When the first vaudeville show opened on February 28, 1883 in Boston a new form of theater was born. These actors would put on shows that would lead them to travel across the country. Making little to no money at all, many of them were able to make names for themselves when movies became popular. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 movie that follows the life of a former vaudeville actress and her famous movie actress sister.
Jane Hudson grew up as the loving daughter to her father. The star of a vaudeville show that made her famous, Jane finds herself spoiled. In the background, we are introduced to her sister Blanche who is jealous of her sister and spends most of her time backstage with her mother. However, the limelight changes for Jane and Blanche. Blanche becomes a famous movie star, while Jane fails at moving beyond the vaudeville stage. As time moves on we are introduced to a paralyzed Blanche and a controlling Jane. Both sisters live together, yet they hate each other. Blanche spends most of her time in her home trying to convince Jane to let her go. While Jane spends most of her time reliving her childhood by playing with a doll that looks like her. Blanche stays true to the times. However, Jane is unable to accept that she is not the cute child star she used to be. When all of this becomes a reality for Jane she takes things out on her sister in a horrific manner that results in a terrible downfall for Blanche.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane premiered in theaters in 1962. This psychological thriller gives us a little glimpse into the life of vaudevillian life. Although, not the entire film follows this, we see through Jane’s actions what life must have been like for her. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane is a classic thriller that reveals what happened to some vaudeville performers once motion pictures became the biggest thing.