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Directed by Robert Aldrich
USA 1962

 

Two faded stars caricaturing themselves, one Hollywood-baiting director snapping at the hand that feeds him, and a Grand Guignol hothouse of jealousy and celebrity fuel What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, a nightmarish psychodrama from Robert Aldrich. Silver screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis play two sisters desperately clinging to their long lost glory days. Grotesquely camp, it's one of the most acidic indictments of Tinsel Town since Gloria Swanson got ready for her close up in Sunset Boulevard.

A coup of ironic casting, Aldrich's film is one of the great movies about the movies. Enticing legendary enemies Crawford and Davis on-screen together, Aldrich cooks up some brilliant chemistry between them. Davis becomes 'Baby Jane', a vaudeville child star while Crawford stars as her movie star sister, Blanche. After a car accident leaves Blanche housebound in a wheelchair, Jane begins to crack up, tormenting her sister with beatings, imprisonment and rat suppers.

Excerpt from BBC films located HERE

 

Trivia: During production, Bette Davis had a Coca-Cola machine installed on the set to anger 'Crawford, Joan' , whose late husband was an executive at Pepsi.

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 26th, 1962

Reviews                                 More Reviews                            DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC LEFT

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

Also available in The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2 with Marked Woman / Jezebel / The Man Who Came to Dinner / Old Acquaintance and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Two-Disc Special Edition:
Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:13:32  2:13:40.137 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,698,794,980 bytes

Feature: 34,309,939,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1091 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1091 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: Charles Busch and John Epperson (same as original release)
• Bette and Joan: Blind Ambition
• All About Bette, hosted by Jodie Foster
• A Film Profile: Joan Crawford
• Vintage featurette: Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane
• The Andy Williams Show excerpt featuring Bette Davis

DVD Release Date: May 30th, 2006

Double Slim Keep Case
Chapters: 35

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,698,794,980 bytes

Feature: 34,309,939,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: Charles Busch and John Epperson (same as original release)
• Bette and Joan: Blind Ambition (29:50)

• Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane (6:40)
• All About Bette, hosted by Jodie Foster (48:12)
• A Film Profile: Joan Crawford (28:37)
• The Andy Williams Show excerpt featuring Bette Davis (2:07)

Blu-ray Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Digibook
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 35

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray (October 2012): This is for the 50th Anniversary of the film. Not much to say - the 1080P image is a little darker and crisper, no artifacts or noise and is still in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It looks quite solid in-motion. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate and the contrast definition is the most notable improvement - you can see some details more clearly - like sweat in close-ups. Such a pleasure to see this in the improved resolution. Audio is lossless and also ratchets up a notch. Extras duplicate the last DVD with the commentary from a long while back - although it is still worth a listen. Pretty much a must-own Warner masterwork with the two gals and the gruesomely pitiful story. Recommended!  

 

***

ON THE DVDS - NOTE: There was a single layered non-anamorphic DVD of this film put out by Warner in 1997 (yes, they were making DVDs back then!). It came in the dreaded snapper case and had a pan-and-scan version on the opposite side. We have posted a sample comparison image below - obviously the anamorphic image here is far superior in detail and contrast. No contest.

The new image looks great and only some very minor digital noise separating it from perfection. Black levels are very strong and I am totally satisfied overall.

This commentary is a duplicate of the one originally done almost a decade ago by Busch and Epperson and it shows how far DVDs have come. It sounds as though they are ill prepared and there are gaps - no where near as complete as it could have been for this film - certainly the weakest commentary of the boxset. The second disc of extras is superb - a lot of valuable and interesting facts are discussed.

In my opinion the new package is a must-own. I mean, does it get any better than this? Hollywood at its most toxic and enchanting. I love the all the hints at blurring the line between reality and the 'dream factory'. There will never be another star like Bette Davis and this film ranks as another penultimate foray in her impossible and extensive career. Somehow the caricature performances work to a 'T'.

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus


Disc 2

Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner (non 16X9) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner (2-disc Special Edition) Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

Also available in The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2 with Marked Woman / Jezebel / The Man Who Came to Dinner / Old Acquaintance and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Two-Disc Special Edition:
Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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