|Genre:||Musical & Performing Arts|
Average review score based on 11 user reviews
In this corner we have "The First Lady of American Cinema," 11 Oscar nominee, 5 years in a row, the first woman AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient for a total of three Oscar wins, and very highly rated feature films until her dying days, 59 years into her acting career: Bette Davis, author of three autobiographies, including one written during recovery from breast cancer and stroke.
In this corner we have a desperate enough social climber whose ego is so weak she depends upon the "casting couch" while she's young enough to be seductive, in order to land part in films that are rarely registering any notice with any kind of awards boards. An egomaniacal movie star who used her adopted children like toy props to smile pretty before the cameras to earn brownie points. Then, beat and brow beat them into frightened abused children. A movie personality who, once aged, could not land a decent part without it being a ridiculous flop only later to be laughed at as camp horror flix.
There was no rivalry folks, except within the twisted and sick mind of Joan Crawford and a few of her most ardent male impersonators who made this joke of a film.
The common definition of a camp classic or cult classic, either one, is a movie that's so bad, such a flop when it is released. Decades later, when audiences want to have a good laugh at how corny the flix were, these flops develop a cult following. Camp is extreme exaggeration that's so over the top AND ridiculous that if it was meant to be serious is definitely can't be taken as such. Camp is Jack Lemmon in drag in "Some Like It Hot." He's hilarious playing a woman ala Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond. BUT, he's supposed to be. "Some Like It Hot" was definitely not a flop when released and it still isn't now.
Crawford's films like "Berserk," "Johnny Guitar," and almost every other film she made from the early 1960's to the end of her career, are considered cult films and are not to be taken seriously.
Warner Brother's used the fact that Crawford was commonly known to be extremely jealous of Davis, combined with the fact that Bette Davis didn't like phony people like Joan Crawford and was frankly outspoken about it, to create a spin of hype in order to promote the one film they did together, in order for it to become a big box office draw,"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."
In this corner, we have the Oscar nominee for Best Actress of 1963 for her brilliant performance playing the title role: Bette Davis.
In the other corner, there lies Joan Crawford, left behind in the dust, with a bunch of movies where Joan plays Joan playing Joan because that's all Joan can play: herself.
Just as another reviewer wrote, it takes two to make a rivalry. In this case, there was only one who lived in that mental state. The rest was production company hype. Since Davis had a marvelous sense of humor, she also found this amusing since there was never any contest.
I didn't like the film or the men who made all of the presumptive comments throughout it. Since the version I have came as a feature on a DVD, I didn't pay anything extra for it. I would NOT recommend this talk show done mainly by male impersonators of women in show business to anyone for any reason. It is boring, misleading and it seems that only the commentators are enjoying themselves. The show seems to be more about them.
This filmed discussion doesn't serve either the movie star (Crawford) or actress (Bette Davis) well. First, the speakers lack credentials and credibility. Second, their main thesis has been discredited by well researched scholarship in film studies as well as by credible film critics. Third, the entire film is flat out boring.
The commentators on this spoiled film obviously didn't do good enough research. Instead, they allowed their own biases to sway the film's content to be loaded with exaggerations of falsehoods. Most, if not all, of the commentators seem to have had vested interests in maintaining the stardom status of Crawford since they earn their livings doing male impersonations of her.
I was very dissapointed in the content of the film. It did not rise to the level of being credible. It's more of a tabloid type of gab session between male impersonating peers. While I'm a big fan of drag, I'm also a tough critic about shotty research.
Another reviewer wrote here that it takes at least two parties to create a rivalry. I disagree. It seems that Joan Crawford was delusional enough to believe she was involved in a rivalry all by herself. Perhaps that was due to her alcoholism and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder both of which ultimately killed her.
I think Crawford would have done just about anything to have her name linked with Bette Davis'. I believe the evidence shows that she felt that desperate when she was too old to use sex appeal to land decent parts in great movies.
Davis easily went on to make films with major actors and directors. She also continued to be nominated for countless awards and won many up to the end of her life. The quality of her work never suffered and neither did her self-esteem. She was also an author who is a delight to read now.
Unless this shotty B-flick is a special featurette on a DVD, I'd recommend not wasting either time or money on it.
Contrary to tons of evidence, films and books that keep perpetuating the bunk that Bette Davis was involved with Joan Crawford's vendetta against Davis are beginning to border on being libelous. This attempted smut-filled, tabloidish DVD isn't even entertaining. The commentators are so overtly biased that they express idolism for either Davis or Crawford. Charles Busch is one of the more ridiculous of these and makes a blithering fool of himself.
Here's what it's like (the DVD content): as if a bunch of drag queen groupies, who have past experiences of doing impersonations of either Crawford or Davis propped themselves up as experts on the topic of a phony rivalry between BOTH of the subjects.
It's hogwash to the hilt and a real bad attempt to make a pseudo-documentary. If there were a way to rate this with no stars I would.