“Feud: Bette and Joan” vs. “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

Posted on March 24, 2017

Lorenzo, King of the Screencap, couldn’t stop himself once he got started.  Capturing 500 ‘caps just for the costume posts every week just wasn’t enough for him. Feud: Bette and Joan, it would seem, has lit a fire under his screencapping. You should’ve heard him giggling maniacally last night when he was putting it together.

Anyway, one of the more impressive things about Feud is its commitment to recreating specific iconic screen moments in the careers of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Lo already put together a post with several of their past glories recreated, but now that the series has concluded the portion of the story that takes place during the shooting of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? he spent his free time meticulously piecing together side-by-side comparisons of all the scenes depicted. Can you tell he’s obsessed with this show?

 

 

 

What’s interesting here is how committed they were to getting the lighting and camera angles exactly right, but how they fudged things slightly here and there on the costume and art direction. Another thing that becomes clear when you look at the scenes side-by-side is the difference in the acting styles. Lange is doing an excellent job of appropriating Crawford’s body language, but she’s not doing Joan’s more expressive facial acting style, mainly because she’s a better actress. If you get a chance, watch the “Jane, I’m dying…” scene in the original and then watch Lange’s version. Joan is very good, but Lange is simply better.

Sarandon’s Davis is also good on the body language and fairly good with the facial acting, but you never really get the sense of Jane Hudson’s insanity from her performance. Davis looks scary-crazy in every one of the screencaps here. Sarandon isn’t really going there. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of her acting. She’s playing Bette Davis first and Jane Hudson second. It would have been nice if the series spent time examining just how Bette managed to plumb those depths, but since the story isn’t going there, neither is Sarandon.

Still, they’ve done an amazing job of paying strict homage while still giving themselves room to interpret things in order to tell the story.

[Still: Tom and Lorenzo via FX, Warner Bros.]

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