What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1991 film)
|What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?|
|Directed by||David Greene|
|Theme music composer||Peter Manning Robinson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||120 minutes|
|Original release||February 17, 1991|
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1991 American made-for-television thriller drama film directed by David Greene and adapted for the small screen by Brian Taggert, based on the novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell and the 1962 theatrical film of the same name. It stars real-life sisters Lynn Redgrave as Baby Jane Hudson and Vanessa Redgrave as Blanche Hudson, in the roles previously played by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the 1962 adaptation.
The film was adapted to contemporary times, with Blanche's film success taking place in the 1960s instead of the 1930s. Her films were being rediscovered on home video instead of television reruns. Jane had been a child film star (replacing the original's vaudeville success), though her films were unavailable, leading to her jealousy.
In the 1940s, Baby Jane Hudson is a world-famous child star. Jane dominates her shy sister Blanche, who, as Jane's understudy and stunt double, longs to have an acting career separate from Jane. However, as she grows up, Blanche becomes a serious and celebrated actress, while Jane's career fades into obscurity after childhood. Blanche's career was cut short by a car accident that paralyzed her from the waist down, after which Jane was committed to a psychiatric hospital. The tabloids suggested that a jealous Jane had run down her more talented sister with the car and then gone insane with guilt.
In the present day, the sisters live together in a crumbling Brentwood mansion, where Jane tends the paraplegic Blanche. In recent years, Blanche's films have become available on video and television, launching her into a modest comeback. Jane resents both her sister's enduring popularity and her own role as caretaker, and takes out her resentment on Blanche with vicious, childlike pranks, such as putting worms in Blanche's food or cutting off all Blanche's hair. Blanche and her physical therapist, Dominick, realize that Jane's old mental problems are returning, and both worry that her pranks might turn to violence.
Hoping that she, too, can stage a comeback, Jane goes to a video store to see which of her old films are available. Billy Korn, the store's owner, recognizes her as Baby Jane. Believing that the Hudson sisters must be extremely wealthy, Billy recommends himself as her manager and promises to arrange a spot in a talent show for $1,000. Jane is thrilled by his attention and agrees.
Back at home, Blanche makes her way to a telephone and tries to call for help, only to have Jane return and physically attack her. Blanche now realizes that her sister has lost control and tries to escape the house, but Jane locks her in a room upstairs with no means of communication. Dominick arrives for his weekly appointment and has to force his way around Jane and into Blanche's room, where he finds Blanche bound and gagged with tape. Jane stabs Dominick to death with a pair of scissors and hides his body in the basement screening room, then leaves for the performance Billy has arranged for her.
Jane arrives at the show, only to discover that the "talent show" is actually a drag revue and that Billy is posing as Blanche for their duet. The audience ridicules Jane's appearance and performance until Jane has a breakdown, forgets where she is, and runs offstage. Still dressed as Blanche, Billy follows, arriving back at the mansion ahead of Jane. While searching the house for money, he finds Blanche, but leaves without helping her, instead going to Jane for his money. Jane, still in shock, mistakes him for an escaped Blanche and stabs him to death.
Finally coming to her senses, Jane puts the real Blanche into her car and drives to the beach, where she and her sister go unnoticed by the few passersby. Severely dehydrated and weak with starvation, Blanche admits she had been driving the car on the night of the accident, but had allowed Jane, who had been too incapacitated with drugs and alcohol to remember, to take the blame. She apologizes for never telling Jane the truth, and for a moment, they are happy together. The police arrive to find Blanche unconscious and near death. As they radio for help for Blanche, Jane realizes what is happening and walks into the sea, seemingly to kill herself, but is dragged out by a police officer. At first she resists, but then she wraps her arms around him and calls him "Daddy". The last shot is of Jane's smiling face as she goes willingly with the police.
- Vanessa Redgrave as Blanche Hudson
- Lynn Redgrave as Baby Jane Hudson
- Bruce A. Young as Dominick
- Amy Steel as Connie Trotter
- John Glover as Billy Korn
- Vinny Argiro
- Pat Skipper
- Barry Dennen
- John Scott Clough as Frank
- Samantha Jordan as Baby Jane
- J. Michael Flynn as Mr. Hudson
- Erinn Canavan
- Beans Morocco
- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? at the Internet Movie Database
- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? at AllMovie