WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?: 4 STARS
16/January/2012 10:19 AM Filed in: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” is likely the film that brought to life the image of the poor tormented former child star, living their years out of the spotlight as troubled, demented messes.
Bette Davis plays Baby Jane, a vaudeville star whose best days are far behind her. In her day she had a line of dolls named after her, now she lives in a rambling old house with her sister Blanche (Crawford). Time has not been kind to either of them. Forgotten, Baby Jane lives in a fantasy world, Blanche is trapped in a wheelchair, the result of a brutal car accident that cut her successful acting career short.
Living in isolation they are prisoners in their Hollywood mansion, afraid of the outside world and one another.
A slow burn, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” takes a while to get going, but once this tale of sibling rivalry (touched by the ravages of former fame) begins to escalate it’s a great deal of fun.
Davis hungrily chews the scenery—the film’s most famous line, “But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair! is delivered with untamed gusto—in a performance that contrasts nicely with Crawford’s understated work.
Creepy, campy and chilling, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” is this week’s essential film.