|Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
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- Great Product
I was very pleased with the quality of the DVD and the movie itself. The delivery and service was excellent...more info
- Time Has Not Been Kind
This was supposed to be another Bette Davis/Joan Crawford gothic
thriller. Probably nobody knows what really happened but all of
a sudden Crawford was out. Apparently Vivien Leigh turned the
role down. Olivia de Havilland came in and is one of the few
whose work holds up in this overblown, over the top film. Agnes
Moorhead chews more scenery than Mandy Patinkin could ever hope to.
But DeHavilland is quite good. The only other reason to watch this
is to see Mary Astor in her final role. Unfortunately she appears
in the beginning and that is it. The transfer to dvd is good....more info
- Great entertainment
The story behind the conception of "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" is well documented, so the question is: without being another Bette Davis/Joan Crawford battlefest, does it match up to the runaway success of "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane"? My opinion is that it ranks as a good movie, but falls into the shadow of it's predecessor.
The plot follows Davis as Charlotte, an eccentric recluse who has been shunned by the townsfolk ever since her married lover was found brutally murdered at a party when she was a young girl. Branded as the killer, Charlotte has grown into a bitter and lonely old woman, who is finally forced to come out of her isolation when the county wants to knock down her house to build a new road. The main part of the film begins as Charlotte's cousin Miriam arrives in an attempt to talk some sense into her, and all the skeletons of the past come to light again.
The film is built around it's two central stars, Bette Davis and Olivia de Haviland (who plays Miriam). The two could scarcely be more different. Davis plays Charlotte as wide-eyed, shrill and in a constant state of nervous terror, while de Havilland delivers a performance of sleek velvety calm. The film hinges on the relationship between these two women, and out of the two of them, it is Miriam rather then Charlotte who suggests a character with much more going on beneath the surface, thanks to de Havilland's glacial cool. Davis is brittle and exhausting nearly all the time, and although she was one of the greatest Hollywood stars of her time, some more subtelty would have greatly enhanced the character of Charlotte in places. However, for the most part she is terrific, in fact her performance gets better and better as the film progresses, culminating in a very moving conclusion. De Havilland also does a great job, speaking in silky soft tones for the most part, but capable of erupting into surprisingly venomous anger as more of her true character comes to light. As is usual with a well known film like this, the twists and surprise revelations are already well known, but what impressed me was the the way the various strands were worked into the film, and how effectively some of the twists were then later built up into new twists! It must have been very effective for first time audiences in 1964, and for anyone who has not seen it even today.
The film looks great. Beautifully shot in black and white, it makes great use of selective lighting and deep shadows, more often than not inside the grand but rotting mansion that Charlotte lives in. There are also some great lines in the script, most often spoken by Davis, which make the proceedings border on high camp some of the time, but for the most part it is a quality product. What detracts from the enjoyment are some very lazy post dubbing in several places (where you can see that the actors are either mouthing something different or not speaking at all!), and the opening prologue set at a party supposedly in 1927, which has no attempt at period detail at all as most of the party goers are dressed in contemporary 1960's oufits (one girl even has a beehive hairdo!). This lack of care by director Robert Aldrich is more in line with one of William Castle's schlocky (but enthusiastic) efforts, rather than a major studio production like "Charlotte" was supposed to be.
I haven't really got that many bones to pick though, as the film delivers solid entertainment for most of it's 2hour running time. It IS a little long, but the constantly unravelling plot together with the performances from it's stars (not forgetting to mention the hilarious turn by Agnes Moorhead as the tousled maid) keep you hooked all the way through. Although some of the early parts are a bit of a screech-fest, it definitely improves as reaches the end, in fact Davis' performance in the last half hour becomes quite touching (barring her cross-eyed freak out on the stairs), and the ending scene especially shows that the film has a real heart....more info
- Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
What can you say about Betty Davis, she is great! She has made the best films playing a physco. I was very happy to find this movie being is over 25 years old....more info
This movie is one of the boringest movies I have ever saw. I live for horror movies like The Ring The Ring 2 Boogeyman The Grudge you name it but this is just not like them. I know it's from 1964 but they definetley could do it a little bit better. Also they put it in black & white when they could have done it in color and I know they could have because The Wizard of Oz is from 1939 and the only part they put in black & white was for ten or fifteen minutes in the beginning. And also Bette Davis did not do a very good job in this because she was getting a little to carried away and also off subject matter a little bit. And the blood looked to fake and also the head that rolled down the stairs they had a choice between black & white and color and they refused to choose the right one color that I don't know why but what I think would be really neat is if they remade this movie Jennifer Connelly could be Charlotte and MC Night Shamolyn could direct it so the only reason I didin't like this movie at all is because they made a lot of bad choices during it and I think they could have second chance and fix those bad choices that they made and remake Hush...Hush,Sweet Charlotte so if you are a fan of The Ring The Ring 2 The Grudge or Boogeyman or anything like that that were made these days I would Suggest that you dont see this black & white movie cause you will get bored and shut it off so thats why you would not like Hush...Hush,Sweet Charlotte(1964)...more info
- dramatic and outstanding
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a powerful film that proves Bette Davis was still at the peak of her form even in the mid 1960s. The acting is very convincing and the story line moves along very well. The cinematography and choreography shine in particular and I really like that the film was shot in black and white--it adds to the horror effects in this film. Yes, it is campy at times but overall it's not a picture that you'll forget anytime soon and it left me quite impressed with the cast and crew.
We first meet Charlotte Hollis, an aging spinster living alone in a deteriorating Southern mansion with her only real friend, her servant Velma Cruther (Agnes Moorehead). Hollis's father loathed the one man Charlotte ever really loved; it seems that this young man John Mayhew (Bruce Dern) was married at the time he wanted to elope with Charlotte! Charlotte has never forgotten John who gets killed by an unknown ax murderer the night she was to run away from him; and although people think Charlotte may have killed John herself there's no evidence so Charlotte never did any time in prison. Instead, Charlotte is essentially condemned to living her life alone in her home; and she also manages to delude herself into thinking that she may well have killed John herself.
Things change pretty fast when Charlotte is about to be evicted from her Southern home because the county needs to build a bridge. Her cousin (and only next of kin) Miriam Deering (Olivia de Havilland) shows up with a mutual acquaintance Dr. Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten). Charlotte and her servant Velma don't quite see eye to eye with Drew and Miriam--they want Charlotte to peacefully leave the mansion while Charlotte and Velma want Charlotte to stay.
There's also a tug of war over money--it seems Velma wants some if Charlotte dies or becomes incapacitated while we slowly begin to suspect that others may want the same money. Could the others be Miriam and Drew? Could it be Jewel Mayhew, who could be seeking revenge against Charlotte if she thought that Charlotte did in fact kill her late husband John? Watch the movie and find out! The suspense at some moments is very high and even though the movie gets somewhat creepy at times the performances are remarkably strong and memorable.
