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Friday, April 29, 2016

Video Beaverhausen Looks Into What Ever Happened to Baby Jane!

I first saw Baby Jane when I was 10, in the US Theater in my hometown of Paterson, NJ. My grandmother took me. After all, it was she who weened me on Joan and Bette films on our tv.

I adored this psychodrama. But, afterwards, my grandmother sighed and said, "They used to be so beautiful."

Nonetheless, my mother and her brother, my uncle Pat, loved this Robert Aldrich-directed suspense-cum-horror flick. They laughed and gasped throughout. My uncle taught me how to do a mean impersonation of Bette as Jane.

The film has, over the years, become a classic though, at the time, it received mixed reviews but was a box-office success that sparked an entire genre of aging studio screen goddesses in Grand Guignol-type movies.

This movie has been imitated and parodied throughout the decades but seems better as it ages, like a fine way.

It's said that Bette weeped through rushes when she saw her appearance on-screen. Yet it was she who fearlessly insisted that Jane rarely washed her face and just put on more make-up.

Oddly, it was only women who were relegated to this type of Gothic "hag" melodrama while men their age went on to be handsome leads in comedies and romances,

The script was written by Lukas Heller based on Henry Farrell's novella.

Great supporting cast here headed by Maidie Norman and Victor Buono.

Davis' and Crawford's rivalry was infamous and is gossiped about until this day. So is much of the film's dialogue which has taken on a life of its own. Crawford knew how to steal scenes by rolling her eyes, a technique she learned from starting in movies.

Joan was scheduled to play the role of Cousin Miriam in Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Aldrich's follow-up. She got fired due to growing animosities with her co-star Bette and Aldrich, her director, and replaced by Olivia de Havilland.

Baby Jane is eternal. I'm sure you've all seen it. Novices be prepared. Every gay man must learn the dialogue and be able to repeat it on a moment's notice.


1 comment:

  1. I think you've coined a great new phrase: hag melodrama!