Friday, February 04, 2005

friday, friday [a disguised movie review]

The dark clouds have gone by. The sky has cleared up, the sun is out. It's a great day. Wish the work milieu were up to it.

The movie for the night is Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Equally famous for the casting coup of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (both way past their prime), this creepy drama (calling it a thriller wouldn't do it justice) features a great makeup job for Bette Davis, and wonderful performances from both leads (Davis gets a few more points simply for going above and beyond the call of duty in providing vibes of creepiness and shock). People expecting a conventional plot (based on the premise) will be rewarded at the end. And the denouement works wonderfully on several levels: it gives us the little twist we might not have been expecting; it sets all the events past in a new light; it redefines ever-so succinctly the character of "Baby Jane" Hudson and gives us one of the most interesting tormented characters on the B&W screen. The only other Aldrich film I have seen is the howlarious Kiss Me Deadly (an adaptation of one of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer tales). And IMDB's trivia page confirms the connection: the beach featured in the tail acts of both films is the same (right down to the beach house that gets blown up in the Hammer tale and merely features in the background in this one). So much for the coincidence of limited viewing. I'm embarking on an Aldrich trip now, so there should be more where this came from.

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