When I start to feel fatigued by feel-good sibling stories, I turn to movies that show us the darker side of familial bonds. After all, sisters don’t always perform cute song-and-dance numbers like Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in White Christmas. Sometimes, sisters are merely two women who share some DNA and nothing else. And then there’s a darker sub-category, exclusively reserved for the Hudson sisters in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Disc/Download).
This film had been on my watch list for a long time, and I finally took the plunge last summer after watching Ryan Murphy’s Feud miniseries. Surely, I thought, the movie isn’t nearly as bonkers as the making of the movie. Oh, how wrong I was. With over-the-top performances from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, this tale of an aging child actress imprisoning (and torturing) her paraplegic sister in a Hollywood mansion is equal parts scary and campy. With a perfect blend of horror and suspense, the audience is taken on Baby Jane’s journey into madness, as resentment turns to homicidal rage. Davis’s clown makeup is truly terrifying, and she’s absolutely brilliant in the role of a washed-up vaudeville star. Crawford provides the melodrama, as intense as those trademark eyebrows. I’m sure Blanche was probably wishing she’d invested in an elevator before her little sister went crazy, however after a recent viewing of Olivia De Havilland in Lady in a Cage, I’m rethinking that idea. Baby Jane looks like the type to cut the power.
As many people are aware, Joan Crawford was not just an actress, but also a cola executive! Through her marriage to Pepsi-Cola’s president and CEO, she held a seat on the board of directors and often shilled the beverage in print ads and appearances. This week, I’m making a drink in honor of “Miss Pepsi” herself. While watching What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, I recommend drinking this Paralyzer cocktail.
4 oz Pepsi
1 oz Coffee Liqueur
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Milk
1 Maraschino cherry
Fill a glass with ice, and pour in the Pepsi. In a shaker, combine coffee liqueur, vodka, and milk. Gently pour over the Pepsi slowly. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
This drink definitely seems like something Jane would’ve enjoyed while posing next to her lookalike doll, or perhaps carried on a silver tray for her big sis. I don’t know how well it pairs with “dead rat”, but if you’re #teamCoke like me, you’ll still get a good scream. Cheers!