What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
When Henry Farrell’s novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? falls into director Robert Aldrich’s hands for the first time, Aldrich knows instantly that he can create a hit. However, the success of the screenplay starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford goes far beyond what Aldrich could ever predict. The film grosses almost ten times its estimated budget, a success partly credited to the enormous effort that went into promoting What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. The promotions for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? began even before the production starts filming and the amount of excitement across the country grew with each new promotion. Audiences receive these promotions with excitement and movie viewers across the country flock to the theaters in response to their intrigue to these promotions and viewers respond to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with shock, awe, horror, and most of all delight. The instant success of this film astonishes those who had predicted a flop and this film might not have seen such success if Warner Brothers Studio had not put such immense effort into getting people all over the country excited to see What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Robert Aldrich first came upon What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? after NBC turned down the option for the screenplay. Aldrich’s first initial struggles involve coming into ownership of the movie. He first purchased the option for $10,000, but while he tried to bring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis on board, the film option lapsed. Sid Beckerman bought the book and assigned Harry Essex, the screenwriter of It Came from Outer Space, to adapt it. Aldrich still wants the film, but Beckerman wants $61,000. Aldrich did not have the money, but his producer, Joseph E. Levine, offers to advance the money. Harry Essex receives $28,500 to release the film, Beckerman got the rest, and Aldrich receives the movie option. However, when Levine and Aldrich part company after the...
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