“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”? Another Unncecessary Remake, That’s What!

Is a Remake Sacriligious? Even if it gives us more Crazy to Love?

So it’s official, and has been for a month or so.  Whatever Happened to “Baby Jane”?  It’s Getting a Remake.  Which seemed to me to be one of the silliest decisions I’ve encountered since Hollywood tried to remake The Women and ended up pouring bong water over the embers of Meg Ryan’s career.

But naturally they’re at it again.  It’s clear they’ll never learn, because here’s a little sample of Hollywood logic for you:  “The idea is to make a modern film without modernizing the period.  It needs to resonate the golden age of Hollywood.”  These words were uttered by Walter Hill, who was chosen to be the director of this remake.  The man is doubtless an artist, whose upcoming Stallone film, Bullet to the Head, will rival Grand Illusion for delicacy and depth.  How the hell could anything resonate the golden age of Hollywood more thoroughly than Bette Davis impaling herself on Joan Crawford’s falsies, before kicking her to the head? 

And yet. . .and yet.  There has been a remake already, which somehow I missed.  And what a remake–the Redgrave sisters bring their combination of saintly martyrdom (Vanessa) and love-starved debasement (Lynne) to the roles of Blanche and Jane.  And holy buddha on a breadstick, it’s fricking GENIUS.  Ok, not in a good way, oh no no, but in the way that has Lynne Redgrave dancing on a stage in full 60’s bouffanted regalia, next to a drag queen dressed as her sister.  For me that’s like Easter and Christmas wrapped up in one nonfunctional package, and I adore.  Kudos to the late Lynne Redgrave for going the full crazy-as-a-soup-sandwich distance. 

And now we’re getting another, high-budget, remake whether we like it or not.  Meryl Streep needs something to do between romcoms, so here we go. Now.  We all know La Streep will get her pick of roles, and, based on the truism that it is a far far better thing to serve a rat dinner than to be thus served, we know she will choose Jane over Blanche.   But who could take the role of Blanche and invest it with true Golden-Age-Hollywood rolling-eyed self-pity, served with a side of eyelashes and jazz hands?  (I mean, now that Michael Jackson’s not available.)

My suggestion, and the only one who makes sense:


And yes, she should wear the orange batwing jumpsuit in the wheelchair.

FYI, my cinematic sausages, anyone who wants to know the full skinny on Davis and Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane needs to find a copy of Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud.  And then take your phone off the hook because it’s chock-full of things you wanted to know but were too proud to ask!  Sample: “No, I haven’t slept with as many people as Joan Crawford.  But, apart from Lassie, who has?”  ~Bette Davis.