The DVD comes with a good number of extras. We get a retrospective look back at director Robert Aldrich and the general production of the film; and we learn that this was supposed to be a type of "sequel" that re-paired Bette Davis with Joan Crawford after they co-starred in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? There is an extra with Bruce Dern who remembers working with Bette; and there is another short film narrated by Joseph Cotten himself.
I give Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte high marks for being quality film that showcases wonderful performances by Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor in her final film role as Jewel Mayhew. This is a "must-have" DVD for fans of these actors and a certain grand type of Hollywood motion picture that you just don't quite see anymore.
- Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte
Great movie! Birthday gift to my 39 yr old daughter. One of her favorite movies!! Thanks so much. Carol...more info
- "Dat's sum kahnuh druhg, AIN'T it?!?" :)
Agnes Moorehead, as short as her role is, is my favorite part of this film! She is very entertaining! And I LOVE the final scenes, when Charlotte KNOWS what's really going on with dear, sweet Miriam, and Drew! This goes right up there with "...Baby Jane" and "The Nanny" (BTW...any idea on the dvd release of THAT? "Master Joey, it's time for your BATH!").And it features Victor Buono, who became a bit of a star as Edwin Flagg in "Baby Jane". This is a film of great, campy fun...get it NOW!...more info
- If you haven't seen the movie before........
......don't watch the film with the commentary feature
activated. The long-winded, overexcited announcer gives
away the plot details within minutes of the opening credits.
Otherwise, this film is a wonderful, nostalgic presentation
of the B-movie style, black and white thrillers of the
late 50's/early 60's. Bette Davis, fresh off her success
of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," returns in a film
adaption of another Henry Farrell story. She reprises the role
of a mentally disturbed dame (in this case, done Southern style)
and she takes it way over the top, but still within the threshold
of high cinema. Fellow Academy Award winner, Olivia de Havilland
(replacing Joan Crawford, who was originally slated for "Miriam")
gives a good performance as the goodhearted relative with dark
This is a great movie. The theatrical trailers are laughable at how they present this film as the most suspenseful, horrifying film ever.
Well,given the time period, who knows? In any case, this is an enjoyable
exercise in suspense with Bette Davis at the helm, which always
translates into worthwhile cinema. Along with Davis and De Haviland, Agnes Moorhead
gives a remarkably delightful
performance as the feisty housekeeper,
receiving a well-deserved Academy Award nomination.
TURN OFF THE COMMENTARY FEATURE UNTIL YOU'VE HAD THE CHANCE
TO SEE THE MOVIE FROM START TO FINISH!!!!!!! If not, the
entire suspense element will be ruined....more info
- ya era hora
realmente.,.ya era hora que hicieran esta pelicula en dvd.,.. maravilloso.. cuento los dias para verla
- Satisfied customer
I can always trust Amazon because of their reputation and commitment to customer service....more info
- "She just acts that way because people seem to expect it of her"
Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte is sort of a mixed bag. The film, a campy Southern Gothic Thriller, was supposed to be yet another vehicle for Ms. Davis to cash in on her success in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? And while the film isn't quite as good as its predecessor, it's certainly worth taking a look at, mostly for the screwy and wacky performances of Bette and Olivia de Havilland, as the film's "other" leading lady.
Hush Hush...lacks the much of the suspense and insane creepiness of Bette's other post-Baby Jane gothic outing; the more tightly plotted and cleverly executed Dead Ringer. This doesn't mean that Hush Hush...isn't good, because it has many memorable moments; it's just that I didn't think it came across as dramatically effective and as entertaining as Davis' other gothic thrillers.
Most of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte takes place in a ramshackle, dilapidated mansion where Charlotte Hollis (Davis) has for years been living as a part reclusive, decrepit, and slightly insane Southern lady. Rumor has it that 30 years earlier, she murdered boyfriend John Mayhew (Bruce Dern) with a meat cleaver. But did she really commit the horrible crime?
Over the years, Charlotte has convinced herself that she had at least something to do with the incident and by now seems quite removed from reality. Half the time she believes her lover is still alive, and half the time she believes she probably did kill him. Certainly, the community believes she's a murder, with the local children making up cruel song lyrics and occasionally terrorizing her in her home.
The plot thickens when Charlotte is told that she has only a few weeks to vacate her house because the State has requisition it for demolition in order to build a new bridge and road through her property. Charlotte refuses to leave and even threatens the construction foreman (George Kennedy), with a gun. With no where to turn Charlotte calls upon her only kin, her well-meaning cousin Miriam Dearing (de Havilland) and her friendly doctor, Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotton).
But no sooner does dear cousin Miriam move in than weird and frightening things begin to happen in the old house and Charlotte seems to become even crazier. She starts to hear voices and thinks it's John's voice, she sees strange figures at night through the window, and the harpsichord plays in the dead of night when nobody's at it. She also has scary visions - a severed hand and a bloody cleaver lies on the floor in front of her; a severed head falls down the stairs, and wall mirrors are inexplicably broken.
Is Charlotte really going mad, or is someone deliberately trying to drive her insane? Are Miriam and the good doctor really as kindly and helpful as they first seemed? Charlotte's trusty and loyal housekeeper Velma Cruther (Agnes Moorehead) knows the secrets of the strange and dark house and is determined to help Charlotte. A letter delivered by Jewel Mayhew (Mary Astor), the wronged widow of so long ago, to Harry Willis (Cecil Kellaway) a snooping insurance investigator, finally reveals the truth and perhaps will give Charlotte the redemption that she seems to need.
The best scenes are when de Havilland and Davis are together on the screen. But Davis is often shrill and her constant shouting and histrionics tend to get a bit much. By now we already know she's the greatest screen actress of all time, so she doesn't have to prove it any more by playing a role so over the top, that seems to scream out for people to notice her.
Complete with pigtails and a wearing girlish party dress, Davis is made up to look as old and as drab as possible, a severe contrast to the enduring beauty, class, and sophistication of good cousin Miriam, whose radiant splendor doesn't seem to have succumbed to the same ravages of time as Charlotte's has. de Havilland, to her credit, plays it all very cool; she's a lady through and through, and thus, we are never sure what her true motivations are, or where her true loyalties really lie.
Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte remains a good example of early 60's film noir and director Robert Aldrich fills his story, with shadowy passageways, ghostly rooms, and stormy, windswept nights. There are also enough plot twists and enigmatic characters to keep the viewer guessing for most of the movie's running time.
