What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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 by serving her dead rats for breakfast, she is plotting and planning her showbiz 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 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. Lukas Heller's screenplay was based on the novel by Henry Farrell.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Cult Movies , Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Bros. Pictures

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Cast

Bette Davis
as Baby Jane Hudson
Joan Crawford
as Blanche Hudson
Victor Buono
as Edwin Flagg
Anna Lee
as Mrs. Bates
Maide Norman
as Elvira Stitt
Marjorie Bennett
as Mrs. Della Flagg
B.D. Merrill
as Liza Bates
Dave Willock
as Ray Hudson
Anne Barton
as Cora Hudson
Barbara D. Merrill
as Liza Bates
Julie Allred
as Young Jane
Gina Gillespie
as Blanche as a Child
Bert Freed
as Producer
Wesley Addy
as Director
Debbie Burton
as [singing]
William Aldrich
as Lunch Counter Assistant
Ernest Anderson
as Ice Cream Vendor
Don Ross
as Police Officer #1
Russ Conway
as Police Officer
James Seay
as Police Officer
Maxine Cooper
as Bank Teller
John Shay
as Police Officer #3
Robert Cornthwaite
as Dr. Shelby
Jon Shepodd
as Police Officer #4
Michael Fox
as Beach Motorcycle Cop
Peter Virgo Jr.
as Police Officer #5
Bobs Watson
as Newspaper Clerk
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News & Interviews for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Critic Reviews for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (4)

Aldrich's direction and dynamite performances from the two old troupers make this film an experience.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The chain of circumstances grows, violence creating violence. Once the inept, draggy start is passed, the film's pace builds with ever-growing force.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

The Grand Guignol elements themselves are relatively forced and unconvincing.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There is nothing particularly moving or significant about these two.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Gorgeously atmospheric in both the visuals and the soundtrack, and it's a marathon of high-impact Grand Dame acting.

Full Review… | August 2, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

[A] frightening, darkly comic picture ...

Full Review… | December 15, 2012
Observer (UK)

Audience Reviews for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

½

Davis and Crawford embrace their roles with tremendous intensity, delivering two spectacular performances like horror queens in a campy, bizarre story and making this a hilarious psychological thriller that is really entertaining as far as classic exploitation goes.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Spurred by jealousy and guilt, a former child star tortures her wheelchair-bound sister as she tries to make a comeback. Torture-porn and the obvious precursor to Misery, this film features fantastic performances by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, each screen legends in her own right. Davis gets the meatier of the two parts, and her performance is courageous and ugly, showing Davis's talent as an actress, not just a movie star. There's something sickening about this film. The plot requires sympathy for the tortured Blanche, but in order for the story to advance, we also need to see the extremity of her situation increase. Putting us in this strange position, the film also tries to get us inside Jane's self-delusions. The sum result is a plotline that's both complex and difficult to stomach. Overall, this is a fine thriller, propelled by two great leading actresses.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

I just saw this again and zowie, is Bette Davis hot! Very nearly a companion piece to Sunset Boulevard and another sizzling commentary on the price of fame. The seconds in the cast do as well as the primaries, too, altho the twist at the finale is weak.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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