Review of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Moving picture, 134 minutes

Seen in 2017.

Every time I think about something nice, you remind me of all the bad things. I only want to talk about the nice things.

Sunset Blvd. (1950) meets Psycho (1960). Loaded with coincidences and other plot conveniences. It doesn’t make sense that the older sister would choose to live on the top floor without even a stash of crackers, as if she’d never suspected trouble in 30 years. The writer apparently never thought to give the two main characters anything to do other than obsess about their past careers. They’re not quite rounded, which means that Sunset Blvd.’s critique of age discrimination is absent here. It is not replaced with any implicit critique of discrimination against the disabled either. Fine acting though, even in the minor parts. I especially enjoyed the sympathetic portrayal of the working class by Maidie Norman playing the housekeeper, and Victor Buono’s warmly hypocritical musician (“Who’s happy? I’m not happy.”).

References here: Internal contradiction by omission.

moving picture fiction