However, clocking in at almost 133 minutes, the film is a little too long - the prologue alone is almost fifteen minutes before the opening titles even roll. And there are also a number of plot elements that, rather than complement, just end up convoluting and confusing the proceedings. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte is really only dressed-up, gothic schlock, but even with its problems, it's still entertaining schlock, and ultimately provides a view of Bette Davis at her bombastic and grandiloquent best. Mike Leonard August 05
this came right on time and I was very happy with the service I got....more info
- Where's the DVD?
I love this movie. It is simply captivating in all its twisted glory. But my question is this - where on earth is the DVD release? I've only been checking for 3 years now, and by the looks of the other comments, others have as well. We want this amazing film on DVD!...more info
This is an amazing Bette movie. Not in your face like a few others of Bette's, but it draws you in and entrances you. Simply FANtastic!! It's in my library and used a few times a year....more info
- It Took Long Enough!
It took long enough, but finally my all-time favorite film is on DVD. When I saw it for sale, I literally jumped for joy. As usual, watching the film for about the ten thousandth time was a great pleasure (I still love the scene when Charlotte encounters the "undead" Dr. Drew at the top of the stairs). It is a 5 star film in my opinion. The only reason I gave this DVD edition 4 stars instead of 5 is the "special features" section. When listening to the commentary about the film, I literally fell asleep. Most of it was Bio trivia that I already knew about. Other than that, I recommend the DVD if you love this film....more info
- All About Evil
Eerie-scary macabre tour de force by two of the most talented acting forces from cinema's past,Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. This 1964 golden oldie finds aging spinster Davis doubting her sanity, still wondering if she actually beheaded and buried her lover years earlier. When her home is about to be razed by highway authorities(and her cellar dug up),cousin de Havilland tries to help stop them from unearthing the truth. But the truth isn't that simple, nor are her motives. In the style of 1962's "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" with both helmed by director, Robert Aldrich, and both murderouly intriguing....more info
betty davis is the greatest in this movie, and i recomend it to anyone who is a fan of her's. c.schubert...more info
- A HAIR RAISING SHOCKER
THIS SUPERB FILM STARS BETTE DAVIS AS CHARLOTTE HOLLIS WHO HAS BEEN CLOSETED IN HER MANSION SINCE THE GRISLY MURDER OF HER MARRIED LOVER MANY YEARS EARLIER. FINE SUPPORT COMES FROM OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND AS HER COUSIN MIRIAM AND JOSEPH COTTEN AS DOCTOR DREW BAYLESS. THIS THRILLER WILL HAVE YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT AND SPECIAL MENTION MUST BE MADE OF CHARLOTTE'S LOYAL SERVANT OSCAR NOMINEE AGNES MOOREHEAD - I DON'T THINK EVEN THIS FINE ACTRESS HAS DONE ANYTHING BETTER. FINE REMASTERING FROM THE 1964 PRINT ADDS TO ONE'S PLEASURE SO DON'T MISS THIS REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT....more info
- CHARLOTTE FINALLY SEES THE LIGHT OF DAY ON DVD
I HAVE WORN OUT SEVERAL COPIES OF THIS FILM ON VIDEO, AND I CANT WAIT UNTIL IT IS RELEASED ON DVD. IN MY OPINION, THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE BY BETTE DAVIS...NOW, IF THEYD JUST RELEASE THE NANNY...ANOTHER FABULOUS FILM BY BETTE DAVIS....more info
- Creepy but wonderful !
Bette Davis and Olivia De Haviland give great performances in this movie they are both great actresses also costarring Agnas Morehead which also gives a top notch performance as Charlote's humble maid. Get a copy to day !...more info
- Predictable but fun
Everything I was going to say about this movie has been said by all the previous reviewers. I would like to mention though that (especially with a movie like this one) Amazon should not publish reviews that give away the ending or key moments in the story, as does one fool among these reviewers. Cotten's accent does come and go, Davis' accent is consistent and perfect as is Agnes Moorhead's (and the movie is worth the price just to see her performance!), the gory part (and yes there is one, about 10 minutes into the movie) is not bloody, is (thank god) patently fake and except for what it represents (a man getting his hand and head cut off) is not disturbing, although I was surprised to see it in a movie with all these familiar faces and big names. (And just about every speaking part in it was a face I recognized, though I couldn't name any.) I avoid horror and was dreading but not really expecting it. And the film was predictable. I guessed every secret and surprise in it. It was nevertheless beautifully and perfectly written and directed, it all just kind of unraveled with exposition given in left-handed and subtle ways as the film went along. The only shock to me was the final death in the movie. Perfect. I liked it (the movie, not the final death, well, I liked that too considering...). ...more info
- The ne plus ultra is gothic atmosphere --- a profoundly underrated classic
Ever since I was a kid I identified this as "the scariest movie I've ever seen", and even today, despite the fact that as an adult one no longer possesses the same ability to be frightened by a film, "Charlotte" still emerges as one of the of the purest of terror-films in that it hits so many of the back-of-the-dark-closet horror cliches dead-center (in a good way) as few ever quite have.
Oh, sure, it won't compare to later slasher pics for blood (only one person gets sliced & diced, in fact) but the term "southern gothic", to my mind, simply held no real meaning until THIS came out...
Many people don't realize that "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" received more Oscar nominations  than any other horror film up to that time, a record tied only by "Silence of the Lambs" (in 1991) and surpassed by "The Exorcist"s 10 nominations (in 1973)... "Charlotte" won none, but the fact it lost the Best B&W Cinematography Oscar (for Joseph Biroc's drippingly dark work) is akin to grave-robbery!
Grander and more haunting than "Baby Jane" (though from the same production team), "Charlotte" is the more seductively macabre movie.
Borne of an era when "real" thrillers were coming to a close, when "Psycho"-period shockers felt so supernatural and creepy (even when they may not have been, technically, supernatural in plot) at the Cold War peak of the early-'60s...
Somehow, it all just feels more forlorn and sacred and sad than sadistic.
It's also one of the most quotable of films --- the dinner scene is a classic in itself. And, if you watch closely, it's chock full of smatterings of various scenes from Bette Davis pictures re-executed.
2005 DVD: the extras aren't great, folks. The commentary is by rote, and they didn't include the 'AMC Backstory' episode so many of us were hoping for. Also, THIS IS NOT total wide-screen, as the film was originally shot in 1:1.85, and the DVD is 1:1.66, so we're still missing some of the sides of the movie!
2008 DVD Update: the new DVD release at least has a HUSH...HUSH, SWEET JOAN mini-doc about Crawford's original participation in the film before ducking out--- regrettably, none of her scenes are apparently available; also, the copy is full and proper 1x1.85 dimensions, unlike the 2005 DVD.
- HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE
It was just as I remembered it. I had a good time watching it with my daughter.She can't believe what we use to think was scary.
- Better than "Baby Jane."
