Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Review of Feud: Bette And Joan's: "More, Or Less"

Written by Gina Welch & Tim Minear
Directed by Liza Johnson

Joan: "This is just like 1937 again."
Mamacita: "When Hitler took over Austria?"
Joan: "No, when they labelled me box office poison."

And we're out of the filming process for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and into the awards and public release side of things. This movie was supposed to be the ticket into reviving both Bette and Joan's respective careers but as this episode demonstrated, that wasn't quite the reality here.

In fact, we saw both Bette and Joan struggle here. Joan started the episode by firing her agents, who were making no effort to secure any lucrative work, rejected a role from an inexperienced would be female director and lost her shit when she didn't get the Oscar nomination that she was setting herself up for getting.

I actually found myself not greatly feeling bad for Joan in this one. While I don't blame her for sacking her agents, I think she cut her nose off to spite her face by rejecting Pauline's offer, even if she raised points about Hollywood's antagonism towards ambitious women. To be honest, the more this miniseries continues, the more I find myself on Team Bette to be honest.

Bette in question got herself a cute little agent at the start of the episode and even put an ad in the paper for herself to try and secure more work. She even an old idea to Aldrich, which he rejected but at the same we saw her doing a television job and some variety gigs along with more publicity work. Even Bette wasn't always the easiest of people to get along with, I definitely admired her determination and Sarandon has been getting better in the role too.

However while Bette and Joan had their moments, neither of them were actually the highlight of the episodes. Nope, instead the honour goes to both Aldrich's assistant, Pauline and Mamacita, both of whom got some brilliant moments in this episode. I loved the pairing of the two and I loved their scene in the cafe where they were both discussing their lots in life and wanting more.

As for Aldrich, he had his moments in this one. I hated that he snapped at Pauline but I did enjoy his scenes with Bette and Jack (Stanley Tucci really throwing in a good performance for a truly detestable character) while also having to deal with Sinatra's temperament as well during production of his Western movie. Not to mention there seemed to be some foreshadowing with his wife's comments too.

- Bette's Baby Jane song was hysterical along with her giving dolls to the audience. She also guest starred in Perry Mason with a dodgy hairdo/wig thing.
- Pauline's script was The Black Slipper. I would've so watched that movie had it been made.
- Anyone else feel bad for Victor Buono and that poor assistant when Sinatra was having a strop on set?
- Chronology: A couple of weeks since filming for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane.

More, Or Less certainly delivered more great stuff than less of it. While Bette and Joan are still the focus of things, it was nice to see the likes of Aldrich, Pauline and Mamacita come more into the spotlight and again, I enjoyed seeing both Olivia De Havilland and Joan Blondell's comments again on both Crawford and Davis.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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