Feud (2017– )
8.9/10
681
2 user 9 critic

Pilot 

Cast aside by Hollywood, screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis battle each other when they sign up for What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Gary Merrill
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Peter
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Second Reporter
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Storyline

In two separate interviews in the late 1970s, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Blondell, in part, place the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and the difficult relationship between its two stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, before, during and after filming into some context. Joan and Bette are known as two of the most powerful actresses of their time. Bette in particular is known for her fearlessness on screen, while Joan was more protective of the image she projected both in her acting and personal life. It's 1961. Past middle age which is a difficult age for actresses to get substantial leading roles, both Joan and Bette are past what would be considered their acting prime, with Marilyn Monroe the Hollywood "it" girl of the day. Joan's latest husband, Pepsi executive Alfred Steele, has just passed away. Although Pepsi no longer pays Joan, she is still flogging the brand to appear relevant. Although her absence from acting was partly to focus on her life with Al, it ... Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Biography | Drama

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TV-MA

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Release Date:

5 March 2017 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hedda Hopper makes reference to Joan Crawford's "custom Billy Haines furniture." Billy Haines was a silent film star who became a Hollywood interior decorator after he was routed out of the film business for refusing to give up his relationship with his male lover. See more »

Goofs

At the lunch with Hedda Hopper, the song "Wives and Lovers" sung by Jack Jones plays. This lunch occurs during the filming of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", filmed in early 1962, but the song was recorded in 1963. Perhaps the song they wanted to play here was "Hey! Little Girl" by Del Shannon, released in early 1962 (the lyrics of "Wives and Lovers" start with "Hey, little girl...."). See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: Friends? You think it's friendship I want from her? Is that what you think? You're wrong, it's respect. It's the only thing I ever wanted from her, or any of them for that matter. It's the one thing I've never got.
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Connections

References Dangerous (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Liebesträume
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Liszt
[The piece is played as Joan gets ready at home for the first day of shooting]
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User Reviews

 
Drama at a different level..
9 March 2017 | by (Westeros West of Westworld) – See all my reviews

Slight spoilers..While the screen legends' rivalry didn't begin on the movie set -- the two classic Hollywood stars had competed for roles for years -- it certainly came to a head while they collaborated on Baby Jane. The premiere of Feud introduces that back story and establishes the pastel-colored world of early 1960s Hollywood. Think the sexism in Hollywood is bad now? Just get a load of how terrible things were then, when even two of the most famous and lauded actresses in the history of movies couldn't land roles because of their ages. At the time, Crawford and Davis were both in their 50s (Lange and Sarandon are around a decade older than each of their characters) and had been relegated to bit roles (Crawford) and -- gasp! -- Broadway (Davis). It was actually Crawford who came across the book of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and, in Feud at least, took it to director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) to get it made and even chose her rival, Davis, to be her costar. Even then, with two ultra-famous actresses attached, did they have trouble finding a studio to finance the film — everyone wanted to age the characters down. Age, however, is part of the story of the film-within-the show. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane tells the story of an aging actress - a former child star, who holds her paralyzed sister, an actual successful movie star, hostage in their Hollywood mansion. Ultimately, Warner Bros. chief Jack Warner (played here by Stanley Tucci) took a chance and the rest, as they say, is history. Or at least documented in this FX series...Today, of course, Baby Jane is a campy, darkly comedic classic -- but for young folks (or really anyone unaware of the movie's backstory), discovering that the behind-the-scenes drama was even juicier then the film is a voyeuristic delight. Feud's dialogue caters more to those in the dark about the rivalry, and leans heavily on establishing the historical context of the time. Everything is written with a wink, as if to say, "can you believe this s*** actually happened?" Both Lange and Sarandon play their larger-than-life characters with both sympathy and the cold, calculating nature necessary to survive as a woman in a difficult industry. Lange is more manic than her previous characters in the Murphy TV universe, while Sarandon inhabits Davis with a respectful homage to her down-to-business East Coast roots (and accent) without going over the top. They're not at each other's throats (yet) in the premiere, but it's made perfectly clear that the sexism and misogyny and ageism that both women have faced in their career will morph into weapons they'll use against each other rather than turn them against the system that treated them so horribly. Knowing that ultimately the feud will lead both women to deeply hurt each other both publicly and privately is sad -- so is knowing that not too much has changed in the industry in the past half-century -- but watching the women circle each other, just waiting for the right moment to release their inner petty bitches, is thrilling. The show doesn't necessarily say anything about the sexism and misogyny and ageism rather than simply point them out, but in the premiere, at least, it's enough to know that those things lurk beneath the surface of every scene. The set design and costume design are both incredible, and truly flesh out the campy, candy-coated world. Feud is exciting and fun to watch, and the entire cast -- Lange, Sarandon, Molina, Tucci -- is clearly having a blast. The moment when Bette emerges in her Baby Jane makeup will make you gasp, then cackle, and Sarandon (and Davis, too) seems to know it. The framing device that sees Catherine Zeta Jones and Kathy Bates as slightly older versions of Crawford and Davis' contemporaries Olivia de Havilland and Joan Blondell discussing the feud for a 1970s documentary about women in Hollywood so far seems nothing but a way to squeeze both actresses into the show. It doesn't detract from Feud, but it doesn't necessarily add anything yet. Yes, the super-sized premiere episode is long, but it's so fun to watch that you won't necessarily complain about the arbitrarily extended runtime. Plus, Lange and Sarandon are having such a good time that you'll want to stick around and watch them in action...


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