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Robert Aldrich's Grand Guignol cult classic about a pair of aged, ex-starlet sisters (Bette Davis and Joan Crawford) bound together in bitter (and lethal) rivalry in a fetid Hollywood villa returns in a special fiftieth anniversary digital restoration.
50th anniversary! New digital restoration!
Guignol gets no grander, gargoyles no more garish than in Robert Aldrich's macabre cult classic, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in a new digital print made by Warner Bros. for the occasion. Known for gnawing the porch since they were tots, aging screen queens Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (already mighty rivals in real life) tear into their roles as the bitterest of sisters, former child star "Baby Jane" Hudson and crippled, one-time up-and-comer Blanche, holed up in a fetid Italianate villa in L.A., caking on makeup to hide the damage of time while nursing dreams of a return to stardom. (Norma Desmond must live somewhere in the neighbourhood.) In the five decades since its original release, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? has become a pop-culture treasure trove, from Davis' immortal line "But you are, Blanche!" (a camp invocation for the ages) to the many remixes of her tawdry song performed in ringlets and bows, "I've Written A Letter To Daddy." When the wheelchair-bound Blanche tries to escape from Baby Jane's increasingly deranged ministrations — her meal tray holds creepy treats — the sororal torment escalates into high-camp jamboree. As the film's original release trailer has it, to the question posed by the title: "The answer is Total Suspense!"