While HBO’s new series Big Little Lies doesn’t quite lean into camp, FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan, the premiere season of FX’s latest anthology series from Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, American Crime Story), has plenty to spare. Then again, the subject matter — the on and off-screen feud between Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) that clouded the making of their cult-classic horror film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? — couldn’t have been done any other way.
While the screen legends’ rivalry didn’t begin on the movie set — the two classic Hollywood stars had competed for roles for years — it certainly came to a head while they collaborated on Baby Jane. The premiere of Feud introduces that back story and establishes the pastel-colored world of early 1960s Hollywood. Think the sexism in Hollywood is bad now? Just get a load of how terrible things were then, when even two of the most famous and lauded actresses in the history of movies couldn’t land roles because of their ages.