Yes, Ryan Murphy's much-anticipated "The Feud" promises to take us behind the scenes of the legendary "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane", showing us the no-doubt tense and downright nasty dynamic between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. But what was it really like on that fabled set?

The answer is "I don't know". But I did find the above studio-sanctioned six-minute behind-the-scenes promo piece for the movie, showing us director Robert Aldrich, viewfinder slung around his neck, putting his all into shooting the picture. Aldrich was always a bold filmmaker and he seems to have reveled in the dark (and often tasteless) script by Lukas Heller. Clearly he had no fear of his two (to me) terrifying diva's and the film still holds up terrifically well. This all started because I interviewed his daughter Adell Aldrich for a doc I'm shooting on the actor Burt Young. Adell was her father's script supervisor on a number of films and this was the first of them. (I believe you can see her at 4 minutes, fifteen seconds). Having met Adell, I started the pleasant but time-wasting task of searching Youtube for any footage of her father. I didn't find any at first. But then this nifty little reel turned up, as if yelling from the bottom of a well to be discovered. Perhaps it wanted its day in court, before Ryan Murphy's version of things hits the screens/devices/phones/ or however the hell we watch stuff now.

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  1. No matter how many times I see him, I'm always just a bit startled to view Robert Aldrich. I expect to see a lean, tough, slab-sided, granite-jawed, leathery-faced old SOB, face screwed into a scowl. (This IS the guy, after all, who directed The Dirty Dozen.) Instead, he's plump, soft, and chubby-faced; he could pass for Victor Buono's uncle. And he seems to have had a taste for kinky subjects. Along with Baby Jane and Charlotte, there's Lylah Clare, Sister George, Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice (which I think he produced, not directed, but still...), and the jaw-dropping Biblical epic Sodom & Gomorrah, which managed to out deMille DeMille; and, if it hasn't been done yet, should be seriously restored.

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