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Entries in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (11)

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."

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!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan182017

46 Days Until "Feud"

first promotional shot from FEUD

The new Ryan Murphy anthology TV series' first eight-episode season, premieres on Sunday March 5th (yes exactly one week after the Oscars which seems very kind). The season looks at the legendarily bitchy Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) vs Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) wars. Two Oscar winners playing two Oscar winners. We're in!

We don't want to know too much ahead of time as that ruins so many TV shows and movies these days but it would be nice to have a leaked list of films referenced beyond Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) so we could do a little revisiting of some key titles before the premiere, though it seems likely that the series will also cover the production of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) given the character list in the credits. Jessica Lange doesn't look or feel much like Joan Crawford in face or persona which could be a problem but Sarandon might well be the perfect choice for Davis. Alfred Molina is playing the director Robert Aldrich and Kiernan Shipka will play Bette Davis daughter B.D. Hyman. Other celebrity mimicry going on will include Sarah Paulson as Oscar-winner Geraldine Page, Catherine Zeta Jones as Oscar-winner Olivia de Havilland, Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell, Judy Davis as the oft-played gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren recently played her in Trumbo and Tilda Swinton played a twinned riff on her in Hail Caesar!), and multiple non-famous actors playing various Oscar winners (Gregory Peck, Eva Marie Saint, Maximillian Schell) in single episode showcases and/or cameos... who knows.

QUICK POLL
The image above most makes you want to...

🔲  Watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? again for the umpteenth time
🔲  Give in to the impending T***pocalypse and regress to childhood fantasies with ice cream in hand...
🔲  Find a time machine and skip the next 45 days.
🔲  Other [please describe] 

Saturday
May072016

The Mother of all Feuds

a must readAs you've surely heard by now, since it's one of the most striking actressy announcements in some time, Ryan Murphy's next anthology series will be called "Feud" and for its first season the subject is the über showbiz catfight: Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford. Bette & Joan's famous loathing for each other was not confined to just the horror classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) but the series will be confined there since that set is the natural place to dramatize. It was the only film the two combative actresses made together. After the success of Baby JaneHush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) was intended as a reunion but ultimately Olivia de Havilland (who had her own legendary feud with sister Joan Fontaine) took Crawford's place.

Since Ryan Murphy can't live without Jessica Lange he's cast her as Joan Crawford. It's a terrible call because their screen personas are antithetical...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr232016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, now playing, promises a “new” fairy tale. That’s true only if you’re willing to stretch the definition of the word. This “new” and awkwardly titled picture is both prequel and sequel to Snow White with some Frozen fan fiction in the middle. It begins long before the events of the revisionist Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and eventually skips ahead to pick up where the last movie left off. In case you’ve forgotten your blockbuster history — spoiler alert! — Snow White and her Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) triumphed at the end by killing the true twin stars of the picture: Queen Ravenna and Her Oscar Nominated Costumes (a.k.a. former Oscar winners Charlize Theron & Colleen Atwood).

Dead though Ravenna was, when there is money to be made in franchise resurrection, nobody stays buried. In the new film we learn that the royal witch came to power alongside her kind loving sister Freya (Emily Blunt). After an unspeakable tragedy, though, Freya also became evil. Ravenna had that Magic Mirror to inspire her wickedness but Freya opts for a worn Blu-ray of Frozen as unholy talisman...

Click to read more ...