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Thread: "Feud" - Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford, Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis - coming to FX

  1. #31
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    ^^ They weren't sisters. They played sisters in the movie, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."
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  2. #32
    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    ah, okay.

    i liked at the end when they were having dinner with hattie hoddy, or whatever her name was, and she wanted them to talk shit to each other so she could record it but joan and bette weren't hostile to each other at all and joan says in a syrupy sweet way, "what's for dessert?", and hattie goes, "we're skipping dessert. i'm already getting diabetes."

    and ew, fish jelly? wtf
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  3. #33
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panic View Post

    and ew, fish jelly? wtf
    You know, it's Gossip Rocks and I'm shocked it took this long for that to be mentioned. When I saw Hedda serving that to Bette and Joan last night, I thought of all of you. And canned whole chicken.
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  4. #34
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    Just watched and I love it.
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  5. #35
    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed it too. Susan Sarandon is on my shitlist but damn is she good and I could watch Jessica Lange read the phonebook. Judy Davis was amazing as well. So much fun.
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  6. #36
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    Why is Susan on your shit list? Am I forgetting something? I agree that I could watch Jessica read a phone book too.
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  7. #37
    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    Her whole Bernie or Bust shit rubbed me the wrong way so I wouldn't piss on her if she were on fire but damn that bitch can act.
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  8. #38
    Elite Member Nevan's Avatar
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    I've never seen Joan Crawford in anything and mostly (probably inaccurately) just think of her as she was portrayed in Mommie Dearest. I feel like she's the high riding bitch, but Lange is playing her softer and more insecure in this movie.

  9. #39
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    I'm trying to decide if I want to rewatch What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (it's been eons). I'm almost afraid it will ruin the TV show if I do, but now in the mood to see it. Hmmm.

    One thing I thought was interesting in Feud was Joan getting on her high horse about Marilyn's tits and how women were just letting it all hang out, and she probably did say those things, but I thought there were some very risque pics of taken of Joan early in her career, but were those proven not to be her?
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  10. #40
    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterslide View Post
    I'm trying to decide if I want to rewatch What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (it's been eons). I'm almost afraid it will ruin the TV show if I do, but now in the mood to see it. Hmmm.
    yeah, i'm gonna wait until feud is over before i watch baby jane in case feud reveals anything significant about the movie or the making of the movie that i'd not know about unless i saw it on feud.
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  11. #41
    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    Susan is awesome as Bette Davis. I was watching one of the 'behind the scenes' interviews, and Catherine Zeta prounced Bette, as 'bet'. Which then had me wondering if that was an acceptable/correct way of pronouncing it at some point. .

    Feud News, Opinion, and Analysis - The New Yorker. good article in the New Yorker. Sorry can't copy paste it on my iPad.
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  12. #42
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzyGirl View Post
    Susan is awesome as Bette Davis. I was watching one of the 'behind the scenes' interviews, and Catherine Zeta prounced Bette, as 'bet'. Which then had me wondering if that was an acceptable/correct way of pronouncing it at some point. .

    Feud News, Opinion, and Analysis - The New Yorker. good article in the New Yorker. Sorry can't copy paste it on my iPad.
    That is a really good article. Here it is:

    RICHARD BRODY


    WHAT “FEUD” MISSES ABOUT BETTE DAVIS, JOAN CRAWFORD, AND THE ART OF MOVIES


    By Richard Brody

    March 23, 2017



    In the minseries “Feud,” Susan Sarandon plays Bette Davis and Jessica Lange plays Joan Crawford.PHOTOGRAPH BY KURT ISWARIENKO / FXIt takes a big emotional life to be even a passable actor, and an enormous one to be a great one. Actors go beyond ordinary experience to embody a vast range of possible lives; to play villains and lovers takes ruthlessness and lust. Actors tend to live stormy lives, which are the very stuff of their art—both its cause and its effect. That’s why their lives are often even more interesting than their work.


    In classic Hollywood movies, there’s an extra, and decisive, reason to pay attention to the lives of actresses in particular. The fullest and most self-revealing artists in movies are directors, but because there were few female directors at the time (the main ones were Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino), the inner lives of women were rarely put onscreen in the manner of John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Douglas Sirk, and other great male directors of Hollywood’s golden age. In the absence of such self-revelation, the stories of actresses’ lives often provide our closest glimpse of the deepest substance of the art of women in the industry.


    That’s why the FX miniseries “Feud,” created by Ryan Murphy, is both irresistible and disappointing. (I’ve seen the first five of its eight episodes; Murphy directed three of them.) Based on the real-life story of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s tumultuous relationship on (and off) the set of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” in which they co-starred, in 1962, the show offers a fascinating glimpse at the power plays, the fierce negotiations, the deceptive maneuvers, and the sheer and shameless determination—and gender discrimination—that went into the making of classic Hollywood movies, but it reduces the mighty players—high-level creators of art, product, and legend—to brightly lit personalities whose substance stays tucked behind their machinations.


