck up on me. I've heard about it my whole like and just recently saw it. Great for its disturbing senses that created a new sub-genre called "Psycho Biddy", lol.
April 6, 2015
A camp classic that never gets old regardless of the number of viewings. Betty Davis and Joanne Crawford proved to be worthy of their billing and their real life dislike of each other just plays to the strength of the film.
½ March 2, 2015
Bettie Davis throughout the whole film nails her role as the psychotic sister.

Deliriously played on center stage; the life of two sisters who fame makes them sinister towards each other. We all know childhood fame can manufacture the most destructive celebs, Lindsey Lohan is every ones favorite example of child-star gone wrong. That's the premise to this film, Bette Davis's character was a child-superstar, with a huge fan-base her stage name was Baby Jane. It amazed me how quickly the film goes through the trivial back-story so quickly, so the film can let the main plot play out with a thriller type plot with horrific outcome. Neatly adapted screenplay from a novel I am sure is just as surprising and sinister as we watch two sister go through a story that shows close relation to Stephen King's Misery, as a envious and jealous sister who's child-star years have drifted like wreckage in the sea, takes out a built-up anger for her crippled sister, who's fame has had a more popular after-life; we watch shockingly as she pushes and torments her sister to death! Will she kill her? Will someone find out whats Baby Jane is doing. Only time will tell in this, psychotic-horror.

With a fine cast, this film needs no help, Opening quickly and to-point; although the ending could had a couple seconds longer, the movie heads into a dysfunctional and deadly relationship of two sister, ultimately leaving behind a frightening film about the essence of jealousy.
February 17, 2015
It is really a lot of funny to see two great actresses fight like this. It is creepy, but in a good way. Fun, popcorn movie!
January 11, 2013
Good black comedy...
December 29, 2014
Psychological thriller that snuck up on me. I've heard about it my whole like and just recently saw it. Great for its disturbing senses that created a new sub-genre called "Psycho Biddy", lol.
½ December 23, 2014
Great performances by several, with the most balanced of the characters being the *uppity colored woman* - groundbreaking at the time. And always a pleasure to see Victor Buono!
October 12, 2013
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is pretty damn macabre. Although Davis is frequently hilarious, she's mostly a nightmarish vision of sadistic cruelty. The scene where she cackles like a banshee, her clown face horribly contorted, after giving Blanche yet another "inedible" dinner certainly sticks out as one of the most disturbing and iconic images of the film. The increasing amount of control Jane exerts over her helpless sister as the film progresses is terrifying and as a viewer you feel really quite claustrophobic when Blanche has a full-blown panic attack in her room, wheeling around in tight circles like some caged animal. There are so many great moments where Davis really shines it would be impossible to discuss them all here: the scene where she sings one of her hits in front of the mirror in that creepy child's voice then steps under a bright light so that her decrepit face is revealed; the freaky way she mimics Blanche on the phone to get more alcohol delivered to the house; and those first few scenes, when Jane is a bit more "with it" (albeit with a cabinet full of empty scotch bottles), where we see that vintage Davis swagger and hear some of those caustic line deliveries (made all the more delicious, of course, by the fact that Davis and Crawford famously hated each other).

Knowing just how bitter the Davis/Crawford rivarly was makes What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? all the more disturbing, and hilarious. Davis apparently kicked Crawford in the head for real in one of the more violent scenes in the film, leaving her with several stitches. Meanwhile Crawford filled her dress with weights in a scene where Davis had to drag her off a bed, causing Davis to pull the muscles in her back. As far as I know both those takes were the ones used in the film so listen out for Davis groaning as she tries to lift an unconscious and extremely heavy Crawford down the hallway.

Despite Davis' brilliant performance, however, there are still a few things that let What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? down. I read a comment from someone on here recently saying that the direction is "lumpy" and "elephantine". I didn't really notice this on first viewing, probably because I was so in awe of the decaying Davis, but a second watch really brought it to the fore. In a way the melodramatic music and direction suit the histrionics of the film but there's no getting away from the fact that some elements are just poorly developed and badly thought out. There are several times, for example, when Blanche could have got help. The relationship between Edwin and Jane also felt confused and underdeveloped; he's too wooden and unnatural in his actions, and more could've been made of him being an Everyman looking in from the outside on Jane's insanity. As the film progresses, Edwin becomes more of a plot device than a character, used to advance and twist certain elements of the story. The sub-plot of him being a struggling musician who still lives with his mother is also pretty weak, and his relationship with his mother is not given enough attention to warrant it being included in the film. Overall a lot of the scenes with Edwin just felt like a needless distraction that took away from the morbidly fascinating relationship between Jane and Blanche.

It's mindboggling that Davis didn't win an Oscar for her role in this film. I haven't seen Dangerous or Jezebel yet (the two films for which she did win an Academy Award) but What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? will take some beating. Its legacy cannot be underestimated; it's spawned numerous clones and hundreds of spoofs over the years but nothing has come close to matching it's campy horror. With all the black humour, hysteria, outrageous make-up and diva antics (both in the film and on set) it's easy to see why it has become such a cult classic in drag culture. Davis' performance is still as fresh and razor sharp as it was in 1962 and, despite a few drawbacks with direction and plot, it deservedly remains a landmark in the psycho-thriller genre.
November 16, 2014
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford delivered the creepiest, grotesque performances of a lifetime dragging its audiences kicking and screaming down the murky depths of the rabbit hole and we loved them for it!
November 7, 2014
Brilliant film that evokes a sort of 1962 mash-up of Sunset Boulevard and Wait Until Dark. The acting, cinematography, and lighting is superb. I love this era in the early 60's when you had really crisp black and white films that were balanced between older and modern cinematic techniques.
½ September 30, 2014
This is a dark version of "Sunset Boulevard" with a towering performance from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford accompanied with a haunting soundtrack making the film a terrifying experience.
½ February 19, 2014
Es como Misery pero con hermanas pinches envidiosas. El giro final me encantó.
February 16, 2010
(First and only viewing - 11/14/2013)
July 26, 2014
My sister needs to see this... if she knows what's good for her. Bette Davis is sooooooooo creepy and weird and sad and annoying.
½ June 19, 2014
Suspenseful, tense, wonderfully acted and directed, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a truly pleasant surprise with absolutely astonishing Bette Davis in one of her best roles and terrific atmosphere. It is at times thrilling, at times freaky, but also sometimes moving (especially the ending) look at jealousy between the sisters with superb Crawford and Davis, but particularly Davis who steals the show with her phenomenal performance. It is an entirely engaging and undeservedly underrated film, the one which is not far behind Hitchcock's best works.
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