This made-for-TV remake of the classic Bette Davis/Joan Crawford chiller WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? attempts to go even further over the top than the original, and at times even succeeds, thanks to the brilliant casting of the Redgrave sisters in the lead roles.
Young Baby Jane Hudson exhibits two distinct personalities: one saccharine sweet, the other tyrannically bratty. She is watched from the shadows by her sister Blanche, also an aspiring actress.
Years later, the sisters are past their prime. Blanche (Vanessa Redgrave) is a paralyzed former star who rose to success as an adult actress, while the drunken, chemically imbalanced Jane (Lynn Redgrave) never went past child stardom and may be responsible for the accident that caused Blanche's
Jane tortures her sister by cutting her off from the outside world, and attempting to feed her a worm-sandwich and a dead dog on a plate. When Jane encounters video-store manager Billy Cork (John Glover), who gives her a line about reviving her career, she becomes an eager little girl again.
Jane chains her sister up, and then goes on to commit murder when Blanche's physical therapist tries to free Blanche from Jane's clutches. After killing him, she manages to dress herself up and perform at a sleazy Hollywood cabaret hall. To Jane's horror, she is joined onstage by Billy...in drag
as sister Blanche.
In the end, Jane kills Billy, mistaking him for Blanche, and takes the real Blanche to the beach, where they had their happiest childhood memories with their beloved father. The cops save Blanche, whom Jane has buried in the sand, and drag the regressed Jane from the ocean, but not before Blanche
confesses that she was driving the car the night of the accident. The sisters make peace.
Frequently crossing the border into high camp, this remake provides high entertainment value and a few new twists to Henry Farrell's Hollywood horror story. Its worst moments focus on the bond between the sisters. The Redgrave sisters go all out in their respective roles, but when their characters
attempt to show genuine emotion, there's a forced tone to the proceedings. Still, in all, the film fares admirably when compared with the well-remembered original.(Violence.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: This made-for-TV remake of the classic Bette Davis/Joan Crawford chiller WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? attempts to go even further over the top than the original, and at times even succeeds, thanks to the brilliant casting of the Redgrave sisters in the… (more)