    The series’ angle, essentially, is that classic-era Hollywood was a hellhole, a place where vast amounts of money and fame were dangled in front of talented, shrewd, and shameless people at the price of their souls. It depicts people in a state of constant fear and desperation whose occasional best intentions are swamped in a mudslide of ego and greed. Personal loyalties are bought with favors and treachery, hearsay and gossip are magnified by repetition into something more powerful than truth—namely, a media-centered reality unto itself, where the fact that people are saying something takes precedence over whether what they’re saying is true or false. The ultimate standard of measure is, simply, money—the success or failure of a movie at the box office—and the power that the players wield depends solely on their ability to affect the commercial fortunes of others.


    The sexism endemic to Hollywood (and to American society at large—how many women were C.E.O.s or college professors in 1962?) is thrust to the fore of the drama, not least by the unchallenged reign of men in power at studios. When the director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) pitches the idea for “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” he intends it from the beginning as a vehicle for Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon). The studio head Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci) responds, “Would you fuck ’em?” (In the course of the series, the question gets its own ironic, practical answer.) Women in Hollywood at the time were either actresses (and therefore either objects of desire or bit players) or behind-the-scenes ancillaries, script supervisors or makeup artists or costume designers or even, sometimes, screenwriters. These women’s work was essential to the making of movies, but only a part of another creator’s world view. That’s where another subplot, involving the efforts of Aldrich’s right-hand woman, Pauline Jameson (Alison Wright), to become a director—working with a script that she wrote—comes in. (That episode, the fourth, is directed by Liza Johnson, who made the excellent comedy “Elvis & Nixon,” but there’s little distinction to the filming here.)


    Then there was a third kind of work: the creative nonfiction of gossip columnists, whose connections with industry people and whose agendas made them not mere observers or gatherers of information but very much a part of the Hollywood story (all the more so because studios exerted powerful control over actual journalistic reporting on, and access to, movie stars). The standard-bearer of this group in the miniseries is Hedda Hopper (Judy Davis), who comes off as a major behind-the-scenes narrative engineer, shaping the public perceptions of Crawford and Davis, which count as capital in an industry that runs on subjectivity and unconscious affinity.


    Still, one essential aspect of the story of “Feud” is that it dramatizes the process by which women’s stories are told by men. Unfortunately, that’s more or less the only story about Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and the other women in “Feud” that Murphy tells. It’s a series about stifled subjectivity that stifles subjectivity, about lives lived off camera that remain off Murphy’s camera. (For instance, I wrote here several years ago about the 1980 book “Conversations with Joan Crawford,” by Roy Newquist, and the insightful, knowledgeable, opinionated voice she displays there is not even hinted at in “Feud.”)


    Another essential aspect of the series is more general, and it’s one that Murphy strikes with a bit more clarity: the weird and mysterious efforts of directors to make substantial and personal work within the confines of Hollywood studios. “Feud” doesn’t even hint at the immense originality of Aldrich, one of Hollywood’s most original creators. Instead, the series focusses only on his ambition, though Murphy nonetheless catches the peculiar pathos by which Aldrich’s art is, if not entirely consumed, at least significantly eaten away by the life that being a Hollywood director requires him to lead—and vice versa. What Aldrich has to do, in the course of “Feud,” to make the movie that will be his comeback, is to court, cultivate, and manage the mighty egos of his two stars. He gets pressure and insults from Jack Warner; he gets middle-of-the-night calls from Davis and Crawford, who demand middle-of-the-night visits (with distinctly different outcomes); he’s got his own money in the production and won’t be able to pay his mortgage if the movie’s a flop; he gets to work on another movie, an ambitious Western, in which the co-star Frank Sinatra (played by Toby Huss) treats him like a servant.


    At the time of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” Aldrich’s career was in awful shape. But what “Feud” doesn’t suggest is, so to speak, who Aldrich was. He had a run of movies in the mid-nineteen-fifties, including “Kiss Me Deadly” (simply one of the all-time film-noir classics, instantly recognized as such by young French critics) and “Autumn Leaves” (for which he won a directing prize at the Berlin Film Festival), that catapulted him to the forefront of directorial artists—at least in the history books. In mid-century Hollywood, he was considered a successful director—for a little while—but his movies weren’t respected (any more than, for instance, Alfred Hitchcock’s were), and, when he had a few flops in a row, his commercial reputation vanished, too. That’s the backstory to “Feud”—Aldrich, an artist of the first order, was desperate for a hit.