"Baby Jane" is a classic film, but I believe that "Charlotte" is much better. "Baby Jane" is terrifing, but "Charlotte" is terrifing and FUN! First, Mary Astor as Jewel Mayhew: an aging Blanche duBois sitting on the verandah of her decaying ante-bellum home and talking about "ruined finery". Then, Agnes Morehead as Velma: a white trash slattern with wild unkempt hair who uses an accent somewhere between Amos 'n' Andy and Aunt Pearl Bodine:"She nuthin' but a chile!". Joseph Cotten as Drew, giving his usual lifeless wooden performance and struggling to maintain a southern accent that would make Li'l Abner blush:"Shaaalette...". Olivia de Havilland as Miriam, on the surface a sweet-as-pie Melanie Hamilton but underneath a Vampira spider woman:(slap!)"Damn you! You shut your mouth!", and, "You just can't keep hogs away from the trough!", and, "While we're spending all that lovely money, Cousin Charlotte will be weaving lots and lots of little baskets!" Then finally, Bette Davis as Charlotte, a tour-de-force performance of an aging Scarlett O'Hara living with the memories of a bloody past and being terrorized by her own demons and the vengeful greed of others. Bette really chews the scenery in this one:"From where you are, I could spit in your eye with no strain at all!", and, "Did ya think that I sent for ya 'cause I wanted COMP'NY?! I thought ya come ta HE'P ME!", and,(through gritted teeth),"I can see she's just BREAKIN' HER BACK to help!" This film is full of southern gothic terror and suspense spiced with lots of campy fun.
One of my all-time favorites!
- "Mama's Family" on the big screen!
"Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" was, as most people know, intended as a follow up (not a sequel) to the first and most influential "horror hag" film of them all, "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane". Producer/director Robert Aldrich who had helmed "Jane" wanted to repeat that film's box office success. He re-teamed Bette Davis (as Charlotte) and Joan Crawford (as her cousin Miriam) but, in events that have become the stuff of Hollywood Legend, Crawford dropped out, and was replaced by Bette's long-standing friend, Olivia de Havilland, fresh from "Lady in a Cage" (1964).
Although many find the plot somewhat convoluted, it is basically rather simple. Aging southern belle Charlotte Hollis lives in decayed splendor in the Louisiana mansion where, thirty seven years earlier, a horrible murder took place. The victim was none other than her married lover John Mayhew(Bruce Dern, in an early screen appearance) whom Charlotte fears was killed by her overbearing father (Victor Buono) who was against their affair. Over the years, however, the local townspeople have concluded that Charlotte herself was responsible, but escaped punishment due to her father's political connections. As it happens, the highway commission is planning on building a bridge where Charlotte's house stands, and are tirelessly trying to remove her from the property. She is just as doggedly determined to remain, because she fears demolition of the house will reveal proof of her father's guilt. Charlotte's only companions are her old, white trash housekeeper, Velma Crother (Agnes Moorehead) and the family doctor, Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten). Charlotte's attempts to hold off the sheriff are finally beginning to weaken, so, in a last attempt to hold onto the old plantation, she sends for her Cousin Miriam Deering, hoping she can help. Miriam does, eventually arrive, but it's soon obvious that she is there for reasons other than to comfort and aid her cousin.
The film is well photographed in eminently suitable black and white, and the haunting musical score by an Oscar-nominated Frank DeVol (as well as the beautiful nominated title song) aid it immeasurably. The performances are what makes the movie so much fun. Bette Davis, as usual, goes all out as the tormented cousin, moaning, whining simpering and,especially shrieking her way through her part. In contrast, the still very attractive de Havilland is, at first, a model of restraint. Matching Davis in the histrionics department is Moorehead (who was also Oscar-nominated for her performance) as she carries on, sometimes so hilariously, it's difficult to understand what she is saying. (Oh well, that's what DVD subtitles are for!) At the same time, she can be moving as well. Cotten gets to do his own (relatively restrained) scenery-chewing , but the scenes in which Davis, de Havilland and Moorehead scream at each other in very thick southern accents could be right out of the old "Mama's Family" TV series. As Jewel Mayhew, widow of Bette's lover, Mary Astor gives her usual excellent performance, so subdued and realistic, that she seems to be in a different film. Ditto Cecil Kellaway as a curious insurance investigator. In the end, though, it's all the overplaying and gaudy scene stealing which makes "Charlotte" so much fun. A remake would be not only redundant, but a mistake. "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" is truly one of a kind. The just-released Fox DVD includes a great widescreen transfer of the film, an audio commentary, and, best of all, a trailer, teaser trailer and three television spots, which emphasize the movie's lurid aspects--what else could you want? GET IT NOW! [phillindholm]...more info
- Bette Davis gives a flawless performance.
At first, I thought this movie was similar to Whatever Happenned to Baby Jane. An mentally ill woman living in a big house, tortured by memories of her confusing past. However, Sweet Charlotte is not as mean as Baby Jane. She is not crazy either. This character is very complex and interesting. She has to fight to keep her beautiful louisiana mansion as well as her sanity when her cousin played by Olivia de Havilland comes to visit her.
This is a thriller full of twists and surprises. Bette Davis managed to create a touching character.
Too bad they don't make movies like that anymore....more info
- Still a very good film with great performances on the nature of madness and reality
While this movie works well as a murder mystery, it is much more than that. It deals quite masterfully with the notions of what madness is and how tenuous the notions of reality actually are. There is also that whole Peyton Place sense of the steamy hidden reality behind the surface fa?ade of propriety.
Charlotte Hollis (one of Bette Davis' great mature performances) is a mad woman who is trapped in the past. She is the prisoner of a murder she is accused of committing but is unable to prove herself innocent. She lives in her late father's fading plantation estate and does nothing with the fortune left her. The hatred of those who believe her guilty has kept her in the house, alone, and delusional. Her one companion has been her housekeeper, Velma Cruther (played to award winning perfection by Agnes Moorehead). The question is whether Velma is Charlotte's friend, warden, or worse.
Her cousin, Miriam Deering (finely played by Olivia de Havilland) comes to care for her and deal with her delusions. Soon, distrust and suspicion arise between Miriam and Velma. Enter Dr. Drew Bayliss (superbly played by Joseph Cotten), whom Miriam brings in the help treat Charlotte. He seems a bit, well, you will see.
The movie is full of wonderful characters, especially Mary Astor as the widow of the womanizer Charlotte is supposed to have murdered. John Mayhew is played by a young Bruce Dern and Mary Astor plays the older and dying Jewel Mayhew. We also enjoy Harry Willis (played by the unique Cecil Kellaway) as the man captivated by Charlotte's story and helps bring certain parts of the story together through his investigation. There is much more to enjoy in this film. The black and white photography is perfect for the light and shadow required by this film. I will leave you to enjoy the way the movie shifts the focus on madness and unreality.
