Miniseries rekindles decades old fight with “Feud”
March 1, 2017
Bette Davis reportedly once said about her Hollywood arch-nemesis “The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’”
They were beautiful, stunning and brilliant both on and off the screen. Their lives seemed to be a never ending parade of glamour and success. Davis and Crawford embodied elegance and grace, traits they both exuded in efforts to make the other pale in comparison.
A longstanding feud between the two huge names in Hollywood toward the end of the so-called Golden Age of cinema, Davis and Crawford were known for their transformative
abilities on screen and their famous ruthlessness toward each other offscreen.
To convey such entertainment, Ryan Murphy has created a new miniseries appropriately titled “Feud,” which follows Davis, played by Susan Sarandon, and Crawford played by Jessica Lange through the tumultuous time leading up, during filming and after the production of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”
Murphy made an excellent decision casting two huge names in the current Hollywood day and age. Sarandon and Lange are so well known and so fantastically versatile that they seemed to have no difficulty slipping into such iconic characters. Not to mention that Sarandon looks uncannily alike to Davis.
In an era where it was difficult for women to be taken seriously in their profession and the constant dismissal of those who were deemed “headstrong,” Davis and Crawford were icons and role models for young women to idolize. The Golden Age of cinema was a time where actors and actresses had talent and passion. Rising from the ashes following the Great Depression, Davis and Crawford provided audiences with an escape from reality.
For many, this miniseries will be a first look into the glamorous lives of Davis and Crawford. It expands on the
mutual contempt and fear held by both actresses; that they would one day fade out of the Hollywood spotlight and being replaced by newer and younger actresses.
While the show appears to appeal to the more sympathetic viewers who might empathize with the two aging stars, a more serious undertone is taken regarding the level of seriousness depicting the dismissal of women when they are deemed “too old,” for roles usually taken on by a younger person.
In an almost devastatingly tragic way, the show touches on the aspects of ageism and blatant disregard for disposable talent. The two women, obviously worn out and tired from having worked desperately for what they felt passionate about only to, in return, not receive the same affection and adoration from the careers they chose for themselves. Ultimately being forced to accept that their glory days were quickly disappearing behind them, the women are depicted as appearing to be washed up and desperate for work. This fact is one of the major reasons the women decided to pair up to make “Baby Jane,” with the hopes that they would be catapulted back into the picture and award scenes.
Amidst the dramatics, the endless flow of alcohol and the bombardment of continuous insults hurled across the screen, the audience is able to relish in a odd sense of comfort. This comfort that stems from the fact that while these women were dealing with such a tough and unpaved route to stardom and success, the film industry has
become increasingly more progressive. Lange herself is a striking 68-year-old who has continued to reap the affection bestowed upon her from the glowing success from “American Horror Story.” Juxtaposed to Crawford who was in her mid-50’s when she filmed “Baby Jane,” and was presumed to be finished with her career.
A powerhouse of talent and dripping with Emmy potential, the series is set to premiere on FX on March 8.