    What “Feud” doesn’t get at, in any way, is the fact that “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” was something more than a box-office hit: it’s a wonderful movie that owes its success not merely to its director’s diplomacy and determination but to his artistry. Aldrich was no sentimental dupe on the subject of the movie business (he had already made one furiously acerbic inside-Hollywood drama, “The Big Knife,” in 1955, and he would make another, “The Legend of Lylah Clare,” in 1968), and “Baby Jane” is a movie of post-Hollywood wreckage. It’s the story of a child vaudeville star, Baby Jane Hudson, who was big on the stage in the nineteen-tens but a flop in nineteen-thirties Hollywood movies, and her older sister, Blanche, who had no vaudeville career but was a big star in talking pictures—until she became a paraplegic in a car accident for which the drunk Jane was held responsible. Now, in 1962, Jane (Bette Davis), who has cared for Blanche (Joan Crawford) full-time in the intervening decades, cruelly mistreats her and harbors delusions of restarting her career. Knowing that Blanche is seeking to have her committed to a mental institution, Jane even goes so far as to commit murder to maintain her life as is.


    This murder is of vast symbolic import: the person whom Jane kills is the sisters’ housekeeper, Elvira (Maidie Norman, an actress who, in real life, was her own advocate and, at times, her own scriptwriter on “Baby Jane,” but who doesn’t appear in “Feud” at all)—the movie’s only main black character. In filming a nineteen-thirties star whose self-delusional status depends on killing a black woman, Aldrich provides a clear-eyed view of classic Hollywood: the artistic glories of that period in cinema aren’t merely incidentally racist; in fact, they’re defined by racism, defined by their exclusions. (Classic-era Hollywood and its performance styles also define that era’s new styles of whiteness.) In “Baby Jane,” Aldrich also shows the judgment and command of men as debilitating and deranging—whether in vaudeville in 1917 or in Hollywood in 1935. His art is a homegrown American Expressionism that transmutes bile, violence, and a sense of permanent crisis into frenzied, distorted images and hectic moods. He dramatizes the mind-bending conflict between the sisters as a conflict of irrepressible desires and social forces, between self-image and the public image. This is the fundamental conflict on which most of his great movies run.


    In addition to overlooking the artistry of Aldrich, “Feud” overlooks Crawford’s artistry as well. That’s consistent with the long-standing critical view of the two performers, which reflects a fundamentally mistaken view of the cinema that’s prevalent to this day—a misconception of movies as a virtual fusion of literature and theatre. Intellectuals take pleasure in celebrating Davis, an actress defined by her theatre-based methods, artistic self-consciousness, and affinity for literary material. By contrast, Crawford started as a chorine and her range of performance wasn’t large; her theatrical craft was modest but her onscreen presence and projection of character was—and, in the rewatching, is—colossal. Davis represents the sort of high-mindedness that critics take for a sort of civic-improvement program in Hollywood; Crawford was the kind of actress who, many thought, needed improving. Davis, who was at her best in movies in which she parodied her extraordinary theatrical style (“All About Eve,” “Baby Jane”), got an Oscar nomination for her showier performance opposite Crawford. But onscreen, Davis’s performance is put together out of parts, with the seams and the decisions showing. It’s far less resonant, substantive, and soulful than Crawford’s more limited but unified one.


    Yet “Feud” depicts Crawford largely as an actress whose art and insight are inferior to Davis’s, as a celebrity who was, in her youth, carried through by beauty, and, in later years, by sheer audacity. (Susan Sarandon is far more successful in portraying Davis than Jessica Lange is at incarnating Crawford, because Davis, one of the screen’s great imitators, admits of imitation, whereas Crawford, who wasn’t much of an imitator, is inimitable.) “Feud” fails to see that the pure, masklike totality of Crawford’s performances was made not of pieces or interpretations but of a seemingly whole being who visually sings through the screen. Crawford’s opaque fullness of presence—a way of performing that’s distinct from theatrical interpretation—is the very essence of the art of the cinema. It’s exactly what “Feud” misses.





    Richard Brody began writing for The New Yorker in 1999, and has contributed articles about the directors François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Samuel Fuller. He writes about movies in his blog for newyorker.com.

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  13. #43
    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    I love mamacita. she reminds me of one of the characters in ryan murphy's american horror stories.

    i'm looking forward to seeing baby jane after this over. it looks so good.
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  14. #44
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panic View Post
    I love mamacita. she reminds me of one of the characters in ryan murphy's american horror stories.

    i'm looking forward to seeing baby jane after this over. it looks so good.
    Have you ever seen Baby Jane? It's fabulous!! Holds your attention.
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  15. #45
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    It is a great movie.
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