This movie was a sensation and received many nominations for Academy Awards (and received the most Oscar(tm) nominations for a horror film until "The Exorcist" came along). The original cast included Joan Crawford as well as Betty Davis, but Davis had a grudge against Crawford and harassed her until she became ill. Olivia de Havilland replaced Crawford, but it is said that the opening shot of the back of Miriam's head looking at the estate is Crawford rather than de Havilland.
While not particularly horrifying by today's standards, it is still a very good film and is very much worth seeing for the performances as well as the story....more info
- Hush Hush, only if we get a DVD
Bette Davis had a remarkable career. She is by far one of the best actresses that I have ever seen. She was capable of a range of emotions. "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" is a wonderful example of the other end of the spectrum from this movie. This movie shows how she could be the victim and appealing to our sympathy. In Baby Jane she is deliciously evil. If you like this you must see the other. This movie is psychologically scary and not bad in the physical scary department either.
Olivia de Havilland does a wonderful job of playing a manipulative and overbearing cousin. A far cry from her role in "Gone with the Wind". Agnes Moorehead as a poor self-sacrificing servant is amazing. I always liked her work, but she should have got an academy award for her portrayal here. For that matter all three actresses should have gotten awards. Ask fans of classic movies and they will tell you this is up there near the top. Fans of Bette Davis or Olivia de Havilland should definitely snap this up when it comes out on DVD. I refuse to pay this price for a VHS. Besides with "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" out on DVD for just fourteen dollars and ninety-nine cents I can't believe they won't follow suit and release this one as well....more info
- Lots Of Star Power In This Louisiana Gothic Melodrama
I first saw HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE on television years ago when the local television stations still played a weekday afternoon movie interrupted by many commercials and "dialing for dollars." I was probably in my early teens then and remember being fascinated by the morbid drama and the haunting theme song has always been stored somewhere in my memory. I recently enjoyed re-watching the film and was happy to see it has held up as a gothic suspense film with some horror elements.
In a prelude we see handsome young Bruce Dern playing a married Lothario being told to break off his relationship with Charlotte by her father, played by Victor Bueno, who was actually still in his twenties when he filmed this role. Bruce Dern's character is murdered in a gruesome manner by an unseen attacker and we see Charlotte emerge in the midst of a party her father is giving looking bewildered and covered in blood.
Flash forward thirty-seven years and Charlotte, now played by Bette Davis, is an eccentric older woman living in her decaying Louisiana mansion, left to her by her now deceased father, that is about the be destroyed for highway construction. We learn Charlotte was the chief suspect in the long ago murder but her father was able to shield her from prosecution with his money and a hasty trip to Europe. Charlotte is looked after by Velma, a loyal servant and quite a character played by an excellent Agnes Moorehead (Endora of Bewitched fame). An old friend and the family doctor, Drew (played by Joseph Cotton) also takes a protective interest in Charlotte and her money. Charlotte's sweet voiced cousin Miriam (played perfectly by Olivia de Havilland) arrives to help the increasingly deranged woman make the transition out of her lifelong home which is about to be destroyed. Strange, spooky happenings begin to escalate and the viewer is left unsure of whether the supernatural, Charlotte's delusions or something more concrete are the cause. Meanwhile an insurance investigator from England who has always been fascinated by the case arrives while another major player in the mystery nears death and may be ready to reveal what she knows. All is satisfactorily explained by the end but not after several twists and some deaths occur.
Bette Davis is fine as the tortured Charlotte since the role calls for her brand of unsubtle performance. Olivia de Havilland (one of the four leads in GONE WITH THE WIND) is even better as the calm and competent Miriam who may have a secret or two of her own. And Agnes Moorehead does perhaps the best acting in her role of Velma the servant who knows and sees all. The soundtrack of the film is excellent and the black and white cinematography enhances the mood and atmosphere of the story. Well worth watching by anyone who enjoys a murder mystery with a touch of horror movie conventions. ...more info
- Southern Gothic Shocker with First-Rate Cast
"Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" is a Gothic chiller set deliciously in the Deep South where poor cousin Charlotte (Bette Davis) is being pushed to the edge by her duplicitous relatives (Olivia deHavilland and lover Joseph Cotten) to gain the family fortune. The cast here is a superlative ensemble of veterans and their dynamics create the absorbing fun and drama of a great stage play. You've got Davis, deHavilland, Cotten (firing on all cylinders), Mary Astor (in her last film), Agnes Moorehead (wonderfully quirky and vivid as the housekeeper), Cecil Kellaway, and some of the best character actors of that era fleshing out even the tiny roles. It's effectively creepy with wonderful black and white photography; some stunning scenes (like the hallucinatory sequence in the ballroom with Charlotte meeting an old beau in a room full of ballroom dancers wearing masks, eerily illuminated); and boy, does this cast sink their teeth into it. The sinister relatives and friends preying on the mentally fragile elder really does ring true, too.
The only thing that rankles is -- good grief-- how macabre they make Davis with that pancake makeup and red lips! Give her -- and other older women -- some dignity; to say Hollywood was never kind to older women is an understatement! Yet as one reviewer mentioned, surely she does embody every crazy old lady in the crumbling mansion or house you've ever remembered from your childhood. And boy, I bet Joan Crawford was peeved she missed the chance to slap Davis around in the deHavilland role. Great fun!...more info
- One of the Great Films of the 1960's
HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE is one of the finest films in Bette Davis' long career, although it didn't quite get the full praise it deserved coming on the heels of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE and the slew of gothic thrillers starring aging movie queens in the 1960's that followed. Yet this is a engrossing, ultimately moving story of a child-like woman whose life has been ruined by a murder she may have or may not have committed. Bette gives an Oscar calibre performance as the high-strung Charlotte and she is matched by Olivia DeHavilland, superbly cool and calm but is she the daughter of Melanie Wilkes or her evil twin? You'll have to watch the movie to see.
The movie shot on location in Gonzales, Louisiana (outside of Baton Rouge and the hometown of 1950's "B" queen Cleo Moore), much of it filmed at historic Houmas House, one of the surviving Civil War era plantations which here is cast as Davis' home estate. Houmas House now has a Bette Davis Memorial Room honoring the actress and her career. ...more info
- What A Twisted Tale Of Life-Long Deception!
Davis and DeHavilland are truly at their best in this shocking thriller, set in the bayou country of Louisiana. The setting, the family dynamics, and the un-expected twists and turns in the story will keep your attention riveted to the screen. I enthusiastically recommend this movie to all lovers of Hollywood classics......more info
- A classic thriller!
Bette Davis, Agnes Moorhead and Olivia DeHaviland play cat and mouse with each other, unraveling an ages old mystery that has haunted the southern mansion, and psyche of Charlotte.
