Adapted from the 1960 novel by Henry Farrell, Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a fever-pitched melodrama that centers on feuding sisters Jane (Bette Davis) and Blanche (Joan Crawford). Jane, a former child actress, has become a bitter alcoholic after spending her whole life in the shadow of her more successful movie-star sister, Blanche. When a terrible accident leaves Blanche bedridden, the blame falls on Jane. Both women’s careers grind to a halt and the pair end up living as recluses in an isolated Hollywood mansion, their egos clashing in a storm of envy, resentment, codependence, and revenge. Set against the real-world drama of Davis and Crawford’s much-publicized professional and personal rivalry (recently dramatized in the miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan), the film reignited both of their careers. Today, it remains a cult classic and macabre masterpiece of Hollywood cinema.

Lucy Fischer (University of Pittsburgh) will join moderator Patrice Petro (Dick Wolf Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center) for a post-screening discussion of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

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