Round Five: Bette, Joan, & Oscar in The Eternal Triangle

DATELINE:  Feud Progresses

oscar night

As the Oscar race for 1963 heats up, Joan Crawford and Hedda Hopper begin a campaign to deny Davis her third winning Academy Award. Feud takes another turn for the dark side.

In the meantime, Bette calls on old pal Olivia de Havilland for comfort. Played by Catherine Zeta-Jones as the saccharine Melanie Wilkes, they commiserate at which one has the worst Joan in their lives (Joan Fontaine being Olivia’s sister).

Bette wants Olivia there at the Oscars as her escort to show not all actresses of their generation hate the bombastic thespian who is more like Margo Channing than she herself realizes.

Once again the series drops names like they were F-bombs. Cary, Doris, Loretta, receive calls from Joan as she touts anyone but Bette to win the Oscar. She needs to influence about 100 Academy voters to deny Bette the winning statuette.

Wearing a variety of ugly hats (her hallmark), Hedda Hopper hisses into every scene, played by Judy Davis in fine fettle as the confidante of Joan and detractor of Bette in the contemporary gossip columns of the era.

This episode has far more pathos and fewer guffaws. Surprising moments include the deep friendship exhibited by DeHavilland for her friend Bette, and the kindness shown to Joan by Anne Bancroft.

Again, the series production flashes with a rich tapestry of colors, especially in Crawford’s wardrobe, but also in the sets. Like poisonous flowers, the most beautiful and attractive hues will be the deadliest. This TV show features gorgeous set design