The Morning After: Feb. 4, 2013

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford proved a successful pair in this thriller playing off their mutual hatred to create a successful dynamic. In What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Davis has the upper hand as a miserable, failed child star who permanently-paralyzed her more successful sister in an auto accident.

Now forced to live together, the dynamic begins to shift as Crawford plans to abandon her sister and sell the house, causing Davis to go on a vicious binge of abuse and neglect in hopes of keeping her out of the limelight while collecting her royalty checks. Davis plays certifiable with ease and the terror on Crawford’s face through much of the film is perfectly realized. Robert Aldrich took Davis to additionally strong heights two years later in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, but this may well be my favorite Davis performance.

The film itself plays like a tightly controlled horror film that goes for tension in lieu of gore. While I would classify this more as a psychological thriller rather than a thriller, numerous horror films owe some allegiance to this film’s capable rendering. Aldrich wasn’t much of a success before this film, but he parlayed this excellent feature into a strong mid-career with four films that are frequently considered classics of the period: Baby Jane, Charlotte, The Flight of the Phoenix and probably most notably The Dirty Dozen.

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