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What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Review


Essential
Watching What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? fills one with a sense of nostalgia for a time they may never have known but can always relive. In 1962, Baby Jane's year of birth, the cinema was a wonderful place to be. Films mattered, genres were being stretched, and classics were produced. To Kill a Mockingbird, Lolita, The Manchurian Candidate, Lawrence of Arabia, and Baby Jane - it was quite a year. It was also the time when the late Bette Davis, Hollywood's own Elizabethan matriarch, was performing. A vehicle for Davis and archrival Joan Crawford, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a stunning testimony to a golden age.

Baby Jane Hudson (played in her older years by a gloriously dilapidated Davis) was a star. As a goldie-locked kindergarten beauty, Baby Jane performed to sold-out audiences in 1917. Sister Blanche, then the plainer of the two, was always reminded of that depressing reality. Standing off-stage left, enviously watching her sister screech through a set of syrupy "I love you daddy" numbers, Blanche could only dream of a future when the audience's eyes and inclinations might shift. And they do. Flashing decades forward with superb audacity, director Robert Aldrich introduces us to a new world, where Blanche is a superstar who, though crippled, is still adored by her fans. Baby Jane is as Baby Jane was destined to be, a pale shadow of her juvenile success.

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Robin And The 7 Hoods Review


OK
The legend of Robin Hood gets a curious and not entirely successful updating with Frank Sinatra's Robin and the 7 Hoods, with Sinatra taking the role of a 1930s gangster in Chicago -- at least an alternate-universe version sans Al Capone.

Sinatra plays a low-level gangster named Robbo, and his band of merry men (with usuals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., plus a cryptically cast Bing Crosby) battles the malicious big-time hood Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk, quite funny here). Things aren't going so well until Robbo comes across $50 grand he refuses to accept. He ends up donating the money to charity -- and suddenly, the legend of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, is born.

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4 For Texas Review


Bad
One horrible idea from start to finish -- perhaps the Ishtar of its era. In fact, 4 for Texas has a lot in common with that film -- big stars (Frank and Dino), a desert setting, and a series of failed attempts at comedy. They even brought in The Three Stooges but nothing can help this train wreck, as our two Rat Packers and two of their favorite gals (Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress) spar over the poker table in 1870s Galveston.

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