What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 psychological thriller, a film that stands as a hallmark in the annals of cinema, primarily for its chilling narrative and the powerful performances by its cast. Directed by Robert Aldrich, the film delves into the complex and fraught relationship between two aging sisters, both former actresses, living together in a decaying Hollywood mansion. The movie’s success is largely attributed to its talented cast, who brought depth and intensity to their roles.
- Bette Davis as Jane Hudson: Davis delivered a tour-de-force performance as the former child star, Jane Hudson. Her portrayal of the mentally unstable Jane, who spirals into madness, is both haunting and deeply moving. Davis’s performance is often cited as one of the finest in her illustrious career.
- Joan Crawford as Blanche Hudson: Playing the role of the wheelchair-bound Blanche, Crawford offered a nuanced portrayal of a woman trapped by her physical limitations and haunted by her past. Her interactions with Davis’s character are charged with tension, adding to the film’s gripping atmosphere.
- Victor Buono as Edwin Flagg: Buono played the role of an opportunistic musician who becomes entangled with Jane. His performance added a layer of dark humor and complexity to the film.
- Maidie Norman as Elvira Stitt: Norman portrayed the Hudsons’ housekeeper, bringing a sense of normalcy and concern to the otherwise chaotic environment of the Hudson household.
- Wesley Addy as Marty McDonald: Addy’s character is a pivotal one, contributing to the development of the film’s plot.
- Julie Allred and Gina Gillespie played the younger versions of Jane and Blanche, respectively, offering glimpses into the sisters’ troubled past.
- Other notable cast members included Anne Barton (as Cora Hudson), Marjorie Bennett (as Dehlia Flagg), Bert Freed (as Ben Golden), Anna Lee (as Mrs. Bates), and B.D. Merrill (as Liza Bates), among others.
The cast of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” is remarkable not only for the stellar performances of its leading ladies but also for the strength of its supporting actors. Each character, meticulously portrayed, adds depth to the film’s complex narrative. The movie remains a powerful study of envy, madness, and the dark side of human nature, with its impact undiminished by time, thanks in large part to its talented cast.
The ensemble’s performances in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” have been widely acclaimed and continue to be celebrated in the annals of cinematic history, serving as a masterclass in acting.