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Old 06-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #16
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I'm going to watch it tommorw
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:56 PM   #17
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I enjoyed this. It was fairly ahead of its time for its genre in a number of ways. Nice pick, LeMeL.
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:28 PM   #18
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I think Mr. Melon forgot he was supposed to write up his thoughts on this (we're going out of town tomorrow) but I will remind him, post-haste.


As for me. I loved it...kind of. I was genuinely nervous for a good portion of the film, and I don't think a movie has really ever made me feel that way before. However, by the 23984730th near-miss for Jane, I started to grow irritated, rather than entranced. The ending didn't exactly leave me with the greatest feelings in the world either.

Regardless, good film, and I definitely was effected by it.
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:30 PM   #19
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Lame. I went to the library to pick this up and watch today, and someone took it out in the mean time. Now I don't think I'm going to get the opportunity to watch it by the time we move on to the next pick.
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
I really liked the scene where Bette Davis is singing one of her old songs, dressed in the old costume, and she looks in the mirror and is horrified by the old woman she sees looking back at her.

I rolled my eyes when Jane Crawford was going through all that effort to write the note and throw it down to her neighbor's yard. Why not just bang on the window and holler to get her attention?
All of this.

An entertaining diversion. I expected a lot more scenes between the two, and Crawford was more of a supporting actress. Davis clearly got the better part.

There was definitely a considerable amount of suspense, and the premise was fairly interesting. And
 
the twist, which I didn't really find cheap at all, helped to explain why Crawford was so delicate about everything, and you understand how things got to the point they are when the film begins.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:20 AM   #21
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Glad to hear the overall consensus on this film was positive. Not that I have any particular attachment or personal investment in the film itself, but it's good to know that I'm not fascinated by trainwrecks (except, well, I am). My review is filled with spoilers, but tags shouldn't be necessary, as the mission was to finish the film by the 28th. Not sure why someone would want to click this thread to discuss a film they haven't seen anyway.

I'll cut right to the chase: I thought it was a really damn fine film. A number of scares (the note-throwing, the maid allowing Jane easy access to the hammer, Blanche using her lingering bit of strength to say "hey, woohoo, my psychopathic sister is trying to KILL ME...HELP!!!!11111" rather than explain her contrite attitude to the audience/hers sister) could have been easily averted, but that would have made this film much shorter, and that would have been a shame; I loved 95% of it.

My favorite attribute of the film was its pacing; very, very little time was ever wasted, and most of the exchanges between the sisters had a productive purpose that either heightened the tension or deepened your understanding of their actions. The supporting cast didn't have much to do, but their interactions with Jane amused me. And yeah, in spite of the "dark," "gritty" genre tags, the film was lighthearted in spots, enough to give the viewer some breathing room. The film felt very natural, though a few more applications of common sense would have given it a hair more realism. Separating itself from other films of the era that give us a window into the lives of fallen stars and starlets would have also been advisable; Jane going batshit near the end was unnecessary and betrays the grisled fuck she was early on, drawing her into Norma Desmond territory and creating the illusion that What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and Sunset Boulevard have anything in common beyond their jaded cast and characters.

Overall: a competently-directed, superbly-paced, lovingly-acted, but at times lazily-written film whose setting and cultural context caulk some of its more obvious plotholes; it's a trick that makes the story impossible to replicate in 2010, while the quality of the acting and story cause the film to transcend its era.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:02 AM   #22
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Obvious , but if you haven't seen it yet, DON'T READ THIS.

Watched it now; kinda of a busy week.
First of all, I must say that was a very good choice LemonMelon.
Second, I haven't read any of your thoughts before posting this, and I'll only do it after I've finished writing this.
Third, well... thoughts then: Of course, there's some Sunset Boulevard echoes here, the whole show business decadence and how fame can be destructive to a person's mind. How acceptance among our peers can control our actions and feelings. And those echoes are very good to me. However it doesn't go further on those echoes and it doesn't try to replicate what was already perfectly put onto screen on Sunset.
Instead What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? goes on to be broader on the matter of feelings; how a moment of rage can determine all of our future lives, how we deal with guilt, hate, love, vengeance and all of our strongest emotions.
Blanche wanted to get affection when only Jane did and in the end, when Jane taked that so long desired affection for only a night, she did what she did. And she spent her whole life after that taking it on herself accepting all the abuse she suffered. She didn't believe she had the right to be loved again. She hated Jane, and she hated to feel that way. Her attempts to escape were frivolous because of that.
And Jane had that affection taken away for her whole adult life; she didn't ran that car into Blanche, but all those feelings on the film are what she feels anyway. She wanted to be that little girl again, on which her sister was dependant to get what she wanted. She wanted back the moment Blanche "took away" from her. That's the obvious part, but the twist at the end is what makes all this impressive. The thing is thar nothing ever happened to Baby Jane, she was there all the time. She wanted her ice cream.
It's a film about our desire to be loved and accepted, after all. All of us, from the lonely piano player to Jane and Blanche.
Of course, Davis' and Crawford's acting should be forever saved for posterity. Both are amazing here, and if I had to pick my favorite it would be Crawford. Her acceptance to all, and how she acts that so perfectly makes you wonder for the whole film what goes on in her mind. Amazing.
On the directorial matter I believed it was rather good. The best shots on the movie being the car accident and Jane's first scene on the beach. Blanche tied to the bed was rather shocking and well shown too, as her phone call to the doctor. Script was good, the twist at the end was believable and made it all come together. We might all be the victims of our villain feelings.
An excellent film, not that much, but still excellent. Sad that this is a much less remembered film than so many others.
For future reference, I don't tend to talk about points which I felt weren't that good or any good at all.


