🎥 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane – 1962

The Story …

In 1917, “Baby Jane” Hudson is a spoiled and capricious child actress who performs in vaudeville theatres across the country with her father, who acts as her manager and accompanies her on stage on the piano.

Her success is such that a line of porcelain dolls is made in her image. Meanwhile, her shy older sister Blanche lives in her shadow and is treated with contempt by the haughty Jane …

As the sisters pass adolescence, their situations undergo a reversal; Jane’s style of performing falls out of fashion, and her career declines as she descends into alcoholism, while Blanche becomes an acclaimed Hollywood actress.

Mindful of a promise made to their mother, Blanche attempts to maintain a semblance of a career for Jane, going as far as to prevail on producers to guarantee acting roles for her.

One evening in 1935, Blanche’s career is cut short when she is paralyzed from the waist down in a mysterious car accident that is unofficially blamed on Jane, who is found three days later in a drunken stupor.

By 1962, Blanche and Jane are living together in a mansion purchased with Blanche’s film earnings. Blanche’s mobility is limited due to her reliance on a wheelchair and the lack of an elevator to her upstairs bedroom.

Jane, psychotic and resentful of Blanche’s success, regularly mistreats Blanche and prepares to revive her old act with hired pianist Edwin Flagg. When Blanche informs Jane she intends to sell the house, Jane correctly suspects Blanche will commit her to a psychiatric hospital once the house is sold.

She removes the telephone from Blanche’s bedroom, cutting her off from the outside world.

During Jane’s absence, Blanche desperately drags herself down the stairs and calls her doctor for help. Jane returns to find Blanche on the phone and beats her unconscious before mimicking Blanche’s voice to dismiss the doctor.

After tying Blanche to her bed and locking her in her room, Jane abruptly fires their housekeeper, Elvira, when she comes to work. While Jane is away, the suspicious Elvira sneaks into the house and attempts to access Blanche’s room.

Concerned by the lack of a response, Elvira starts to remove the door’s hinge pins with a hammer. Jane returns home and reluctantly gives Elvira the key. As soon as Elvira enters Blanche’s room, Jane takes the hammer and kills Elvira.

Edwin comes by the house, but Jane refuses to answer the door. That night, she uses Blanche’s wheelchair to move Elvira’s body to her car.

A few days later, the police call to tell Jane that Elvira’s cousin has reported her missing. Jane panics and prepares to leave, taking Blanche with her.

Before they can go, an inebriated Edwin is escorted to the house by police, who leave him there. Upon discovering Blanche bound to her bed, Edwin flees and notifies the authorities. Jane, in a fit of infantile regression, takes Blanche to a beach where she sang as a child.

The next morning, the news of Elvira’s murder and Blanche’s condition is on the radio and the police are on the lookout. Weakened and near death, Blanche confesses to Jane that she caused her own accident.

On the night in question, Blanche tried to run Jane over because she was angry at her drunken sister for mocking her at a party. Blanche’s spine broke when her car struck the gates outside their mansion, and she dragged herself in front of the car’s hood to stage the accident and frame Jane.

Blanche took advantage of Jane’s shock and subsequent bender, concealing the real cause of the accident from her, which subjected Jane to a life of guilt, loneliness, and servitude.

Now aware of the truth, a saddened Jane responds, “You mean all this time, we could have been friends?” When Jane gets ice cream for herself and Blanche from a nearby refreshment stand, she is recognized by two police officers, who ask her to lead them to Blanche, attracting the attention of nearby beachgoers.

Jane dodges the officers’ inquiry and dances before the crowd of curious onlookers. The officers find Blanche nearby and rush to save her.

Credits :

  • Directed by Robert Aldrich
  • Screenplay by Lukas Heller
  • Based on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
    1960 novel by Henry Farrell
  • Produced by Robert Aldrich
  • Cinematography : Ernest Haller
  • Edited by Michael Luciano
  • Music by Frank De Vol
  • Production Company : 
    Seven Arts Productions
  • Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Release Date : October 31, 1962

Cast :

  • Bette Davis as Jane Hudson
  • Julie Allred as 9-year-old Jane
  • Debbie Burton as young Jane’s singing voice
  • Joan Crawford as Blanche Hudson
  • Gina Gillespie as 13-year-old Blanche
  • Victor Buono as Edwin Flagg
  • Wesley Addy as Marty McDonald
  • Anne Barton as Cora Hudson (credited as Ann Barton)
  • Marjorie Bennett as Dehlia Flagg
  • Bert Freed as Ben Golden
  • Anna Lee as Mrs. Bates
  • Maidie Norman as Elvira Stitt
  • Dave Willock as Ray Hudson
  • William Aldrich as lunch counter assistant at beach
  • Ernest Anderson as Ernie the ice-cream vendor
  • Russ Conway as police officer
  • Maxine Cooper as bank teller
  • Robert Cornthwaite as Doctor Shelby
  • Michael Fox as TV commercial man
  • B. D. Merrill as Liza Bates
  • Don Ross as police officer
  • James Seay as police officer
  • John Shay as police officer
  • Jon Shepodd as police officer
  • Peter Virgo as police officer
  • Bobs Watson as clerk in newspaper classified ad department

Film Information Source :


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