Baby Jane revisited

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Costume designer: Norma Koch (1989–1979)
Director: Robert Aldrich

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching the sibling creepfest What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Especially when accompanied by some post-baking brownie mixture. A girl cannot live on Maltesers alone.)

Norma Koch won an Oscar for costume design for the film. (She was nominated for tw0 others, Lady Sings the Blues, in 1972, and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte in 1964, also starring Bette Davis.) They may not be the most glamorous costumes, with the exception of some early flashback scenes set in the 1930s, but seeing Bette Davis as a 60-something woman dressed up as per her early child star days, and singing about her Daddy, is fabulously grotesque. Especially when topped off with a 6-year-old’s ringlets and that lurid stage make-up.

Joan Crawford has to rely on sheer presence, no gimmicks. But she’s got it in spades. Just don’t mention the rat.

Images: © Warner Bros, 1962


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