Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Shining, and Corn Flakes

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is experiencing renewed interest because of the FX miniseries, Feud, about the making of the 1962 movie.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is an American psychological thriller film produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, about an aging actress who holds her paraplegic sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion. The screenplay by Lukas Heller is based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Henry Farrell. Upon the film's release, it was met with widespread critical and box office acclaim.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design:
Academy Award for Best Actress (Bette Davis, nominee);
Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black and White (Norma Koch, winner);
Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black and White (Ernest Haller, nominee);
Academy Award for Best Sound (Joseph D. Kelly, nominee); and
Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Victor Buono, nominee).

The Baby Jane film introduced Victor Buono (as Edwin Flagg) to film audiences. He was previously known as an acclaimed actor on Broadway. He would go on to be most famed as the villain King Tut on the television series Batman (1966-1968).

The surname Buono was created from the personal name Bona, which is derived from the Latin name Bonus, which means "good."

Openly gay at the time, a rarity, Buono died of a heart attack on New Year's Day 1982, at the age 43. 

The movie's director, Robert Aldrich, was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, the son of Lora Lawson and newspaper publisher Edward Burgess Aldrich. He was a grandson of U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich (who was the grandfather of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller and  great-grandfather of John Davison Rockefeller). Senator Aldrich’s great-grandson, John D. Rockefeller IV, is the senior US senator from West Virginia. Robert Aldrich was a cousin to Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1977. Nelson A. Rockefeller's middle name was Aldrich. The Aldrich and Rockefeller families were often intermarried. One name game in all this is "rock-a-fella" = a mason.

The name Aldrich is an English name, with the meaning being, "aged and wise ruler."

Robert Aldrich died at age 65, of kidney failure, in 1983.

In What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Aldrich set up a scene with Victor Buono and his character's mother, Dehila (played by Majorie Bennett), that has literally a field of Kellogg's Corn Flakes in it.

For more on the twilight language behind corn and corn fields, see here and here.

Intriguingly, in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining, there are several scenes with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes purposely placed in prominent positions. Kellogg's Frosted Flakes are sweetened corn flakes, and are symbolized by "Tony the Tiger."

Kubrick hid lots of things in his films.

Eyes Wide Shut

A 1963 magazine ad.

On March 7, 1999, six days after screening a final cut of Eyes Wide Shut for his family and the stars, Kubrick died in his sleep at the age of 70, after suffering a massive heart attack.

Overt conspiracy theories about Kubrick's death being related to his exposure of secret societies in Eyes Wide Shut link to "the obvious symbolism in the orgy scene" being "of the occult, meant to point you subtly to the film's ties to the Illuminati, or something." Source.

Stanley Kubrick took his time to create the theater of his frame in the pantry of The Shining.

In the documentary, Room 217, various theories behind The Shining are laid out. Others have tackled other parts of the film, including one short video on YouTube about the Frosted Flakes.

Tony the Tiger first appeared in conjunction with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes in 1952.

For more on corn, see here and here.

(h/t to Jenny for the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? screen capture.)


Syncra said...

Loren, thank you for connecting Danny's Tony to Tony the Tiger! That was a Shining enigma I couldn't crack. Awesome collection of corn.

Andrew said...

Dont' forget Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video. Note 41 seconds into the video ...
"Oh mother dear we're not the fortunate ones ..."