What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Two aging sisters, Blanche and Jane, share a large house, but they can not stand each other. While Jane was once a movie star as a child, Blanche is a star of the silver screen as an adult. Jane’s career ended when she lost her little girl looks, and her alcoholism didn’t help. Blanche’s career came to a screeching halt when an automobile accident rendered her paralyzed from the waist down. She and Jane were blackout drunk at the time. Now, Jane must look after Blanche in the house, but she does it begrudgingly. From pent up bitterness at her own film career ending, to envy from Blanche’s money and success, Jane goes out of her way to torment her sister.

‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starts in 1917 with “Baby Jane” Hudson as a vaudevillian child star. Her sister, Blanche, watches her successful sister’s career from the sidelines with a bit of jealousy. However, by 1935, the roles have reversed. Blanche is a successful movie star while Jane’s floundering career forces her to watch her now more successful sister’s career from the sidelines…with even more jealousy.

One night, after a drunken party, Blanch’s car crashes into her home’s gates, and she is paralyzed from the waist down. Jane takes the blame for it when she’s found three days later at a motel.

Fast forward nearly 30 years to 1962, and both starlet’s careers have faded. The two sister live together with Jane taking care of her wheelchair-bound sister. Jane is both an alcoholic and mentally ill, and although she takes care of her sister, she’s extremely cruel to Blanche for taking the spotlight away from her.

When Blanche tells Jane that she’s selling the house, Jane goes completely bat-shit crazy. She begins killing small animals to feed to Blanche, and finally commits an actual murder, when she kills her maid, to keep her sister’s abuse from authorities.

Finally, Jane’s illness reverts her to the childhood she so desperately wants to return to. With Blanche, near death, Jane takes her to the beach. Blanche gives a death-bed confession about what really happened the night of the car crash, and Jane happily leaves to get the two some ice cream.

Consumed by her insanity, Jane then dances on the beach before a crowd of onlookers; thinking they are her adoring fans. Two motorcycle cops, who’ve come to arrest Jane for the murder of her maid, spot Blanche lying motionless on the beach. They run to her aid as the movie ends.

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Warner Bros released What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? on October 31, 1962. Robert Aldrich directed the film staring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Victor Buono.

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