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DIShGo

"Feud" (2017-) An FX Series Highlighting Deliciously Tawdry Catfights - Season One is between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

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DIShGo   

The promo for the series "Feud: Bette and Joan" caught my eye, having recently watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", and reading about the rivalry between its two stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Usually by the time I hear about a series it is several seasons in, requiring binge watching to catch up. Fortunately, this one just premiered last month, so I was able to catch the first episode the night it aired.

As expected, the show is campy fun. There are some big names, too. Stanley Tucci, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are a few of the stars. Lange is completely transformed into Crawford. I didn't have the same feeling with Sarandon. She does have Bette Davis eyes, but watching Sarandon portray Davis, I was constantly aware I was watching Sarandon. Perhaps it is because her looks weren't as dramatically transformed as her co-star's.

In the fourth episode, a reference is made to "Kiss Me Deadly," another 1950s era film that I recently watched which is also reviewed on this site. It is still too early to tell if this show will be worth watching, but I am giving it a shot because who doesn't enjoy a little retro camp from time to time?

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DonRocks   
On 4/1/2017 at 7:51 PM, DIShGo said:

The promo for the series "Feud: Bette and Joan" caught my eye

Feud: Bette and Joan (Season One: Mar 5, 2017 - Apr 23, 2017)

1.1 - "Pilot" - Mar 5, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-18 at 10.51.21 AM.png
Directed by Ryan Murphy (Director of "From the Ashes of Tragedy" on "American Crime Story")
Written by Ryan Murphy (Purchased "Best Actress" in 2009), Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam (Co-Writers of "Best Actress")

1.2 - "The Other Woman" - Mar 12, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-18 at 11.02.20 AM.png
Directed by Ryan Murphy (2)
Written by Jafffe Cohen (2), Michael Zam (2), and Tim Minear (3 Emmy nominations as Executive Producer of "American Horror Story")

1.3 - "Mommie Dearest" - Mar 19, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-18 at 12.09.29 PM.png
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton (Director of: "Tell It to the Frogs" and "What Lies Ahead" on "The Walking Dead")
Written by Tim Minear (2)

1.4 - "More, or Less" - Mar 26, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-23 at 11.41.54 PM.png
Directed by Liza Johnson (Director of "Elvis & Nixon")
Written by Gina Welch (Writer of "Handshake Deal" and "One Night in Yerevan" on "Ray Donovan"), Tim Minear (3)

1.5 - "And the Winner Is... (The Oscars of 1963)" - Apr 2, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-23 at 11.45.11 PM.png
Directed by Ryan Murphy (3)
Written by Ryan Murphy

1.6 - "Hagsploitation" - Apr 9, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-23 at 11.54.48 PM.png
Directed by Tim Minear (4)
Written by Tim Minear and Gina Welch (2)

1.7 - "Abandonned!" - Apr 16, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-24 at 12.03.11 AM.pngScreenshot 2017-04-24 at 12.03.14 AM.png
Directed by Helen Hunt (Academy Award Winner for Best Actress as Carol Connelly in "As Good As It Gets")
Written by Jaffe Cohen (3) and Michael Zam (3)

1.8 - "You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?" - Apr 23, 2017 - Screenshot 2017-04-24 at 3.55.36 PM.png
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton (2)
Written by Gina Welch (3)

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Heck, yes it's worth watching! What's the "Kiss Me Deadly" reference? I watched the episode, but I must have missed it.

Note that this-past February, a decision was made to renew "Feud" for a second season, which will be called "Feud: Charles and Diana," so it looks like they're going for the all-time-famous dirty-laundry motif. I'm looking forward to watching season one (season two won't debut until 2018).

The opening credits are hi-*lar*ious! A screenshot simply does not do them justice:

Screenshot 2017-04-17 at 8.37.07 AM.png

Is "Feud" presenting a true story, in that the entire existence of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" is due to Joan Crawford having found the book in a library, and was it her who recruited Bette Davis? Or are there dramatic liberties being taken with this?

If anyone out there reading this has been following along with the Films Forum, and has recently watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and "All About Eve," those two movies alone are more-than-sufficient to make watching the Pilot episode "must-see TV."

