AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Director: Robert Aldrich (Dir)
Release Date:   1962
Premiere Information:   Cincinnati, Ohio, opening: 31 Oct 1962
Duration (in mins):   132
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Cast:   Bette Davis (Jane Hudson)  
    Joan Crawford (Blanche Hudson)  
    Victor Buono (Edwin Flagg)  
    Anna Lee (Mrs. Bates)  
    Maidie Norman (Elvira Stitt)  
    Marjorie Bennett (Mrs. Flagg)  
    Dave Willock (Ray Hudson)  
    Anne Barton (Cora Hudson)  
    Barbara D. Merrill (Liza Bates)  
    Julie Allred (Young Jane)  
    Gina Gillespie (Young Blanche)  
    Bert Freed (Producer)  
    Wesley Addy (Director)  
    Debbie Burton (Singing voice)  
    William Aldrich    
    Ernest Anderson    
    Don Ross    
    Russ Conway    
    James Seay    
    Maxine Cooper    
    John Shay    
    Robert Cornthwaite    
    Jon Shepodd    
    Michael Fox    
    Peter Virgo Jr.    
    Bobs Watson    

Summary: In the 1920's, 6-year-old Baby Jane Hudson becomes an enormously successful child star in vaudeville while her older sister, Blanche, is forced to remain quietly in the background. As the two reach maturity, however, Jane loses both her appeal and her talent, and Blanche develops into a beautiful and renowned film actress. Then, at the height of her career, Blanche is crippled in an automobile accident for which the alcoholic Jane is held responsible. As the years pass, the two sisters become virtual recluses in an old mansion, where the slatternly and guilt-ridden Jane cares for the helpless Blanche. When she learns Blanche is planning to sell the house and perhaps place her in a home, Jane plots a diabolical revenge. She serves her sister trays of dead rats and parakeets, tears out her phone, and keeps her a prisoner in her bedroom. She even resorts to killing their black maid, Elvira, with a hammer when the woman becomes suspicious and threatens to go to the police. Jane is also planning to make a comeback and has hired the obese pianist Edwin Flagg to accompany her. But when Edwin discovers Blanche gagged and bound to her bed, he runs hysterically from the house. Realizing he will go to the police, Jane drags Blanche into a car and drives to a nearby beach. There Blanche confesses that she had arranged the automobile accident and had intended to kill her sister to avenge herself for the years of humiliation she had spent in the shadow of Baby Jane. As the police arrive upon the scene, the now totally deranged Jane goes into her song-and-dance routine of long ago. 

Production Company: Associates & Aldrich Co., Inc. (Seven Arts Productions)
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures  
Director: Robert Aldrich (Dir)
  Tom Connors (Asst dir)
  Harry Slott (1st & 2nd asst dir)
Producer: Robert Aldrich (Prod)
  Kenneth Hyman (Exec prod)
Writer: Lukas Heller (Scr)
Photography: Ernest Haller (Dir of photog)
  Til Gabani (Cam op)
Art Direction: William Glasgow (Art dir)
Film Editor: Michael Luciano (Film ed)
Set Decoration: George Sawley (Set dec)
Costumes: Norma Koch (Cost des)
  Angela Alexander (Ward)
  Kathleen McCandless (Ward)
  Vou Lee Giokaris (Ward)
  Eric Seelig (Ward)
Music: Frank DeVol (Mus)
Sound: Jack Solomon (Sd)
Special Effects: Don Steward (Spec eff)
Dance: Alex Romero (Choreog)
Make Up: Jack Obringer (Makeup)
  Monte Westmore (Makeup)
  Florence Guernsey (Hairstyles)
  Peggy Shannon (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Jack R. Berne (Prod supv)
  Walter Blake (Asst to the prod)
  Robert Gary (Scr supv)
  Robert Sherman (Dial coach)
  Don Christie (Stills)
  John Orlando (Prop)
  Dick Borland (Grip)
Country: United States

Songs: "I've Written a Letter to Daddy," words and music by Frank DeVol.
Composer: Frank DeVol
Source Text: Based on the novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell (New York, 1960).
Authors: Henry Farrell

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Associates & Aldrich Co. 3/11/1962 dd/mm/yyyy LP29392

 
Genre: Melodrama
 
Subjects (Major): Actors and actresses
  Alcoholism
  Automobile accidents
  Beaches
  Children
  Handicapped
  Guilt
  Maids
  Insanity
  Jealousy
  Motion pictures
  Murder
  African Americans
  Pianists
  Police
  Recluses
  Revenge
  Sisters
  Starvation

Note: Included are film clips from Parachute Jumper (1933) and Sadie McKee (1934). 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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