Great Villains: Baby Jane Hudson

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She wasn’t a mass murderer, a vicious gangster, or a supernatural sorceress, but Baby Jane Hudson still ranks as one of cinema’s most sinister villains, just for being herself: a sister, a child star, and an abuser. Played by Bette Davis in Robert Aldrich’s 1962 film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Baby Jane was named one of AFI’s Top 50 Villains, and well deservedly so, as she’s one of the most insidious villains in movie history—even without a sky-high body count.

TCM Fest 2014 Diary: Day 1

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This post summarizes the events of my first full day at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival on Thursday, April 10. Check out my introductory post about the festival here.

Ok, so I’m already contradicting myself with the title of this post, but for me, the festival actually began a day before “Day 1,” on Wednesday, when I attended two of the pre-opening night parties. Although not an official part of the Fest, these were an important part of the process for me, as many of the blogs that I’ve come to known and love don’t use a personal photo for their Twitter feeds or bios, so often times I have no idea who this person is whom I’ve been interacting with for so long—I know they’re funny and quick and love Robert Taylor, but none of the biographical details people usually lead with in real life. So, meeting people in person, and getting to connect face to name to blog was a real thrill, and everyone I met was completely kind and charming, even though at times I felt a bit like the new kid in class.

Strait-Jacket (1964)

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Strait-Jacket is a delightfully campy ’60s thriller starring the indomitable Joan Crawford, directed by B-movie legend William Castle, and written by Robert Bloch, whom you may know as the author of Psycho. With all those pedigrees in place, it’s no wonder that Strait-Jacket is a classic of Grand Guignol horror and a thoroughly enjoyable piece of high schlock.

The Hollywood Revue of 1929

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MGM golden girl Joan Crawford is to thank for a number of uncommon treats airing on TCM this month, including, happily, a rare film featured in That’s Entertainment:The Hollywood Revue of 1929. This film is most notable for being the first onscreen depiction of the now-classic “Singing in the Rain,” but there’s a LOT of other things going on in here as well… and the lack of focus, in turn, is probably why it’s not been seen more widely.

Mommie Dearest

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I became supremely excited as Mommie Dearest neared on my watch-schedule, because even though a lot of its fame comes from being so over-the-top, it’s a movie that’s definitely been absorbed into the collective pop culture unconscious. I’m always fascinated by movies like this, where I already know most of the plot, the famous scenes, lines, could probably identify it in a police lineup, etc., and yet I haven’t ever seen it. Someone makes a “wire hangers” joke here, a Simpsons spoof episode there, and over time I’ve unwittingly absorbed half the movie.