The Nanny


bette davis, the nanny
Deemed by doctors to have an “inborn antipathy towards middle-aged females,” young Joey Fane (WILLIAM DIX) is none too thrilled to be greeted by his arch-nemesis au pair (BETTE DAVIS) after a two-year stint at the home for disturbed children. It seems that Joey was institutionalized shortly after the bathtub drowning of his adorable baby sister, and his repeated assertions that the Nanny was responsible for the little girl’s death completely fall on deaf ears. Nanny has been employed by the Fanes since mother Virgie (WENDY CRAIG) was a wee one, and Nanny’s word is taken over that of young Joey’s. He does manage to get one person to believe him, upstairs neighbor Bobbie (PAMELA FRANKLIN), but she, despite a propensity for smoking and allowing men on the street to peek up her skirt on the fire escape, is just fourteen years old and perceived as a silly child. After Joey’s father is called out of town on business, all hell breaks loose in the Fane household as mother Virgie falls victim to what appears to be intentional food poisoning. Joey maintains it was Nanny, yet the incriminating bottle of medication found in his pillowcase would indicate otherwise. While mother is off getting her stomach pumped, Aunt Pen (short for Penelope) pops over to keep the peace between Joey and Nanny. Up until the arrival of Pen, the pendulum of credibility has swung squarely in Nanny’s favor since it seems that Joey is nothing more than a petulant brat with a penchant for exaggeration. Once Pen catches Nanny lingering a little too long outside of Joey’s room with a pillow, the realization sets in that the boy has been telling the truth all along. Nanny did have a hand in his sister’s death, she did poison his mother, and she is trying to kill him. With the viewer firmly in Joey’s corner, the remainder of the film dissolves into a campy romp as DAVIS drops the restrained facade and gleefully channels BABY JANE HUDSON while sadistically torturing Pen and Joey.

  • The mature banter between Joey and Bobbie is much more adult than the conversations held by the actual grown ups
  • Nanny grooms and feeds Virgie like she is a baby
  • Joey & Bobbie float a doll in the tub and give Nanny quite the scare
  • Nanny’s confession to the captive Pen
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8 years ago

I am truly ashamed of myself for not having seen this. As both a horror fan and a Bette Davis fan, I don’t know how this slipped under my radar. There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.