Bette Davis: Margo Channing vs. Baby Jane Hudson

Bette Davis: Margo Channing vs. Baby Jane Hudson

One actor. Two film roles. You tell us which portrayal was the best. The most memorable. Or iconic. Or simply your favorite.
But before you pass judgment, a few words defending the “character” of each…

The case for Margo Channing

Everybody knows that All About Eve was really all about Margo. Let’s sum up: An Oscar-nominated Bette Davis (#2 greatest female American screen legend according to AFI) in a Best Picture winner (a record 14 total Oscar nominations) portraying her greatest role (says Roger Ebert; Premiere’s #5 performance of all-time) caustically spouting line after line of eminently quotable dialogue (“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”). Hard to beat that.

The case for Baby Jane Hudson

Davis delivered classic lines (“But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair!”) and also got an Oscar nom for her portrayal of Jane in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Perhaps the movie and its message aren’t as high-minded as All About Eve, but it is the quintessential camp cult classic. And though it may not have been Davis’ greatest role it is arguably her most memorable. Those who’ve seen Jane’s “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” performance can attest to that.

 

Now that you’ve heard the arguments for both it’s time to render your verdict!

 

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  • Mike in Oz (down under)

    I knew Miss Davis and visited her apt in LA a few times in the ’80′s. As great as she was in BABY JANE, I think she’d go with Margo Channing in ALL ABOUT EVE. A matchless performance- and Claudette Colbert was first cast (!- I like Miss Colbert, but I believe Davis was meant for Margo)

  • Trystan

    Margo Channing – hands down!

  • TrippyTrellis

    It’s
    Margo Channing vs. Leslie Crosby (The Letter).
    Margo Channing vs. Regina Giddens (The Little Foxes).
    Margo Channing vs. Julie Marsden (Jezebel).
    Margo Channing vs. Charlotte Vale (Now, Voyager).
    or
    Baby Jane Hudson vs. Divine/Debs Johnson (Pink Flamingos).

  • Frank DeCavalcante

    Baby Jane was way over the top for me. Davis over acted, and the character was strictly from Grand Guignol. Davis was usually a bit over the top in all her roles, but in All About Eve, she is more nuanced in her performance. She can be the grand lady of the theater, a jealous shrew or a frightened middle aged woman worriedl about losing her appeal. The dialogue is definitely superior, as is the direction and in fact, the whole production. Baby Jane is a grade B movie, while Eve is a five star film.

  • Ron

    Oh please, no contest!
    MARGO

  • Cara

    You’ve got to be kidding! Margo Channing in a great film with a wonderful screenplay and excellent actors. Possibly Bette Davis’s greatest performance.

    I don’t think Bette would have approved of this blog.