Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)


A wheelchair-bound ex-Hollywood star is terrorised within her own home by her jealous and alcoholic elder sister.

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? hasn’t got the most promising premise for a “comedy” but like Psycho and Dr Strangelove, it’s the macabre streak of black humour that provides the stroke of genius that makes it what it is. The plot read as straight is a very melodramatic, soapy affair but Robert Aldrich’s skewed approach makes a black-hearted comedy of grotesques in a similar vein to Sunset Boulevard. The cast are all excellent, but it is Bette Davis’ show all the way as the increasingly unhinged child star-turned embittered old harridan and she sends herself up rotten; the scene where she recreates her old act has to be seen to be believed!.

The attractive cinematography contrasting with the ugliness of the goings on combines with Alfred Hitchock-style suspense with a killer twist in the tale to create a bizarre and unique film that’s a classic example of offbeat psychological horror.



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