Film Review: ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ (1962)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

A hatred begins between two sisters in childhood when one of them (‘Baby’ Jane) becomes a precocious little brat of a childhood star and the other (Blanche) is neglected. The tables turn as they grow and whilst the childhood star’s fame dwindles, the other sister (Blanche) finds adult fame instead. In a fit of jealous rage, Jane runs Blanche over (‘an accident’) and cripples her sister.

Fast forward a few decades and the disabled Blanche is trapped by the controlling Jane who is slowly but surely going insane, and taking her maniacal rages out on her sister.

Joan Crawford is great in this as Blanche, really portraying the claustrophobia and sense of powerlessness of her imprisonment by her cruel and mad sister. But the really unique thing about this film is ‘Baby Jane’ herself, played in a wonderfully sinister and unhinged way by Bette Davis. She really is the most ghoulish and terrifyingly insane character, and is utterly unforgettable in the role.

Suspenseful direction, superb acting (which carries even more weight when you realise the real life offscreen feud between the 2 main leads) and gripping throughout.

4/5

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