Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

172 South McCadden Place, Los Angeles
Fridays in March the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles is showing gothic films about Hollywood and not surprising one of the first films they showed was the 1962 classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The story is about former child star Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford), a movie star forced into retirement due to a crippling accident. Jane takes care of her crippled sister in their old Hollywood mansion but increasingly mistreats her as her mental health begins an aggressive downward spiral.

Yesterday I went around an took some photographs of a few of the locations which can be seen in the film. They are almost all in the Larchmont neighborhood of Los Angeles near Paramount Studios. The first picture up at the top is the home where the characters played by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford live. Below is a screenshot of the house as seen in the film.

170 South McCadden Place, Los Angeles

Bette Davis going to Citizen News building in Hollywood

The above screenshot is of Bette Davis going to the Citizen News building in Hollywood. It's here that Davis pays to put an ad in the paper for a songwriter. Below is a picture looking at the same location as it appears today.

If you look closely you can see that the street lights have not changed. However, the Mercedes Benz dealer is long gone. As for the Citizen News building which was built in 1929 there is little going on here from what I can tell. The beautiful building looks to be vacant.

Citizen News Building 1545 Wilcox Ave. Hollywood

The next screenshot below is of Davis running more errands. The location is the 200 block of Larchmont Blvd, very close to the location of the mansion. Larchmont Blvd is like the main street of this neighborhood. There are many little small shops and the area has a very quaint feel to it. Unfortunately, like many communities, this area is starting to be invaded by larger franchise businesses.
Below is the same street corner as it looks today.

200 N. Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles

200 N. Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles

Near the end of the film when Edwin Flagg (Victor Buono) discovers what Davis has done he takes off running from the mansion. We see him running down Clinton Street to the corner of Larchmont Blvd. Below is screenshot of Flag at this intersection and a photo I took recently of the same intersection today.

Larchmont Blvd/Clinton St. Los Angeles

Larchmont Blvd/Clinton St. Los Angeles

650 N. Bronson Avenue, Raleigh Studios

Above is a photo of the Raleigh Studios which is located directly across the street from the more famous Paramount Studios. It was at Raleigh where the interior scenes were filmed for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? which at the time of the film was known as Producers Studios. If you look to the right of the photo you will see some shorter buildings. It's on the other side of these buildings where we see at the beginning of the movie two Hollywood producers talking about what they're supposed to do with Baby Jane Hudson, who's disgraceful acting has made her worthless to the studio.
It's amazing that this film got made with both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford together. Apparently, there was much hostility between the two star actresses. I love some of the stories about the making of this film. My favorite is the one that during the scene where Davis is kicking Crawford that she actually did kick Crawford in the head forcing her to get stitches. In retaliation, when it came to the scene when Davis was to drag Crawford's body up the stairs, Crawford had put weights under her outfit which resulted in Davis straining her back.

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