Great acting, a great plot and superb filming bring this film up to the classic standard.
If you've never seen it, make some popcorn, turn out the lights and have yourself a chill or two while watching this movie....more info
- WONDERFULLY OVER THE TOP
Although this 1964 shocker will probably be most remembered for Joan Crawford's unwillingness to rejoin her Baby Jane co-star Bette Davis, I think CHARLOTTE is a much better movie. Sure, it's way over the top but actresses such as Bette Davis, Olivia DeHavilland and Agnes Moorehead have the talent and panache to pull it off. With wonderful support from Joseph Cotten, Mary Astor, Victor Buono and Cecil Kellaway, the story unfolds nicely with Davis simply superb in her role as the demented Charlotte, a Southern Belle accused of murdering her married lover in 1927, but who feels she's protecting someone else. Olivia is smooth in a role she usually doesn't play and Moorehead richly deserved her Supporting Actress nomination as the dowdy housekeeper. The plot's pretty predictable but it's so lovingly crafted, it works. Actresses like these don't come along every day but be glad we were blessed with this trio!...more info
- Great Bette Davis Flick
I first saw this as a kid, and I knew exactly what was going on due to excellent story telling. It was a delight to finally have this movie on DVD--nice job but low on special features (if that is important to you). The commentary, though interesting, was more focused on trivia and actor bios while I would have prefered some technical talk (making of) and actor commentary from the surviving cast and crew of this 41 year old movie. Beautifully photographed in gorgeous black & white, this is a truly gothic movie. It is wonderful to watch these shadowy yet carefully lit dark scenes--and still be able to see everything that we are supposed to see. It's a long movie, but very involving and satisfying. I already knew that Davis would be great, but what really wowwed me was DeHavaland's performance. Moorehead is a hoot. The costumes and hair styles were not accurate in the 1927 prologue but this is a trivial point. The wider screen is an improvement on the full screen VHS versions, allowing us to see the true composition of the shots. Overall, I am pleased that I purchased this DVD. ...more info
- DAVIS'S LAST GREAT FILM
Made in 1964, this follow-up (not a sequel) to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" was Bette Davis's last great film. She made many other theatrical features subsequent to this but this film, with its grand scale and production values was truly her last memorable film. The story of "Baby Jane" was better but the production values of "Charlotte" are grander. The film received a total of seven well-deserved Oscar nominations. The supporting cast couldn't have been bettered, but it would have been interesting to see Joan Crawford as Miriam instead of Olivia deHavilland. Taking nothing away from deHavilland's fine performance, I would have loved to have seen Crawford in the scene where Miriam slaps Charlotte almost into a stupor. I would also have loved to have seen Davis crush Crawford to death! Agnes Moorehead was the film's sole acting Oscar nomination and she should have won. Her Velma Crother is fantastic, loyal, unflinching and hysterically funny! The scenes between her Joseph Cotten and deHavilland are a riot!! Davis is hammy and performs over-the-top but she said that is what the audience expected of her. If she had toned it down a little, perhaps she would have gotten another Oscar nomination. Still, Charlotte. with its dark, gothic mood and that beautiful unforgettable theme song still packs a great wallop today. As other reviewers have mentioned there is a commentary along in the DVD and two theatrical trailers, plus three television ad spots. The audio and video are beautifully remastered. There are subtitles as well. This is a thoroughly enjoyable Bette Davis film and the ending shots are as memorable as the beginning shots. A fine follow-up to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane".
Most memorable lines:
Charlotte: What...do you think...I asked you..her for...COMPANY????
Charlotte: (To Miriam) You're a vile sorry little @#!*&!!!
Velma: (To Miriam) What's goin' on up there that you don't want me to know 'bout?
Velma: (To Drew (Joseph Cotten) I reckon you'll be sniffin' around here more than usual now that Miss Miriam's back!
Charlotte: Damn you! Damn You! Get off my property or I'll shoot!!!!
Miriam: (To Charlotte) It's a cheap and disgusting magazine and only cheap and disgusting people will read it!
Miriam: (To Charlotte) Now will you shut your mouth!!!!
Miriam: (To CHarlotte) ....only because you were having a tawdry little affair with a married man!!!!
Charlotte: I must be a terrible person....to ...have killed Drew!!!...more info
- The hogs are definitely at the trough
Olivia de Havilland and Joseph Cotton scheme together to convince an already half-demented Bette Davis that she is totally mad so they can collect the family fortune. Long ago Davis's married lover had been murdered - by her father, she thought - but actually by his wife, who kept that a secret because de Havilland had been blackmailing her. The movie is famous for the histrionics of the main characters, especially Davis who is wild-eyed and screaming through most of the picture (using a totally fake Southern accent to boot). De Havilland is at the opposite end of the spectrum: smooth-talking and quiet-toned. Sometimes both actresses come across as mere types rather than real people. Agnes Moorhead plays the maid who crows the right conclusions first, and is the best of the lot here - she's very convincing. Not a bad movie, but perhaps if the hysteria was toned down it would've been better....more info
- CHARLOTTE ON DVD AT LAST! ... BUT WITH RESERVATIONS
ROBERT ALDRICH'S "HUSH...HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE IS FINALLY ON DVD!
THE IMAGE TRANSFER IS CRISP AND CLEAR, WITH VERY FEW SOURCE ELEMENTS.
THE AUDIO SELECTIONS ARE MONO, AND 2.0 STEREO. HOWEVER THE 2.0 STEREO IS VERY WEAK, POSSIBLY SIMULATED.
I WON'T RE-HASH THE STORY, COUNTLESS OTHERS HAVE DONE THAT, BUT BETTE DAVIS, AGNES MOOREHEAD, OLIVIA DE HAVILAND, JOSEPH COTTON, AND MARY ASTOR DO A TERRIFIC JOB IN THIS GHOULISH GEM.
THE MAIN LET DOWN WITH THE DVD RELEASE IS THE SPECIAL FEATURES.
THE AUDIO COMMENTARY BY GLENN ERICKSON IS GOOD, BUT LEAVES THE VIEWER LONGING FOR A FEATURETTE WITH MAYBE A FEW INTERVIEWS WITH FRIENDS, AND SURVIVING PRODUCTION MEMBERS OF THE CAST AND CREW.
THIS WOULD HAVE GREATLY ENHANCED THIS DVD.
ALSO, THEY COULD HAVE INCLUDED A CAST AND CREW BIO. NOT TO MENTION PRODUCTION PHOTOS, INPARTICULAR OF JOAN CRAWFORD, AS MIRIAM DEERING.(PHOTOS EXIST, I'VE SEEN A COUPLE OF THEM IN BOOKS, BUT YOU WOULD THINK THAT THE FOX VAULTS HAVE MORE.)
