“Strait-Jacket” v Feud: Bette and Joan

Posted on April 11, 2017

 

Aside from the performances and the costume design, the best parts of Feud: Bette and Joan are the sometimes painstaking (and occasionally not) recreations of not just Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, but various other classic films in the Davis and Crawford oeuvres, like Mildred Pierce, Autumn Leaves, The Little Foxes, and All About Eve, among others. But this being the campfest it is, Feud also gleefully recreates the less, shall we say, artistic endeavors of the two stars, like Davis’ ear worm of a song performed on the Andy Williams show and with this week’s episode, a hilarious shot-by-shot recreation of William Castle’s Strait-Jacket, starring Joan Crawford.

 

 

While this wasn’t the most nuanced of Joan’s performances, nor (clearly) was this a production of high quality, it’s not a bad little campy thriller. Joan being Joan, she really does give this performance her all. For her, every movie was a potential Mildred Pierce, even when there are multiple beheadings involved.

Anyway, Lorenzo, king of the screencap (and obsessing over all things Joan Crawford at the moment), having already done the side-by-sides for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and various other classic films, just couldn’t let the latest episode’s recreation of the Strait-Jacket trailer go by undocumented.

 

 

As always, it’s interesting to note the differences in the acting styles of Crawford and Lange. The latter is clearly a superior actress in almost every way, but the former seems much more comfortable with the material. It’s also interesting to note the ways they fudged the sets and costumes, sometimes drastically. We’re not sure why the show has made the choice to keep Lange in a dark wig as Crawford, because she was light-haired by this point, and all through her limited scenes filming Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte.

 

[Stills: Tom and Lorenzo, FX, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – Video Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment via YouTube.com]

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