Both films are in black & white. The Nanny is a cheaply made film. Rain was probably big budget for its day (1932). Bette Davis plays a sadistic nanny and the child she's overseeing knows she's evil but no one believes him . . . until it's too late. She has this psychotic scene next to a bath tub. And she does it very well. She makes the character completely believable.
Joan Crawford's playing a hooker, basically, who a man wants to reform and she ends up corrupting. And she's completely unbelievable. It may be a change in times. That performance may have seemed vibrant in 1932. But it's just dead today. (Joan Crawford can act. I'm not one of those people who thinks she can't. She was good in many films but she's awful in Rain.) Not only is the acting bad, so is her look. I think this was when she was experimenting with various looks (the original media Madonna) and the look just doesn't do it for her. She doesn't even look like the Joan Crawford you expect.
But Bette Davis looks like the Bette Davis you know. She more or less looks the same in all of her movies. She may have a little more gloss but she really didn't reinvent her looks the way Crawford did. The way Crawford constantly did.
I had screwed up my Netflix queue and ended up with both movies this week. And I was struck by how the two Oscar winning rivals were so different.
Trivia buffs who don't want to search online: Joan Crawford won a Best Actress Oscar for Mildred Pierce. Bette Davis won a Best Actress Oscar for Dangerous and for Jezebel. Joan Crawford started at MGM while Bette Davis started at Warner Bros. But both women won their Oscars (Joan's one and Bette's two) for films they made at Warner Bros. They only completed one film together: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. They also started Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte together but the rivalry was too much and Joan Crawford faked illness to get out of having to work with Bette Davis again. Both of them had daughters who wrote books about them -- fanciful books is becoming the standard opinion (and it was for Bette's daughter's book in real time).
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"