Feud: Bette and Joan
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Written by Ryan Murphy, Jaffe Cohen, and Michael Zam
THE TITLE of this eight-part series that aired on FX refers to the famous feud between those titans of Tinseltown who costarred in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Following on the heels of Ryan Murphy’s foray into true crime TV, 2016’s People v. O.J. Simpson, the new series is a love letter to the making of the Davis-Crawford vehicle, which was released by Warner Brothers in 1962.
Directed by Robert Aldrich, Baby Jane centered around two sisters, Blanche (Crawford), a paraplegic shut-in who was a starlet of yesteryear, and her younger sister Jane Hudson (Davis), a child star of vaudeville turned drunken sadist. In the first episode, Aldrich’s assistant pitches the plot as a “horror-thriller: two broads, former movie stars, a cripple and her crazy sister battling it out in their Hollywood home.” Meanwhile, Crawford is busily hunting for a script in which she could see herself in the starring role, and to that end she dispatches her personal assistant, whom she lovingly calls “Mamacita,” to bring her a stack of pulpy novels for her to sift through. “Nothing Sapphic,” she adds.