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“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Gets Mixed Response at Cannes

May 13, 1963 - Critics and moviegoers differed over Hollywood’s “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” at the annual Cannes film festival. Some 1,000 members of the audience gave the Bette Davis-Joan Crawford picture thunderous applause. Many of them were elderly people who remember Miss Davis (pictured yesterday with her daughter) and Miss Crawford in their heyday in the 1930s. But the picture left the critics cold. “I object to such gratuitous morbidity,” was a typical comment on the story of the demented ex-child star (Davis) who keeps her sister (Crawford), a crippled former adult star, locked up and half starved for years. Robert Aldrich, who directed the film, told a press conference: “There are people who live like that in California, but people outside the state find it difficult to believe.” Many thought that, despite the conflicting views of the film, Miss Davis’s performance made her the leading contender for the festival’s top acting honors.


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