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Entries in Bette Davis (53)

Monday
Apr102017

Feud: Bette and Joan "Hagsploitation" 

Previously on Feud: Bette and Joan 
1. "Pilot" 2. "The Other Woman" 3. "Mommie Dearest" 4. "More or Less" 5. "And the Winner Is" (Part 1) (Part 2)

By Spencer Coile  

Although initially centered on the drama that took place during the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Feud persists. As we enter into episode six, "Hagsploitation," both Bette and Joan have no bona fide hits on the horizon. Sure, Joan is tackling Strait Jacket and Bette has her hands full on TV (much to Joan's judgement) on Wagon Train, but in 1964, the success of Baby Jane has waned. In fact, in a scene that features vase throwing and Mamacita standing her ground, Joan laments that it had been nine months since any offer came her way. Clearly, as the title suggests, there is something more pervasive and sinister that happens in Hollywood, far more dastardly than the actual feud that persists between Bette and Joan: the exploitation of older actresses for the benefit of their audience... 

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Monday
Apr102017

The Furniture: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Your House Is Listening

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in much more magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

 “Hush hush, sweet Charlotte,” Patti Page softly croons, “He’ll love you till he dies.” The title song of Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte may not be as catchy as “Chim Chim Chiree,” which took the Oscar, but it has a much creepier sort of staying power. Here’s the final verse:

“And every night after he shall die
Yes every night when he’s gone
The wind will sing you this lullaby
Sweet Charlotte was loved by John.”

The music haunts Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis), along with everything else: her house, her family and her memories.

This Southern Gothic vibe is what separates the film from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Well, that and the fact that Joan Crawford walked off the set. But I will leave the offscreen drama to Ryan Murphy...

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Monday
Apr102017

Beauty vs Beast: Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" contest  - the older I get the more amateurish and obvious it feels to call F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby, which was published on this day in 1925, my favorite book... but then I go read the book again and it lifts me up and swirls me around wildly for 180 brief pages and drops me off along those boats beating against the current, and I'm reconvinced it remains the Great American Novel. So I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone - alongside me stand whole swaths of movie-makers who keep trying to turn it into The Great American Movie, time and time again, to wildly varying degrees of success.

So today let's focus in on the two highest profile adaptations - Jack Clayton's 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and Baz Luhrmann's 2013 jazzy flick with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. And because we're all good and proper actressexuals here at The Film Experience let's head down to the end of the dock and stare at the green light across the bay to dream of the ladies alone. (Since they're both playing the same character I'm going to skip the PROS & CONS this time around since we're judging them by their performances.)

PREVIOUSLY Last week we sent a letter to daddy telling him how much we love What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, and specifically Baby Jane herself, since y'all gave Bette Davis' performance a full 75% of your votes. (But don't worry about Joan Crawford - she just showed up at my house to accept the award in Bette's honor.) Said Jones:

"Bette as Baby Jane is a master act with continuous high-wire moments that never feel absurd or over the top. Her acting shines masterfully when she reveals the broken soul within through tender shifts in her facial expression or voice intonation. The last few minutes are particularly heart-breaking and makes you feel for her. Joan is amazing, but I'm team Baby Jane unflinchingly."

Friday
Apr072017

Feud: Bette and Joan "And the Winner Is" (Part 2) 

Previously... And the Winner Is (Pt 1)

-Wait up for me boys. Tonight I'm bringing you home a baby brother.

by Nathaniel R

Picking up where we left off... and, to quote, Mamacita (the delightfully dry Jackie Hoffman) "pick up the pace, it's Oscar day!"

In the second half of Feud's best episode, after watching Joan & Hedda swaying voters away from Bette Davis and arranging for Joan to both present (Best Director) and accept (Best Actress should Bancroft or Page win), it's time for Oscar night. A whole army of hair and makeup people swam Chez Crawford...

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Wednesday
Apr052017

Feud: Bette and Joan "And the Winner Is" (Part 1) 

Previously on Feud: Bette and Joan
1 "Pilot" 2 "The Other Woman"  3 "Mommie Dearest"  4 "More or Less

-Do you have any comment on your co-star Joan Crawford being snubbed?

-Define "snub"! 

by Nathaniel R

If you had told me at any point before Feud: Bette and Joan was announced to the world that there would one day be a TV show that spent a full hour recreating the drama of a single Oscar night, I would never have believed you. If that imaginative hurtle was cleared I would then preemptively call it the single greatest TV hour in the history of television. But here we are with Feud and the reality is, if not the fantasy, still the best hour of Feud as a series. The concept of the series has so far outpaced the reality of it that it's lapped by several times already. Which is to say that if you've been reading along you know that I don't love the show. So I'll turn over the finale 3 episodes to team members who are maybe enjoying it a bit more (with one last Feud-related post from me after the season has wrapped). Still, I can't not review this Oscar-themed episode.  "And the Winner Is..." was entirely riveting even though all Oscar buffs had spoiler alerts in their DNA!

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Monday
Apr032017

Beauty vs Beast: Grande Dame Guignol

Jason from MNPP here with a new edition of "Beauty vs Beast" that was so obvious, so "sitting right there and staring me dead in the eyes," that I couldn't believe I hadn't done it already and had to do three searches just to make sure. But no, it's true, we have somehow never used What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? for this series. Perhaps our minds had blocked it off until Ryan Murphy's Feud became a reality? Well much like Emmy nominations for Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, its moment has come. Of course now it might be tougher than ever to sort through all the extraneous on-set shenanigans to get to the ladies behind the ladies - the Blanche and the Baby Jane behind the Bette and the Joan. It's always about billing, you know. But let's try.

PREVIOUSLY The now classic rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding is celebrating its 20th very soon and you can tell the movie still works because it still has the ability to divide our sympathies among its two extremely charming leading ladies - while the numbers went back and forth over the course of the week in the end it was the pretty woman in the lead who walked away with just over 53% of your vote. Said brookesboy:

"This is one of Julia's best performances. The way she combines ruthlessness with charisma is unique. You realize how awful she is all along, but you still can't help relating to her. That's a pretty nifty trick. And this is a comedy that's actually kind of a tragedy. I hate myself, but I'm Team Jules. GAWD!"

Saturday
Mar112017

Feud: Bette and Joan. "Pilot"

by Nathaniel R

The title sequence for Feud, really couldn't be better. The Saul Bass inspired graphics cut-outs act out both the iconic beats in hagsploitation classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) and Joan Crawford and Bette Davis's own rivalry as stars while alluding to their embattled natures (the hearts as tears is a particular fine move) within Hollywood where both had been wildly successful but not without their backs up and claws out, as it were.

When the action kicks off in Feud though we're in 1961 and both were now "has been" at least in terms of A list leading lady roles at 55 (Crawford) and 53 (Davis). Feud: Bette and Joan casts much older actresses to play them with Jessica Lange (67) and Susan Sarandon (70) which is maybe the most unintentionally positive takeaway of the show; it takes much longer to be considered "old" in Hollywood now!

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