Score: 9,1/10,0
Reference for the score:
Below 5: not good, and not rated below that. It's simply bad.
6,0 / 6,5: Variations of average.
7,0 / 7,5: Variations of good.
8,0 / 8,25 / 8,5 / 8,75: From very good to great.
9,0 to 9,9: Variations of excellence.
10,0: Goodfellas


(It's 3 in the morning here, ignore weird sentences. )
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:28 AM   #23
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That was a very good choice and I enjoyed the film thoroughly. As some said, the plot got a bit overextended at times, I think the film would have benefited from a 100min running time and a more focused script.

As If you Shout mentioned it, the psychological elements clearly make the film much more interesting (I disagree with his Popperian assertion that nobody believes in psychoanalysis, but that is a whole different issue for another thread). The relationship of both girls to their father at the beginning of the film, though under-explored, also provided a good background to how the story unfolds (and to some extent makes the twist somewhat anticipated, much like in Shutter Island).

The directing seemed very good to me (but I’m far from being a specialist). Aldrich seems to have been heavily influenced by Hitchcock (that seemed clear to me in some of the techniques to build tension. For some reason the directing choices reminded me a lot of Hitchcock’s famous distinctions between suspense and surprise (such as in the scene where Jane goes to the bank while Blanche climbs down the stairs).

One thing that annoyed me a bit was the acting. Not that it wasn’t good – Bette Davis in particular was excellent (I really liked her impersonation of Blanche on the phone, for example). But the acting was very theatrical (and I’m sure deliberately so), giving the film a burlesque, farsical atmosphere that in my opinion clashed a bit with its psychological underpinnings.

Well, these are my initial thoughts. Again, very good choice by LM.

Edit: The intentionally over-the-top soundtrack also reminded me of the opening scene of Shutter Island, for some reason.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:56 AM   #24
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The best part about the casting, to me, was of course the under-lying real life insanity we'd later find out about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Adds a bit more to the eeriness of the film itself. Added to that is the fact that apparently the two of them did not get along well on the set, and were at times even a bit abusive of one another.

The driving scenes irritated the hell out of me because apparently Blanche and Jane live two minutes away from any destination in the city.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:56 PM   #25
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Added to that is the fact that apparently the two of them did not get along well on the set, and were at times even a bit abusive of one another.
That's putting it mildly.


What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:05 PM   #26
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Forget to add: the scene where she's singing "I Sent a Letter to Daddy" again with Edwin on the piano. Although its obvious when you think about it, that's how best scenes go... they're only obvious when you think about it, it looks really awesome how most of its shots were done so that it looks like she's on stage again.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:55 PM   #27
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As If you Shout mentioned it, the psychological elements clearly make the film much more interesting (I disagree with his Popperian assertion that nobody believes in psychoanalysis, but that is a whole different issue for another thread).
Go to Hades.
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:30 AM   #28
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We need a little more discussion here.
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:32 AM   #29
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I'll have something to say when I don't have a splitting headache.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #30
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I don't have much to add, but that's never stopped me before.

I don't really like Betty Davis, she always freaked me out when I was a kid. She reminded me of a really mean grandmother that would lock you in a closet if you spilled some stuffing or something. However, I do think that her sad singing scene was quite well done, even if a bit overdone. And her descent into madness at the end, I liked that. She actually became "nice".

The story itself I found all kinds of silly. Joan Crawford's character was rather stupid, and far too helpless. She couldn't find a better time to write a note and drop it out the window? Or, as stated above, call out the goddamn window?

Maybe in 1962 this was fresh, but it has not stood up well over time, in my opinion. Could it be testament to the fact that it was a pioneer in the world of twist endings? I dunno.

I did like the maid, for what that's worth. She seemed cool. And the piano player was King Tut on Batman. That drove me up a goddamn wall trying to figure out where I saw him before.
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