Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? - "I've Written A Letter To Daddy" (1962)

 Tonight's feature is "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" Can you spell Klassic?  I didn't think so, me neither, but this movie is one!

You wouldn't think right off that an ancient movie about a couple of olde broads would really be that interesting, but when you've got talents like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford working together, let me just say it doesn't get much better than that!!

"The Diminutive Dancing Duse From Duluth!" Yeah, well I had to look that one up myself, and I still don't get it, I'm thinking they meant douche, because duse is defined as an Italian actress, namely Eleonora Duse who was known for her tragic performances! It can also refer to a a demon or spirit! I'm still not quite sure how it relates to Baby Jane, although she was quite a tragic little demon!!

The original Baby Jane was played by a young Jewish girl named Julie Allred who got her shot at fame by winning a contest. She never returned to the big screen because of her family's devout religious beliefs! Makes you kind of wonder why they put her in the contest in the first place!

Julie was given the Baby Jane doll after the film was made and she kept in it her home until her demise in 2011 from diabetes! This creepy photo tells it all!

Julie does an excellent job as the spoiled obnoxious child star, as does Gina Gillespie as the better behaved sister Blanche Hudson! Gina was the sister of Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie! Speaking of Mouseketeers, I can think of no better time to say farewell to Dungeon Queen Annette Funicello who passed away this week at the age of 70 from multiple sclerosis! There will never ever be another Annette, and we will miss her dearly forever!

Well, here they are some many years later, Blanche as played by Joan Crawford is now confined to a wheelchair from an accident that was seemingly caused by sister Jane as played by Bette Davis, who looks after her as best as she can!

Jane Hudson has a bit of a drinking problem, and has a penchant for what I want to say looks like Johnny Walker Red! Since recycling wasn't in existence back in 1962, Jane just hangs on to all her empties!

Jane Hudson has decided to revitalize her career, so she puts an ad in the paper to audition for an accompanist! Victor Buono as out of work composer Edwin Flagg applies for the job! Jane does a rendition of her signature tune "I've Written A Letter To Daddy" that was written by Frank De Vol with lyrics by Bob Merrill! The stage lights are a nice touch! Edwin Flagg is appalled, but he needs a job so he signs on to go along for the wild ride!

Dinner is served!!! Jane has quite a sick sense of humour!!

Jane now basically has Blanche held hostage upstairs, but when she goes out one day, Blanche unsuccessfully makes a daring attempt to get to the phone!

Jane fires the maid Elvira as played by the wonderful actress Maidie Norman, but she comes back to check on Miss Blanche, and discovers Jane up to her neck in a whole lot of ugly!

At this point, the charade is over, and Jane shows her true colours!!

Edwin Flagg finds out that he has bitten off a whole Helluva lot more than he can chew! The next bus to Krazy Town is getting ready to leave the station!!

Jane flees with Blanche in tow, and goes to the ocean where her childhood kicks in once again, much to the chagrin of some real kids playing on the beach!

Baby Jane's last standing ovation turns out to be more fateful than all the others, there's just one thing that she doesn't realize, there's no applause!!

3 comments:

Randall Landers said...

Chilling movie, even today, with Victor Buono as well!

Douglas McEwan said...

Two months ago, a friend of mine and I visited the house that was used for the exteriors of the Hudson Sisters house. I got lovely photos of myself in Baby Jane's front yard, and by the gate where Blanche crippled herself. It was a real thrill just to be there.

My new book, Tallyho, Tallulah! revolves around a fictional stage production of a musical based on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, given the punchier title: BJ!

Anonymous said...

Where is Julie Allred's doll now? In the film several baby Jane dolls appear for sale! Whatever happened to them ? Are there still any of them anywhere??

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