Friday, 29 April 2016

''What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'' (1962 film)- Review

Directed by: Robert Aldrich
Released: 1962
Country: United States

Genre: Drama, psychological thriller, psychological horror

Cast: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Maidie Norman

Rating: 5 out of 5


''What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'' might as well be a very difficult film to sit through. At times it can be heartbreaking and painful. Suspense and tension prevail throughout the film. At the same time, Bette Davis's character, 'Baby' Jane Hudson, managed to freak me out. Bette Davis's performance is more than splendid: it is highly noteworthy and strong, fleshing out the character of Baby Jane in a most efficient manner. Jane Hudson is definitely one of the creepiest characters I have personally ever come across. This is a character that is bound to get etched in your memories because it is so strongly developed. At the same time, Joan Crawford, as the gentle and tormented Blanche Hudson, gives a terrific performance as well. 

The story revolves around two sisters, Jane and Blanche Hudson. When they were children, Blanche was completely overlooked, while Jane earned success and fame as a singer. However, as they grew up, Blanche became a reputed film actress, while Jane's fame and success faded away. However, a sudden car accident left Blanche crippled and confined in a wheelchair. From then on, Jane started to take care of Blanche. Now they are middle-aged and Jane keeps Blanche away from the outside world, even preventing her from meeting neighbors and never showing her the fan mails that come to her. As time goes on, Jane falls into the depths of instability and psychological disorders, going as far as to torment Blanche in the worst possible ways, including starving her. How will Blanche escape from her mentally disturbed sister and her torments? 

I need to say that ''What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'' kept me tensed all through. The suspense is developed excellently. Both the central characters are strongly developed. Over the course of time I started completely sympathizing with the character of Blanche. I desperately wanted her to get rid of the torture that she was going through, I kept hoping for something to happen- something miraculous- that could save her.

And what about Jane? What did I think of her? Now that is actually pretty hard to describe. Over the course of the film her actions started to disgust me, I kinda started hating her, but at the same time, there were a few scenes- a few very emotionally intense scenes- when I did pity her. And by the time the film ended, I did not exactly know what to feel. It was a strange mixture of disgust and pity. I pitied her. And I felt disgusted by what she did throughout film. It was a strange combination feelings. Bette Davis's performance is excellent, strongly developing the character and making her one of the most memorable film antagonists ever.

The extremely suspenseful film culminates in a very- very- memorable ending. I could never even imagine that we would be greeted by a twist this unexpected. I definitely won't go into details about it but I can tell you this: the ending will leave you with a combination of feelings that can include surprise and shock and pity.

This is an excellently-made, excellently-directed film that manages to maintains its suspenseful, gothic atmosphere all through. At the same time, the performances of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford contribute to make the film a perfect one. I loved every minute of it, I loved the suspenseful atmosphere, the excellent performances and the perfect character development. 

5 out of 5

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

''Letter from an Unknown Woman'' (1948 film)- Review

Directed by: Max Ophüls
Released: 1948
Country: United States 

Genre: Romantic-drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


Middle-aged pianist Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan) receives a letter from an ''unknown'' woman: the person who has written the letter is actually Lisa (Joan Fontaine), who used to be his neighbor years ago. When Stefan had moved into the same apartment building as Lisa, the latter had become infatuated with him. Though initially a simple schoolgirl crush, Lisa's feelings for Stefan grew stronger and ultimately, she fell in love with him, listening to him play the piano in the apartment next to hers, sneaking into his apartment in his absence, and learning about music. Stefan, however, did not even know about Lisa, and when he met her, her love remained largely unrequited and she was forgotten. Years and years passed, circumstances changed, but Lisa's love for Stefan never did.

The story sounds pretty simple, but the cinematography, performances, music, and Lisa's extremely beautiful narration makes ''Letter from an Unknown Woman'' a hauntingly beautiful and poetic film. The film deals with a topic that I think has somehow touched us all: unrequited love. I have never seen unrequited love explored as beautifully as it is done in ''Letter from an Unknown Woman''. Joan Fontaine is perfect in her role as Lisa, bringing into life the emotions and sentiments of the character as the character grows up into a young, sensible woman from a teenager and her feelings for the pianist who once used to be her neighbor remains unchanged, unaltered. How often do we ponder about such things? How often do we actually move on after a painful episode of unrequited love? Some manage to move on, while some do move on but still stick to the memories of the moments they had spent with the person who could never love them back. The way Lisa's feelings for Stefan is portrayed looks extremely realistic. Louis Jourdan in his role as Stefan is perfect as well. 

I loved the film, I did. It is a beautifully poetic film and I would highly recommend it.