IT'S INTERESTING TO SEE THE PREVIEWS, AND TV SPOTS, BUT YOU HAVE TO WONDER WHAT THE PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT AT FOX WAS THINKING, AS THIS IS A MYSTERY SHOCKER, AND THE PREVIEWS GIVE AWAY A GOOD PART OF THE MYSTERY???
ALL IN ALL, A VERY GOOD DVD OF A SUPER SHOCKER, DON'T LET THE "SPECIAL FEATURES" SHORTCOMMINGS STOP YOU FROM BUYING THIS CLASSIC FOR YOUR COLLECTION.
- Why did I never hear about this before?
I LOVE this movie. Why is it not talked about more? While it may be a little over-the-top, it's still a well made movie. The plot is completely original, and the acting is some of the best I have ever seen. I have never seen Joseph Cotten act so evil! I really wish Bette Davis would have done more movies like this. If you've already seen this movie, i recommend "The Nanny" (I think that's what it's called) and "Whatever happened to Baby Jane." In my opinion, neither of these surpasses this. If you love movies about sane people who are driven insane, this movie is for you!...more info
- Hush now and watch this old classic
An involving, entertaining movie from Bette Davis' early 60's shocker/thriller period. Though it runs a little long, its southern-gothic plotline, high moments of melodrama, and lurid effects will likely keep you watching until the end. The economically-priced DVD gives you a nice sharp print of the film and a very informative, entertaining commentary track by internet film critic and essayist Glenn Erickson (also known as the "DVD Savant" at a popular DVD web site). After watching the film, it's definitely worth re-running it with Mr. Erickson's knowledgeable, anecdote-rich track playing. A nice little DVD all around....more info
- "Bette and Olivia Nearly Destroy Each Other In This!"
It was announced in December, 1963 that the two stars of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, would be reunited for "Hush, Hush...Sweet Charlotte". After the huge financial and critical success of "Baby Jane", studios were fawning all over themselves for a vehicle the would bring these two movie goddesses back together. Before "Baby Jane" no one wanted Davis and Crawford in their movies, as the film studios felt they did not appeal to the box office. Once Joan and Bette's careers were reignited again, Hollywood was knocking down their doors. "Hush, Hush..." was suppose to star the two, but because of ill health and Davis' harsh treatment of her on the set, Joan fell ill and was hospitalized. What a terrible loss the studio had, as well as us fans, as we never saw Joan as Miriam in the final film. It would have been so neat to see Joan, as Miriam, beating the crap out of Bette as Charlotte, as the complete opposite happened in "Baby Jane", where Bette's character was the antagonist and abuser.
Olivia DeHavilland does, however, give a remarkable performance in this film as Miriam. Olivia detetested doing bitch roles, but both Bette and director Robert Aldrich persuaded her to do the film. What makes her character so evil is the subtext in which she uses in her portrayal: we, as the audience, at the beginning of the picture, believe that Miriam is such a kind-hearted, soft spoken woman who's best interest is her cousin Charlotte's welfare: we soon discover none of this is true as Olivia portrays one of the most evil, psychotic women ever on film.
The rest of the cast is first rate, from Agnes Moorehead, who plays Charlotte's maid Velma, to Joseph Cotten, who plays an unscrupulous doctor, out to destroy Charlotte.
"Hush, Hush...Sweet Charlotte" is the best film in the "Baby Jane" genre. There were many 1960's films that tried to duplicate the success of "Baby Jane", like "Lady in a Cage", Straight-Jacket", and "Dead Ringer", but "Hush, Hush" comes a close second to being the sequel that it was suppose to be to the mother film.
According to Bette Davis, she wasn't overly fond of the film, but fans of these hag-films, like me, love these vehicles: nothing like watching former movie queens, looking like hell, and tearing up the scenery!
This film also received a whopping 7 Academy Award nominations, but winning none: at the time the film set a record for a horror film receiving the most Oscar nods. This record would be broken in 1991 by "The Silence of the Lambs".
There is also another DVD release of "Hush, Hush" that is available, but if you already have the 2005 DVD release of the film I would suggest in passing on it. There is a neat documentary on the film, but it doesn't really offer anything that we ardent Bette and Joan fans don't already know. Contrary to public belief there are no Joan Crawford deleted scenes on the 2008 DVD release. Rumor has it 20th Century Fox destroyed the scenes that Joan did prior to leaving the film. In the second DVD there are still pictures of Joan in character as Miriam, but that is about it....more info
- Good Deal
The product was new in the wrapper and delivered quickly at a good price. This is one of Bette Davis's best performances....more info
- About Bloody Time!!!
Whew!!! Here's a great film that took ages to finaly make it to the DVD format. Hey Fox, what took you guys so long?! Oh well, it doesn't matter. At least it's finally here.
This is the film that single-handedly transformed my perception of what an "old" film could be. I remember when I was thirteen years old (1996) and I caught this one on AMC on a stormy evening. By the fantastic staircase confrontation scene between Velma (Agnes Moorehead) and the sinister Cousin Miriam (Olivia DeHavilland, the movie had absolutely grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn't let go. I was captivated. I've had a lifelong love affair with older suspense films such as this one ever since, and this particular masterpiece is still my all-time favorite film.
If you've got a young person in your family who wonders why people are always talking about the "Golden Age" of film, you just pop this baby into the DVD player and let those young'uns learn a thing or two. If they're anything like me, they'll fall in love....more info
- "Southern Gothic Who-Done-It"
"Charlotte....Charlotte....Charlotte," I can still hear the ghostly cries of Charlotte's name echoing through the Hollis plantation house. Is it the voice of her dearly departed lover, John Mayhew? (played nicely by Bruce Dern). Returned from the other world softly calling for his dear Charlotte. The harpsichord playing the soft and gentle song that he wrote for her, as he sings ...hush,...hush sweet Charlotte. Was it Charlotte's father that murdered her beloved with an axe as he sat waiting for Charlotte in the summerhouse? Or was it John's jealous wife, Jewel Mayhew (Mary Astor's final role, brilliantly done) that wielded the fatal blows? Or perhaps it was Charlotte's own dear cousin Miriam (memorable performance by Olivia deHavilland) that hacked poor John to pieces? Or could Dr. Drew (Joseph Cotton, seething with southern charm) have done such a terrible thing? A southern gothic tale filled with chills and haunting atmosphere sweeps the viewer into a cobweb of mystery and suspense. This is a classic cast of stellar performers who knew how to bring their audience into a story and keep them entertained until the very end. "Hush....Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is filled with haunting atmosphere, suspense, and in one memorable scene, pure terror. Bette Davis gives her all, and then some, as the forever grieving Charlotte Hollis. A southern heiress wrongfully accused of her lover's murder. Agnes Moorehead goes over the top as kooky and eccentric housekeeper, Velma Crothers- her performance alone is worth the price of admission. This film is among my personal favorite gothic ghost story movies. I highly recommend this movie for fans of, "The Haunting" (1963), "The Innocents" (1961) and "Paranoiac" (1963).
