Thursday, May 17, 2007

Creepy Old Lady Ringlets

The are some decided advantages to growing up and only child, not the least of which is avoiding the inevitable fate that befalls every sibling duo sooner or later. You know the one I am talking about. We've all seen it happen a million times. One sibling is a spoiled child star, getting all the attention as the other one looks on with a mien that was the prototype for Carol Burnett's Eunice face as she ominously mumbles things like "I won't forget. You bet I won't forget!".

Years later, true to her promise, the plain sibling tries to run the other one down with a car, misses, ends up in a wheelchair and blames the whole thing on her would be victim, who was conveniently too drunk at the time of the accident to remember that she wasn't even in the car, let alone driving it. Racked with guilt, the drunk devotes her life to (poorly) caring for her crippled sister (who is a little heavy handed with the "help me" buzzer), goes crazy, becomes increasingly embittered, grows creepy old lady ringlets and spends her days reminiscing about her days as a too precious child star and offering drunken performances of her patented crowd pleaser "I've Written a Letter to Daddy" to an audience of none, while the invalid upstairs slowly wastes away. One thing leads to another. Dead rats are served on a silver platter (which, as an editorial aside, reminds me of Battista in Italo Calvino's must read novel The Baron in the Trees), maids are killed, bodies dumped. In short, former child star becomes a perfect candidate to rival the likes of even the nutjobbiest of hasbeens on The Surreal Life.

And the best part? It all ends with a trip to the beach. Thankfully, for those of us who will never experience the delights of siblinghood first hand, we can at least live them vicariously thanks to Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. And if that doesn't make you think it's worth watching, just know you will miss not only crazy Bette Davis in her ruffly penoir, which is perfect for running away from haunted castles on dark and stormy nights, but you will also never know that Iliad is the classic of dog foods. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?


Leslita said...

I saw this movie for the first time recently and was expecting it to be funny and campy but I found it to be TERRIFYING!!

Martina said...

Me too, but I LOVED it - not quite as much as The Innocents (my favorite b&W thriller), but it was still really, really good.