What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962


Robert Aldrich


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Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


After the film’s success, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were to be paired up again in another slice of Gothicism from the same director. It all went pear-shaped, though, and Olivia De Havilland stepped in to replace Crawford. See Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? location: South McCadden Place, Hancock Park, south of Hollywood, Los Angeles

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? location: the Hudson sisters’ mansion: South McCadden Place, Hancock Park, south of Hollywood, Los Angeles

Sold at the time as a psycho-horror ("Sister, sister, oh so fair, why is there blood all over your hair?"), the movie has since turned out to be an all-time camp classic, as the two great screen queens of the Thirties and Forties, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, were teamed for the first time in a low-budget schlocker.

Director Robert Aldrich, hitherto responsible for macho pictures such as Apache, The Dirty Dozen and Kiss Me Deadly, went on to corner the market in OTT melodramas with Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte and London-set The Killing of Sister George.

What Ever... was made by Warner Bros, but by the early Sixties the two stars were seen as has-beens, and the production was shunted off the lot to the ramshackle Producers Studio (now the independent Raleigh Studios), 650 North Bronson at Melrose Avenue, while the entire WB lot was given over to the big prestige musical, Gypsy.

Momma’s boy pianist Edwin Flagg was to have been played by Peter Lawford, but President Kennedy’s bro-in-law got cold feet, and was thankfully replaced by the magnificently fey Victor Buono (who regularly guested as villain King Tut in the 60s Batman TV series).

Set in a fast-decaying Hollywood, where Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) drives her old Continental along Wilcox Avenue, and at Sunset and La Brea. She calls in at the, now gone, Western Costume Co, which stood at 5339 Melrose Avenue.

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? location: Westward Beach, Malibu, Los Angeles

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? location: Jane and Blanche at the beach: Westward Beach, Malibu, Los Angeles

The beach, where secrets are revealed and poor Blanche (Joan Crawford) finally croaks, is Westward Beach, on Malibu’s west shore, just off the Pacific Coast Highway north of Los Angeles.

The old mansion, where the sisters live in a mutually-dependent hate-hate relationship is 172 South McCadden Place between West First and West Second Streets, Hancock Park, south of Hollywood.

The 1991 TV remake, Whatever Happened To… (fairly pointless apart from one plot twist cheekily aimed squarely at its target demographic) with real-life sisters Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, used a house a couple of blocks east of the original at – coincidentally – 501 South Hudson Avenue.

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