Today we salute Joan Crawford, born on March 23rd 1905. A legend of the screen, she gave one of her most memorable performances later in her career when she starred as Blanche in the twisted psychological horror ‘What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?’.
When the BBFC considered the film in November 1962 there were concerns over three scenes, as detailed in the Exception Form published here. Two of the cuts that were requested – the sight of Jane kicking Blanche, and Elvira witnessing Blanche tied up and “writhing” – were indeed removed from the film in order for it to be awarded an X certificate. The third – a shot of a dead rat being served to Blanche – was allowed to remain in the film following a request from Warner Brothers to BBFC Director, John Trevelyan. They felt it was essential to the plot, and anything hidden from view might lead people to imagine “something far worse than a rat”.
The cuts were reinstated for the 1984 video release, which was given an 18 certificate. The DVD release in 2006 was classified 12.