As wild as its reputation, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? drops two sisters and Hollywood has-beens—“Baby Jane” Hudson (Bette Davis) and Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford)—into a dark and claustrophobic Beverly Hills mansion and turns up the psychological heat. Jane, who reenacts her routines as a child star and talks to the vintage souvenir doll made in her image, seems to be the more imbalanced one. But Blanche, who can only move about with the help of a wheelchair and wields the house’s call buzzer like a passive-aggressive weapon, clearly has issues of her own. Choosing to film in black and white, director Robert Aldrich drenches their machinations in shadows, making it all the more startling (and ghastly, given her layers of white makeup) when Jane steps under the stark lighting of an overhead lamp to warble her long-forgotten hit, “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy.” Crawford is good (Blanche still tries to maintain a celebrity air, which Crawford more than manages), but Davis is the one you won’t forget. She moves about like a drunken ghost, her elegantly flowing robes contrasting with her tipsy walk, and clearly enjoys doing a Joan Crawford impression during the couple of times Jane impersonates Blanche on the telephone. When things become violent—shockingly so—Jane is fearsome while also being frightened of herself. It’s an outsized performance, to be sure, but never silly. If there is a camp element to the movie, it’s the hammy, underlining score by Frank De Vol (who also wrote the music for the “Daddy” song). The pushy instrumentation punctuates every gesture and even pulls out a harpsichord effect to emphasize the creepier moments. Trust me, Davis is hitting every one of those notes on her own.