As I have said before, 2012 has been the year of the classics. I think more classic films have seen the hi def light of day this year alone than during the entire existence of Blu-ray before it. We have seen tons of Hitchcock, Lawrence of Arabia, Singin’ in the Rain and The Marilyn Monroe Collection just to name a few. As we see these titles get the treatment they deserve and, surprise to the studios, actually sell, we can only hope the trend continues into 2013.
Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) was a major Hollywood star in her time. Her sister, Jane (Bette Davis), was a star in her own right, but as a beloved child star. Jane never saw the acclaim her older sister gained in the limelight and has resented her for it ever since. Now both old women, Blanche is confined to a wheelchair thanks to Jane running over her with the car while drunk years before. Jane has become the caretaker, although as she grows more and more mad, she torments Blanche in increasingly crueler ways, perhaps driving both of them to the edge of sanity.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is awesome. If you really want to sit down and watch the definition of a tour de force performance, this film is your answer. Crawford is great as the weaker Blanche, but it is Davis who is so over the top and batshit crazy here, her performance alone makes a viewing worthwhile. I liken her performance to that of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, one that is a broad caricature, but one that is somehow still believable and utterly terrifying. There is a lot to love aside from Davis as well though. As I said, Crawford is great as the submissive Blanche, the direction from Robert Aldrich is stark and wonderful to behold, and the script by Lukas Heller is quick, witty, suspenseful and engaging. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is the definition of a classic and rightfully so.
The Blu-ray from Warner is packaged in their great line of digibooks and the artwork is brilliant along with a very informative and great looking booklet. The transfer itself is another winner from Warner Bros. who really are one of the leaders for their classic transfers. The picture is cleaned up beautifully with excellent detail and amazing clarity. The black and white picture has amazing tone and deep blacks; this is by far the best the film has ever looked. If you are a fan of the classics, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? should be an automatic addition to the collection.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.