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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Divas from Hollywood's Golden Age Rampage Through the Sixties

Very interesting and fun Article in the new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal about Horror Queens (with the main spotlight on the rivalry duo Joan Crawford/Bette Davis and the somewhat surprising success of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?).

"“You’d think after all these years we’d all be troupers,” said Davis. Crawford gave her a withering look and walked in the direction of the Pepsi machine that she had arranged to have on the soundstage. “She spikes her Pepsi,” Davis said, not so sotto voce. “That bitch is loaded half the time.” If Crawford was drinking a bit more than usual, it was because she was apprehensive about shooting the scene in which Jane kicks Blanche all over the floor of the music room. Aldrich shot some angles with a Blanche dummy. Davis kicked it so hard that she looked as if she might hurt her foot. When it was time for Crawford to do the other angles with Davis, Crawford took Aldrich aside. “I’m not doing it,” she whispered to him. “I don’t trust Miss Davis. She’s going to kick my teeth in.” Aldrich shot a few more angles with the dummy, then carefully rehearsed Crawford and Davis. When the camera rolled, Davis kicked convincingly, missing Crawford’s head once, twice — and then connected. Crawford screamed and rolled over. Davis walked off. “She raised a fair-sized lump on Joan’s head,” reported gossip columnist Hedda Hopper the next day. There were unconfirmed reports of stitches. There were no reports of apologies. (Ibid, 316)"

Also spotlighted: Janet Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn and some really great moments from the backstage of some classical Horror Queen movies.