Feisty director Robert Aldrich paired up two of Hollywood’s greatest ice queens, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, a campy, gothic exercise in psychological terror. The public status of both actresses was in severe decline in real life, lending their characters an added element of eerie realism. The duo’s hostility is palpable, and their reported on-set animosity only fuels the picture’s shock value. As the crippled former star, Crawford basically plays it straight; it is Davis’ scenery chewing that makes the picture worth seeing. Her demented, Academy Award-nominated performance is unforgettably courageous. Aldrich handles the eccentric material well, mixing the creepy with the humorous for an overall peculiar tone. Though Baby Jane has become a cult classic, it is still a skillfully made, well-performed nail-biter.
1962,colour, 132 minutes