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Trivia / What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

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  • Acting for Two: Minor example. Since Bette Davis struggled to imitate Joan Crawford's voice, Crawford just dubbed over her when Jane is imitating Blanche.
  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • Jane's make-up was the idea of Bette Davis. She theorised that Jane would never wash her face - and would just put a new layer of make-up on every day. Reportedly when her daughter saw her in full Jane make-up for the first time, she went "Mother, this time you've gone too far."
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    • Joan Crawford was a big fan of Margaret Keane's 'sad eyes' paintings, and had them displayed on the walls of Mrs Bates's house.
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #63
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
    • #44, Baby Jane Hudson
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Both the lead actresses loved the project and agreed to it, despite the tight schedule. In her autobiography, Bette Davis says that she loved going to work every day while making the film.
  • Beauty Inversion: Bette Davis happily did this to play Jane, as noted above. Joan Crawford on the other hand struggled to look unattractive for the role - wanting to have impeccable hair and make-up, despite being an invalid who hadn't left her room in twenty years.
  • Deleted Role: Actor Bill Walker appeared in a deleted scene delivering a package to Jane at the Hudson Mansion. It was filmed in the studio recreation of the house but never made it to the final release. He is uncredited.
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  • Dueling-Stars Movie: Davis and Crawford had not worked together in eighteen years and never did again. Their hatred of each other was no secret.
  • Fake Brit: California native Victor Buono as Edwin, including a couple Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping moments.
  • Follow the Leader: After the success of the film, several other thriller movies were made featuring mentally unstable older women. The genre was commonly referred to as "psycho-biddy".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause the car driving in the prologue at just the right time you will see it is indeed Blanche driving the car and Jane walking up the gates.
  • Genre Popularizer: For the 'psycho-biddy' subgenre in horror films. Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford would star in a few more such films after this.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The beach at the end is the same one used in Kiss Me Deadly.
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  • Hostility on the Set: The onset feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford has passed into legend. Davis once joked that the most fun she ever had with Crawford was when she pushed her down the stairs in the film. And she kicked her in the head. Crawford retaliated by placing weights on herself, so that she'd be harder to lift.
  • Life Imitates Art: Jane's line "you mean, all this time we could have been friends?" - in Bette Davis's autobiography, she did praise Joan Crawford for her performance in the movie. She called her a pro who always knew her lines and showed up on time.
  • The Merch: Actual Baby Jane dolls were produced as merchandise for the film. However the one used in the ad campaign is an entirely different one from the movie. Due to the rushed production, the ad staff had to come up with a design while it was still filming.
  • Meta Casting: A twofer. To play two sisters who were bitter rivals, they cast two actresses who had been rivals. Likewise Jane in her youth struggles to make it as an actress and there's a scene where a producer watches a movie of hers and trashes her performance. The footage shown was from one of Bette Davis's old movies - supplied by the actress herself.
  • No Budget: It was made on a budget of $1 million, shot in a month and edited a month later. The budget was so limited that the production wasn't able to use the usual process screen shots for Jane's driving scenes. Bette Davis did her own driving around Hollywood with cameraman Ernest Haller perched either in the backseat of the car or over the front fender in order to get the shots he needed. She recalled in 1987:
    To this day, I smile when I remember the first time 'Jane' drove down Beverly Boulevard in an old Hudson. The expressions on the faces of people in other cars when they saw me were hysterical. Lots of mouths dropped.
  • Playing Against Type: Bette Davis as a 'psycho biddy'. With this film's success, it became her new type.
  • Playing with Character Type: Joan Crawford's character suffers greatly in this film, as she did in many of her 40s and 50s pieces. However placing this in a horror setting has quite a different effect than a drama.
  • Prop Recycling: Hilariously the wig that Bette Davis wears as Jane had been worn by Joan Crawford in an earlier MGM film. She didn't recognise it, as it had been re-groomed.
  • Product Placement: In true Joan Crawford tradition, Pepsi makes it into the film. At the beach, a man goes to the refreshment stand and tries to collect a deposit on empty Pepsi bottles. Bette Davis had a Coca Cola machine installed onset to provoke her.
  • Real-Life Relative: Bette Davis' real-life daughter, B.D. Merrill, plays the teenaged daughter of the neighbor Mrs. Bates.
  • Reality Subtext: Davis and Crawford had been rivals since the '30s and utterly despised each other in real life; in his Great Movies essay on the film, Roger Ebert speculated that "it's possible that each agreed to do the picture only because she was jealous of the other's starring role." Davis joked that her favourite part of the film was when she got to push Crawford down the stairs.
  • Self-Deprecation: The clips showcasing Jane's terrible acting are real clips of a young Bette Davis in some of her earliest films. Bette Davis picked them out herself, feeling they showed her at her worst.
  • Star-Derailing Role: For Joan Crawford. While the film did well, it was her last role of any note at all. She would end up starring in a string of B-horror movies for the next decade until retiring completely.
  • Throw It In!: Jane was meant to scream when she saw her reflection in the mirror while singing "I've Written A Letter To Daddy". Bette Davis had laryngitis at the time and all that came out was a hoarse cry. Immediately she and Robert Aldrich knew it was better.
  • What Could Have Been:


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