WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? Director: ROBERT ALDRICH U.S.A.| 1962. BLACK AND WHITE. 134 MIN. Book cinema tickets ‘The casting is inspired,’ wrote Andrew Sarris, ‘the screen’s eternal masochist (Joan Crawford) confronting the screen’s eternal sadist (Bette Davis).’ The real-life rivalry between these two screen icons gives the material an extra frisson. They play sisters, both formerly Hollywood stars, now living together in deadly enmity. Crawford, in a wheelchair due to an accident that ruined her career and is thought to have been caused by her malicious sister, lives on past glories; Davis meanwhile is planning a comeback, with the help of a lugubrious accompanist, superbly played by Victor Buono. Never one for understatement, director Robert Aldrich is soon stylishly pushing the theme of sibling rivalry into the realms of madness and murder. It was a great comeback for Davis, her performance combining monstrousness with genuine poignancy, and it re-launched her career as a queen of horrorwhat she was to call her ‘Boris Karloff in skirts’ period. Director: ROBERT ALDRICH U.S.A.| 1962. BLACK AND WHITE. 134 MIN.