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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on October 21, 2012

“You mean… all this time we could have been friends?”

I feel bad for doing some lazy reviews lately, but it’s pretty late and I’m pretty tired, and I’ve already expressed my love for this marvelous movie.  Davis is going for broke here, going as zany as she can, crafting an unforgettable performance.  It’s so delightful, camp and self-aware yet not suffering the least for it.  She gives some hilarious deliveries.  Crawford is no slouch either, of course, but how can you not be upstaged by Baby Jane Hudson?  I also love Victor Buono in this, a fine and funny character actor.  I need to track down more of his stuff, and I think I’ll start with The Strangler.

Ernest Haller was Bette’s favorite cinematographer, and after making her look gorgeous for decades, here he gets to make her look grotesque and demented.  Beautiful gothic look to this film.  Great score, too, slyly working in that dreadful “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” tune at opportune moments.  The movie is long, but remains consistently riveting, an endlessly fascinating and entertaining portrait of sibling rivalry, Hollywood failure, and psychological torment.  And such a wonderful reveal at the end, putting the character dynamics in a new light.  Minor plotting flaws aside, it’s a hell of a picture.  It didn’t make my top 100 this year because I was waiting for the Blu-Ray before doing a rewatch.  It may very well make the next revision, though.  Rating: Masterpiece (95)


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