Robert Aldrich's clever, perverse, and lethally venomous valentine to Old Hollywood, filmed in Rudolph Valentino's baroque former residence, where two retired show-biz sisters are shut away in a demented battle of egos. For this intoxicating mixture of has-been, might-have-been, and still-could-be dreams of stardom, the casting of Bette Davis, sadist, and Joan Crawford, masochist, is nothing short of inspirational. And on occasion, with surprising suddenness, Aldrich is able to bring out the profound pathos, in addition to the obvious ghoulishness, of the situation. (1962) — Duncan Shepherd
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