In 1962, powerful Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper held a strange and intimate dinner party, hosting rival movie stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis for a truce meal at her home on Tropical Avenue in Beverly Hills, an elegant brick colonial Hopper winkingly called “The house that fear built.”

“Will it be disappointing if we get along well?” Davis asked at the start of the dinner, acknowledging the pleasure Hopper’s readers undoubtedly took in a catfight between aging divas.

Director Robert Aldrich’s psychological thriller about an actress who holds her crippled sister captive in an old mansion united Hollywood’s warring grande dames for the first time on screen and yielded five Oscar nominations, but it also minted a particular strain of camp that degrades older women, a kind of hagsploitation film.

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and the chilly relationship between its stars will be the subject of the first season of “Feud,” a juicy-sounding new FX series from creator Ryan Murphy.

“Feud,” which will star Susan Sarandon as Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford during what Hopper politely called the “Indian summer” of their remarkable careers, has the potential to start another timely conversation – on the topic of older women in Hollywood.

Crawford and Davis were glamorous screen creatures of an earlier era, when studio executives believed the tastes of women drove the box office and cast actresses in rich, complex roles, like Crawford’s independent single mother in “Mildred Pierce” and Davis’ vulnerable aging career woman in “All About Eve.” By the time they made “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” however, Crawford was 57, Davis was 54, and their power was waning.

“These women had portrayed incredible three-dimensional protagonists on screen. They were the stars of those movies, and their stories were what brought people to the theaters.”

How the producer, who has a track record of inclusion on his shows like “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” frames his leading women will be key in either redressing the cringe-worthy nature of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” or repeating it.

At Hopper’s house that day in 1962, the actresses discussed the paucity of star vehicles open to them at the time and spilled some information on their “Baby Jane” contract details – Davis would get first billing, both would share in the profits.