Fiendish Flicks W/Ruby LeRouge: ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane’

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Happy Friday my fine fiendish friends! This week I bring you a fabulously diabolical flick from the Golden Age of Hollywood, starring two of the Silver Screen’s most celebrated stars!

Joan Crawford was a notoriously difficult dame on screen and off, but in the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, she meets her maniacal match. She plays the role of Blanche What Ever Happened to Baby JaneHudson, the disabled Sister of now aged child star Baby Jane Hudson, played by fellow Hollywood Legend Bette Davis. Baby Jane was the sweetheart of the vaudeville stage, a la Shirley Temple, but loses her appeal like so many child stars do post puberty. As her star falls her Sister’s rises, Blanche becomes a star in her own right on the big screen. That is until her life takes a nasty turn, when a car accident lands her in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. Word on the street is that jealous Jane rigged poor Blanche’s ride, but Blanche being the class act she is, keeps her baby Sister by her side. Blanche doesn’t see the extent of her Sister’s madness until it’s far too late, when she finds herself a captive to Jane’s considerable craziness. Before long even the bats in Baby Jane’s belfry are a tad bit nervous.

These formidable, feisty females could not have been cast better to play in this story of life long resentment. Joan Crawford having clawed her way to the Oscars and Bette Davis, known as the The First Lady of Film, were rumored to be bitter rivals off screen. So much so that it became the subject of a book titled Bette & Joan- The Divine Feud, written by Shaun Considine. 
What Ever Happened to Baby JaneThey agreed to work together due to few roles being offered to ladies of their age. Hollywood studios rarely showed loyalty to the actors that raked in the cash and fans of their films once their youth began to fade. Bette Davis once told an interviewer while promoting the film that when her and Crawford were suggested to star, studio head Jack L. Warner said, “I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for either one of those two old broads.” even though both women had worked for Warner Bros. for years. He may not have given a plugged nickel, but these stars delivered Warner Bros. a hit at the box office. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane earned back it’s original budget 11 days after release, and wound up grossing 9 million dollars, which in today’s standard is more than most high budget block busters.What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

 

True fans of the cinema should relish in its roots, watching the films that made Hollywood great. These ladies are Legends for a reason. In this freaky family flick, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford prove that their own stars still shone long into their considerable careers. These mad mavens make What Ever Happened to Baby Jane one of my favorite fiendish flicks, and one I highly recommend watching.

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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