Feud: Bette and Joan – Review



Feud, a mini-series TV created by Ryan Murphy, the famous creator of American Horror Story, was broadcast in the USA from March 5 to April 23 on FX, a satellite channel belonging to Fox. The series deals, as the title says, with feuds that will be different season after season and, to begin with, Murphy has chosen the biggest feud that Hollywood has ever seen, a challenge between two Titans, a challenge of biblical dimensions.

The protagonists of this new series are

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, two actresses who made the history of cinema and Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s. The two actresses have always been set against each other by the studios, especially Warner Bros, that, for a few years, had signed both of them. Their lives, however, intertwine in the 1960s, when they are now old and their notoriety has fallen considerably and find it hard to find a role. Joan appear in some movies here and there, but she can’t find anything serious; Bette works in the theatre in a comedy a bit squalid. As I was saying, the life of these two great stars intertwines when shooting of What ever happened to Baby Jane? starts. An horror film – Warner hoped that Psycho’s success could be followed by this film – based on Henry Farrell’s novel of the same name. This 1962 film talks about two actress sisters who are forced to share a miserable apartment in Hollywood in their old age. The two actresses, who do not bear, try to be professional on the set and make things go for the better, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. Albert Aldrich, the director himself, could hardly control them.

And the TV series speaks of this very part of their lives, especially. It is about this film and where it has brought them. It was very nice to see them as a couple and at the same time quarrel about the set and the feud between them was very well represented, both the one built by the studios and the real one. But in reality this feud, which amuses us and makes us line up in one of the two factions (the Crawford and Davis) deals with other issues. Important themes, especially for those who want to enter the world of cinema. This series speaks of Hollywood, but not of what we dream, of the real one, of what it means to be a star. Built masks, identity crisis, Hollywood masculinity, alcoholism, drugs, bad relationships with the family, loneliness, aging in a market that requires more and more young talents and also pain, suffering. Very often artists, and therefore actors too, suffer. I was also struck by one sentence, which is as follows: “The feuds never start from hatred, no. They start from pain”. These important, hard and important issues are dealt with throughout the series. And if already in the other episodes they feel and hit the viewer, in the final episode there is an explosion of both these themes and emotions. I cried crazy. I just couldn’t control the tears, they flowed on my face like the Thames in full.

In addition, I absolutely have to say that the script was very beautiful, whether there were dialogues or monologues no matter what. Everything was written damn well! And many compliments for historical accuracy. Yes, there are invented things, but not great things. The story was really accurate and precise even in words, and I checked, huh! All the screenwriters were great. Direction is also at a high level! My favourites were the fifth episode, the Oscars, and the last. I therefore mention Ryan Murphy (also as a screenwriter for the fifth) and Gwyneth Horder-Payton. But they are not the only great things. Beautiful are the costumes, beautiful makeup and wiggle, beautiful scenery and all the props, which are obviously adapted to the’ 60s. You immerse yourself in that very era, feel it, as opposed to certain overrated science fiction films. There are also many beautiful sets, including the set. Building a set on a set may seem easy, but it’s not.  Amazing editing, obviously thanks to a great direction, so the shoots, camera movements, everything seems natural connected. Finally, the sound was nice and I really liked the choice of inserting songs from that time.

Finally, how not to spend two words for the talented cast of Feud. Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange were extraordinary in playing respectively Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I adored them for all eight episodes. Alfred Molina, that potrays Aldrich and Dominic Burgess was also great in his performance of potrying Victor Buono. Jackie Hoffman, who played Mamacita, the Crawford waitress was good and I liked her Latin accent so much. But Jackie…. a bit of sportiness. The other actors were also good, but these were my favorites, I can’t stay here and list them one by one.

We are coming to the end, therefore, the usual things. I recommend you this mini-series.  The many nominations the show ahd at the Emmys, and the two win, show that the quality of this mini-series is very high. So look at it.

Rating: 90/100

Very good. This was my first review of a TV series and I hope you enjoyed it. As always, I invite you to share this review on all your social media and, finally, to comment on whether you have any opinions to express on this series and on the review itself (whether you liked it or not). I thank you all for reading it and see you in the next review. 😉

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