Now here’s a real classic must see for anyone who likes Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and a real twisted plot!
Bette Davis plays baby Jane Hudson who was a successful child actor in the days of vaudeville. (If you don’t know what that is, google it) it was before motion pictures. Joan Crawford plays her sister Blanche Hudson who when she was a child sat on the sidelines and watched Jane reap all the rewards of stardom. Jane was a nasty, spoiled little girl, mostly by her father and who’s mother didn’t say much about it except to ask Blanche to be nice to her sister and that one day Blanche would be the star and Jane would be sitting on the sidelines and thats exactly what happens.
Years later, Mom and Daddy have both passed away. Blanche Hudson becomes a huge Hollywood star making movies while Jane just fizzles away into a child star has been. Blanche tried to get Jane into the movies by demanding that she be offered roles in films (Blanche could do that because she had become such a powerful star) but, Jane just couldn’t cut the mustard and her acting was terrible. Then there’s the “accident” which leaves Blanche wheelchair bound and Jane is left to care for her sister.
Time warp 30 years later, and the two sisters now living in the 1960’s in the same spanish architecture house in Hollywood they had always lived in since Blanche became a star and bought it for them. (Most famous movie actors and actresses owned these spanish style mansions in the hills of Hollywood back then.) Blanche is no longer acting but her movies are still played all over the air ways and Jane has become a bitter, drunken old woman with dreams of what once was and she is determined to make them become real once again.
As the movie progresses, Jane (Bette Davis) becomes even more delusional, drunk and violent towards Blanche (Joan Crawford) who is all but dependent on Jane for mostly everything. She even goes as far as to place an ad in the newspaper looking for a pianist to accompany her so she can revive her old songs she sang on stage as a child. Enter Edwin Flagg. A man who can’t or doesn’t want to hold a job and still lives with his poor run down mum at the age of thirty something and who could also use a good diet. His plan is he’s going to sponge off Jane Hudson as much money as he possibly can and then take off.. Little did he know he was going to become involved in a twisted plot one of which he couldn’t have imagined..
One of my most favorite lines from this movie is: (Blanche) “You wouldn’t be able to do these awful things to me if I weren’t still in this chair”
(Jane) But you *are*, Blanche! You *are* in that chair! …(so sinister..LOL)
Intrigued yet? Hope so!
As a sideline note. This is the only movie that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ever starred in together and they were extraordinary. Which is pretty amazing in itself because Bette (who would never admit this on camera) and Joan were bitter enemies. To my knowledge, Joan never spoke about this but Bette always down played it. It wasn’t until a few years ago I found out why they were bitter enemies. It seems, Ms. Davis who was a dish when she was younger slept with Franco Tone who at the time was married too Joan Crawford! Good reason to be enemies ya think? There is a scene in this movie where Bette Davis’s character pretty much beats the sense out of Joan Crawford’s character by almost kicking her to death and it’s been said that Bette Davis didn’t hold back. She was really kicking her and hard too. There’s also another scene in this movie where Bette has to lift Joan out of her bed and Bette asked that Joan please help a little and not be like dead weight because Bette has a bad back.. Well you can just guess what happened there.. Lifting Joan out of that bed was like lifting the dead weight of a 200 pound man. Think it was intentional? *wink* It has been said the two women were “civil” to each other on the set. There was talk of another movie after this one which was to star both women but eventually Joan Crawford pulled out and these two never made another movie together again. So , if you want to see two truly talented women on screen then this is the movie to see!
Year Released : 1962
Starring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford,
Academy Award : Best Actress in a leading role : Bette Davis
Can be seen on : Turner Classic Movies – Check local cable stations
Can be purchased at : TurnerClassicMovies.com