I find it difficult to believe they portrayed a 62-year-old Olivia de Haviland (in 1978) with a 47-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones. Not only is Zeta-Jones 15-years younger, but she's just too beautiful to play de Haviland (a lovely lady, but I don't think Zeta-Jones works if they're going for realism, and it appears that they are). Two items of note: Not only was Olivia de Haviland's sister Joan Fontaine, but on Jul 1, 2017, Olivia de Haviland will be 101-years young!

A much more believable portrayal is that of Stanley Tucci playing Jack Warner - the resemblance is fairly remarkable:

TucciWarner.jpg

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DIShGo   
12 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Heck, yes it's worth watching! What's the "Kiss Me Deadly" reference? I watched the episode, but I must have missed it.

...

Is "Feud" presenting a true story, in that the entire existence of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" is due to Joan Crawford having found the book in a library, and was it her who recruited Bette Davis? Or are there dramatic liberties being taken with this?

If anyone out there reading this has been following along with the Films Forum, and has recently watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and "All About Eve," those two movies alone are more-than-sufficient to make watching the Pilot episode "must-see TV."

I was mistaken. The "Kiss Me Deadly" reference was in the fourth episode, not the pilot. Having recently enjoyed so many films from this era, I am finding this series fun to watch. It is kind of like reading the X-Ray tidbits that appear alongside an old film you stream on Amazon. There have been several references to "All About Eve," for example, a film I just watched last night and thoroughly enjoyed.

The wrangling that goes on between the directors, the producers, the studios and their stars in fascinating. I find that aspect more interesting than the catfight storyline. Really, the premise is more about the challenges aging actresses faced in that era than anything else.

I also like that the Bette and Joan story is just one season. It feels like less of a time commitment, and the writers aren't tempted to drag out the storyline. As for how factual it is, there are several "Feud" fact checking pieces being written that address what is real and what has been enhanced for dramatic effect.

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DonRocks   
18 hours ago, DIShGo said:

I also like that the Bette and Joan story is just one season. It feels like less of a time commitment, and the writers aren't tempted to drag out the storyline. As for how factual it is, there are several "Feud" fact checking pieces being written that address what is real and what has been enhanced for dramatic effect.

I'd be curious to know if the scene in episode 1.3, "Mommie Dearest," that runs from 9'25" through 13'45" (in the restaurant) is true - if so, it is incredibly tragic, and I think this may be the moment when both actresses - Lange and Sarandon - really come into their own (I actually have no problem with Sarandon playing Davis, and I suspect as you get used to it, you'll come around as well). More importantly, I also think that, if this four-minute discussion actually occurred as portrayed, there is no way that the two - Davis and Crawford - could truly hate each other at a cellular level.

Given the main premise of this episode, I *love* the title, because it takes you down the wrong road.

I saw the reference to "Kiss Me Deadly" in Episode 4. :)

You know what? I had *no idea* that Joan Blondell was being played by Kathy Bates. To be honest, I also have no idea who Joan Blondell is (I'm going to Google her now). Whoa! I'd say they should have switched Bates and Zeta-Jones. Meh, I was too hard on De Haviland - she was very pretty also - I primarily remembered her as "the mousy girl from "Gone with the Wind." 

Have you ever heard that phrase, "You don't really learn something until you teach it?" I think there's a lot of truth to that, and I think this sort-of "meta-movie" is a variation on that theme - I'm learning *so much* about Davis, Crawford, and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" that I never knew before, all because I'm essentially watching "a movie about a movie" - in essence, I think both of these things force you to examine a subject a second (or third, or fourth) time, and that really solidifies your knowledge.

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DIShGo   
2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I'd be curious to know if the scene in episode 1.3, "Mommie Dearest," that runs from 9'25" through 13'45" (in the restaurant) is true - if so, it is incredibly tragic, and I think this may be the moment when both actresses - Lange and Sarandon - really come into their own (I actually have no problem with Sarandon playing Davis, and I suspect as you get used to it, you'll come around as well). More importantly, I also think that, if this four-minute discussion actually occurred as portrayed, there is no way that the two - Davis and Crawford - could truly hate each other at a cellular level.

