The feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford is one of Hollywood’s biggest rivalries, but does it deliver on the small screen?
As the topic of Ryan Murphy’s (Glee, The People VS OJ Simpson) new anthology series, Feud, the answer is a solid yes.
In the series opening hour, which is mostly set in the early 60’s, Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange, American Horror Story) is struggling to get roles and attention despite her Oscar win two decades ago. In her search for another Oscar, she is faced with opposition from studio heads, so she sets out to find her next project. She sends her maid Mamacita (Jackie Hoffman Birdman) to bring back books about women from the local library. It is while sorting through them that the two ladies discover ‘What Happened to Baby Jane?’, the themes of which resonated with her. She convinces director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina, Show Me a Hero) to board the project, and approaches her old foe Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon Cloud Atlas, ) to play the lead role of Baby Jane because they aren’t making films for women anymore.
But studio bosses would still prove to be a hurdle theirs in this instance is Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci, Spotlight) who has a preference for younger, prettier leads- a theme that is relevant for the time period. However, the film does get made and seeing the story come to life And the lengths they go to out do each other makes for very interesting viewing
Jessica Lunge and Susan Sarandon have so much fun with their roles and it is a pure joy to watch these two in their element. Supporting them is a stellar cast that includes Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, Kathy Bates as actress Joan Blondell, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland.
It is with some trepidation that I sat down to watch Feud Bette And Joan, but I really shouldn’t have been worried as this delivers in spades. Production standards are high with extremely authentic sets and music to help set the tone and feel of the era.
There is little to fault with Feud, so sit back and relish in some of the best TV you will see this year.
Feud begins 8:30 pm Sunday on Showcase