Judge Brett Cullum advises you to hang on, as it's going to be a bumpy night.
Miss Bette Davis on rival Joan Crawford: "She has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie."
Passport Video offers fans of classic cinema a chance to check out one of the most talked about feuds in Hollywood history—Joan "Shoulder Pads" Crawford versus Bette "I'll Burn You With My Cigarette" Davis. Honestly, both women scare me. I was convinced as a child that if they lifted their skirts high enough it would reveal male genitalia, and I had nightmares about it. The thought of these two dames meeting in a dark alley to duke things out is a frightening prospect. They were memorably teamed up in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Rumor has it Joan Crawford knew Bette had a bad back prone to giving out. So before filming a scene which Bette had to drag her across the floor, Joan strapped weights around her waist. Nobody really knows how much they fought, and members of the crew of that film simply said both actresses were professional, yet markedly chilly towards each other. And the funny thing is nobody even knows how their feud started. They did have a man in the way at one point in their early studio days, whom Bette liked and Joan stole away. But honestly, I think it was a professional rivalry that made for good press more than anything else.
Whatever the case may be, Hollywood Rivals—Joan Crawford vs. Bette Davis is a hoot, if only because it has tons of fun clips of the two "queens of Hollywood." Sometimes the disc even uses a split screen and choice quips from their movies to make it look as if they were flinging insults at each other. That's about the extent of the fun to be had. The documentary itself offers very little insight into the feud, but does elaborate on both stars and their lives, which had scary parallels. It's worth a look if you're a fan, or a female impersonator looking for audio clips for your drag act.
Technically, this bargain-priced disc offers grainy fullscreen clips and muffled audio. It's not bad if you pretend it's just part of the charm of a documentary made of old trailers and clips. Extras include full biographies of each broad, which go more in-depth than the main feature. So for about ten bucks you get a marathon of bitchy Hollywood divas and their greatest clips. Not a bad deal.
Hollywood Rivals—Joan Crawford vs. Bette Davis makes a perfect gag gift for your favorite hairdresser, interior decorator, or drag queen. It also makes a nice companion to a collection that includes All About Eve or The Women. I wish it went more in-depth with some scandalous stories about both women, but we'll have to save those for the tell-all biographies by their children.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Passport Video
• Hollywood Remembers Bette Davis
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