I don't remember exactly what happened in that restaurant scene, but I have now watched all of the episodes that have aired, and there are a handful of moments when the pair seem more like allies than enemies. Is that the scene where they talk about their fathers? The series depicts them as two aging actresses facing nearly identical challenges, but the baggage from their pasts won't allow them to mend their fences. I find myself rooting for them to get along. What a powerful force they can be when they join together instead of tearing each other down.

As for Sarandon, yes, she grew on me right away. I think she is perfectly cast as Davis. I saw her on a talk show where she discussed the role. She said the male-run studios of that era pitted women against one another, and they had to fight each other to advance their careers and succeed. Once women began participating in writing, directing and producing, that changed, she said, allowing women to join together instead of ripping each other apart. 

Sarandon also said Davis approached her when she was a young actress, just starting her career, and asked if she would play her in a project. Sarandon said her agent declined, thinking the part wasn't suitable for her at that time.

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DonRocks   
8 minutes ago, DIShGo said:

I don't remember exactly what happened in that restaurant scene, but I have now watched all of the episodes that have aired, and there are a handful of moments when the pair seem more like allies than enemies. Is that the scene where they talk about their fathers?

Yes.

I just saw the ending of 1.4 "More, or Less" - I instantly thought of the ending of "Night Gallery" SE 2, EP 22a: "The Caterpillar" - the one with the earwig. 

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DIShGo   
2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Yes.

I just saw the ending of 1.4 "More, or Less" - I instantly thought of the ending of "Night Gallery" SE 2, EP 22a: "The Caterpillar" - the one with the earwig. 

Ha! Yes, I can see that. Speaking of Season 1, Episode 4, have you seen this?

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DonRocks   
3 hours ago, DIShGo said:

Ha! Yes, I can see that. Speaking of Season 1, Episode 4, have you seen this?

No, but I will later this evening. Thank you!

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DonRocks   

About halfway through the "Hagsplitation" episode (EP4), Bette and Joan meet at a restaurant. Please note the contrast between character, clothing, and carriages:

Screenshot 2017-04-19 at 10.07.47 PM.png

What do black and yellow signify?

Note that PersonBlack was driving VehicleYellow, and vice-versa.

You kind-of need to see it to understand why I'm asking such a question, but despite the mediocre quality of the included photo, the actual film is *screaming* interleaving black-and-yellow.

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DonRocks   
On 4/18/2017 at 5:31 PM, DIShGo said:

Ha! Yes, I can see that. Speaking of Season 1, Episode 4, have you seen this?

They have a few variations of this, one of which interleaves the two.

Either way, it's seriously cringe-inducing. The show didn't specify it was the Andy Williams Show, did it? That show debuted in 1962 (the same year), and ran for ten years, so it was *material like this* that kept it going. <_<

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"No Comment! Olivia de Haviland Hasn't Watched FX's Feud and objects 'in principle' to dramatising Joan Crawford and Bette Davis Rivalry" on dailymail.co.uk

 

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DIShGo   
10 hours ago, DonRocks said:

They have a few variations of this, one of which interleaves the two.

Either way, it's seriously cringe-inducing. The show didn't specify it was the Andy Williams Show, did it? That show debuted in 1962 (the same year), and ran for ten years, so it was *material like this* that kept it going. <_<

So bad, it's good. And it is quite the earworm.

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weezy   
On 4/19/2017 at 10:10 PM, DonRocks said:

About halfway through the "Hagsplitation" episode (EP4), Bette and Joan meet at a restaurant. Please note the contrast between character, clothing, and carriages:

Screenshot 2017-04-19 at 10.07.47 PM.png

What do black and yellow signify?

Note that PersonBlack was driving VehicleYellow, and vice-versa.

You kind-of need to see it to understand why I'm asking such a question, but despite the mediocre quality of the included photo, the actual film is *screaming* interleaving black-and-yellow.

The Tom and Lorenzo blog is good for getting underneath the meanings of costuming in different series http://tomandlorenzo.com/2017/03/feud-style-pilot-episode-1-tv-review-costumes/

 

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