Bette & Joan Resurrected: Start Up

 DATELINE:  Great Stars in Nova-caine Mutiny

ClayBuchholz

Can the feud of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during their only film together, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, sustain itself for a docudrama miniseries??

Our first thought was—maybe this will hold up for a two-hour movie, but ten episodes?

We have not anticipated a TV series quite as much since Twin Peaks. In fact, we now anticipate the return of Twin Peaks on HBO later this year.

As for Bette and Joan, the notion of two great women stars (Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon) harkening back to the rich publicity years of Old Hollywood is simply delicious. Even if it turns into a miniseries Titanic, the worst films live in their own stewed juices.

We are booking first-class passage for each episode, icebergs be damned.

Director and writer Ryan Murphy gives us a garish Technicolor version of a bleak Hollywood tale. Its horror was psychological torture in the way Sunset Boulevard raked the studio system over the comeback coals.

Bette and Joan ultimately had to swallow pride to meet the prejudice of Hollywood. And, they suffered it.

Nothing proves to be an aphrodisiac like making former glamourous stars turn into harridan versions. Every scene is a hoot, and overripe. It goes for the jugular and the juices flow.

And we have only come to the first day of principal photography in episode one.

Yes, Feud is an event for those who long for the Golden Age of Hollywood, even when it was collapsing under its own self-hatred. Sarandon and Lange are letter perfect—and Molina as Aldrich is no slouch.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy miniseries.

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