FEUD: More, or Less
March 27, 2017 8:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

As the premiere of Baby Jane approaches, rumors of "flop" are flying around Hollywood. But though critics end up divided about it, the picture becomes a huge hit with the public. The director and stars, though, struggle with how to turn any of that success into future projects.

Bob Aldrich hopes for a future directing meaningful films, but gets stuck with a comedy western featuring a tantrum throwing Frank Sinatra.

Bette grudgingly works the publicity circuit, appearing on TV talk shows. But she struggles to find any roles, and the best her new agent can get is a guest role on the Perry Mason TV show.

Pauline has ambitions to become a director, and tries to offer Joan her first script. But Joan turns her down as too inexperienced for Joan's ambitions. Meanwhile, Joan's despair at not finding new roles sends her into and alcoholic spiral, hitting bottom at the news that it's Bette who's been nominated for an Oscar.
posted by dnash (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love the sneaky nods to Mommie Dearest that continue to turn up. Like the scene meeting with her agents, seated at one end of a conference table in a wood paneled room - much like this confrontation with the board of PepsiCo. And that blooming tree in her living room - just remember "when you polish the floor, you have to move the tree!"

Warner's frank admission to Aldrich that he doesn't see greatness in his future - it's sad that Warner thinks that, but Aldrich has The Dirty Dozen and The Longest Yard yet in his future, along with several other hits.
posted by dnash at 8:28 AM on March 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here is Davis on (I think ) the full episode of the Andy Williams show (ytl); I can't see anywhere that she was rolling her eyes irl
posted by brujita at 10:41 AM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks for that! I was just coming back cuz I found this link to just the song performance from that show.
posted by dnash at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

That Pauline and Mamacita subplot was awesome. I'm so glad they included it. It's a great example of a subplot exposing the nuances of a larger theme.

I want to call this a guilty pleasure but that somehow seems to imply that it's trashy and it's not, it's practically literary. Kind of like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? itself. Critics couldn't like it because it was campy which disqualified it from being taken seriously.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:06 AM on March 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Team Mamacita here, too. She also gets the best joke in the episode:
Joan: Jackals. It's just like 1937 all over again.
Mamacita: When Hitler took Austria.
Joan: No, when they labeled me box office poison. I couldn't get arrested in this goddamn town.
that somehow seems to imply that it's trashy and it's not

But... it kind of is though, really? Although I think it hit peak trashiness in episode 2 and since then it's settled down into more of a tragedy: an ongoing exposition of "it's a shit business".

Jessica Lange is killing it as Crawford; I'm finding Susan Sarandon's Davis kind of blandly forgettable in comparison.

(Also: Stanley Tucci is spectacularly repellent as Jack Warner.)

I'm not sure the framing device of the 1970s interviews are really adding much here. Do we really need to hear "the twin curses of being a star are alcoholism and loneliness" explicitly explained to us? It feels almost like the show's not fully confident in its ability to show things to us.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:32 PM on March 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

My friends and I are loving this show so much; it's the perfect excuse for cocktails on a Sunday night. I think both actresses are killing it, as are the rest of the cast (and yes, Mamacita is the best supporting character!).

I felt the same way about Susan's performance that you do, We had a deal, Kyle... until this episode (and after watching a few old BD movies and youtubes of interviews). Pardon the self-link to my Instagram, but check out how much Bette and Susan resemble one another. Like... wow. I noticed that while watching All About Eve and was a-mazed. I mean... come on!
posted by heyho at 1:50 PM on March 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think Lange and Sarandon are both doing a fantastic job. Sarandon has never played a character, she's brought something to a character and played that. That's what they used to call acting before it turned into what it is today, responding.
posted by Stanczyk at 3:25 PM on March 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crawford died in 77 and was memorialized at the next Oscar ceremony...at which Davis appeared twice ( I can't find the segment with Gregory Peck now) Olivia De Haviland also presented an award, but it doesn't look like Joan Blondell was there irl (she died of leukemia in 79).

This was also the Oscars at which Vanessa Redgrave gave her notorious speech when she won best actress.
posted by brujita at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2017

Found it beginning at 9:01.

Debbie Reynolds leads the opening number.
posted by brujita at 9:42 PM on March 28, 2017

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