**UPDATE!** "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is now available in a fantastic 2-Disc Special Edition! Which you may buy either individually or as part of "The Bette Davis Centenary Celebration Collection!" Lots of extras and loads of fun!...more info
- Excellent Southern Gothic
"Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" explores many of the same themes as its better-known predecessor "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? ", in that it's a tale of isolation, dementia and familial manipulation. Also, it shares a lot of the same creative team behind that monumentally good thriller - Bette Davis and Victor Buono as Charlotte and her Daddy, and Robert Aldrich takes the directorial helm once more. I was therefore expecting it to be good, maybe not as tight or together as Baby Jane, but decent nonetheless. I wasn't prepared at all for how good it actually is.
Charlotte Hollis (Davis) has been shut away in her crumbling old mansion for the last 20 years, the victim of society rumours and the unproven murder of her married lover. She's been harassed by both children and adults alike, and hasn't but two friends in the world - her Doctor Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten) and her crotchety maid Velma Cruther (Agnes Moorehead). When she refuses point blank to acknowledge that her home must be torn down by the state of Louisiana to make way for roads and bridges, she writes to her career-girl cousin Miriam (Oilvia DeHavilland), asking for help in saving the home where they both grew up. Miriam arrives and suddenly, the body count starts to rise as Charlotte starts to get a whole lot crazier.
The first and most startling aspect of this movie is just how unlike Baby Jane it is. So forget Baby Jane as a template - sure, Davis may wander about in white lace party dresses far too young for her character, but that's really about it. It's much, much slower to start, too, but all the more rewarding for it. Aldrich's direction is masterful, his claustrophobic and languid camerawork provides the perfect backdrop for the gothic tone and story, and his script is far more well-rounded and fleshed-out than that of Baby Jane.
Performances average out as excellent, and the standout players come in the shape of DeHavilland as cousin Miriam, and Moorehead as the drudge Velma. DeHavilland's perfect for the role, being utterly ladylike and charming, but possessed of a calm restraint that make her more pivotal scenes literally jump from the screen. Moorehead is possibly one of the most 'real' performances I've seen in a black and white movie from any age. She's believable and unglamorous and completely enthralling to watch. Davis breathes a pitiable and magnetic sort of life into the character of Charlotte, she's excellent as usual, but one can't help but feel that in the mire of excellent performances given by her supporting cast, that she does not stand out too much as simply Bette Davis in a Bette Davis picture.
The one element missing from the cast is the Human character, the one we can truly relate to. Joan Crawford's Blanche Hudson was the perfect counterpoint to Davis' screechy Baby Jane, and here, although DeHavilland's cousin Miriam is the 'normal' one, she still lacks the vulnerability and frailty we need to truly feel an attachment. Mary Astor as wronged wife Jewel Mayhew is, perhaps, the closest comparison, but her part is not big enough. Still, this is a small quibble that doesn't detract from the movie's effectiveness in the least.
Special effects, it also must be said, are really very good for a movie of this period!
The twists and turns in the plot are truly surprising, and the climactic scenes are absolutely spectacular, thanks to DeHavilland's consummate skill in her role and Aldrich's superlative direction. This is a slower, heavier, far more atmospheric ride than the excellent Baby Jane, and well-worth your cash.
Thoroughly recommended....more info
- over the top camp
If you want to have some fun watching two old broad icons from the golden age of Hollywood, this movie is for you. Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland chew the scenery with no holds barred and the result is over the top camp. The story line, with Bette living a life of guilt over the death of her married lover, can be confusing at times but the performances are worth watching. Agnes Moorehead, an actress who never got her due, is a riot as Velma, the housekeeper loyal to Bette. Certainly not a Bette Davis classic like The Letter or Dark Victory, but a good watch all the same....more info
- Still creepy
A classic creepy psycho-thriller that will keep you awake. Who is the really crazy one? Is it Charlotte? Is there really a poltergeist who causes things only Charlotte can see? Bette Davis is at her domineering and twisted evil best in this classic. You will not wan to miss it....more info
- Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte
This is a great movie and I am very pleased with it....more info
- "What do you think I invited you here for? Comp-ney?"
"Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" is as much a gothic horror story as any told by any true Southerner. While not a direct "sequel" to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?," HHSC is a true follow-up to the former film. HHSC is absolutely dripping with mood and intensity. You can almost feel the oppressive heat and humidity and smell the crisp night air and the mildewed scent of decaying Spanish moss and rot.
Robert Aldrich should have continued creating films such as these for as long as he could, because he definitely had two hits with WEHBJ and HHSC. He wisely used very tight and unique scripts for both projects, but I have to be honest, I quite prefer "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" to Baby Jane. Part of that is the pervasive mood of Charlotte and part of it is the cast, and the characters that exist in HHSC. Maybe Aldrich managed such a stellar cast for his second outing with Davis because of the sleeper hit status Baby Jane achieved (in fact, it drew Oscar nods for both Davis and Crawford and reinvigorated the careers of both). Regardless, when you have: Bette Davis, Olivia de Haviland (who Davis insisted replace Joan Crawford), Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Victor Buono, Mary Astor, and Bruce Dern it is impossible to not have the cast light up the screen.
While a cast such as this was sure to create a box office, "...Charlotte" wouldn't have had the legs it's had all these years if there weren't a good story to go with them - and it certainly has that.
Charlotte Hollis (Davis) is an old spinster who's never been the same since her beau John Mayhew (Dern), who Daddy (Buono) despised was murdered. The townspeople have always believed Charlotte murdered ol' John and though she was never charged with the crime, public opinion long ago convicted her. Living in seclusion in her now decrepit and hauntingly eerie plantation home, Charlotte is desperate for assistance - the once grand southern mansion is scheduled for demolition in order to put in a new highway. Charlotte calls Cousin Miriam (de Havilland) to come down and fix it so that nothing happens to the house. Miriam comes....but she has other plans on her mind - she is going to help Charlotte pack up and get out of the house. She wants to get Charlotte's money...and there's lots of it. Along with her boyfriend, Dr. Bayliss (Cotten), they lay out a plan to have Charlotte committed, as once done, Miriam will be the only Hollis heir left to receive the family fortune.
Weak and fraile, Charlotte would be an easy mark if it were not for her maid Velma (outrageously and stellarly played by Moorehead) and a reporter by the name of Harry Willis (Cecil Kellaway), who seems to have sympathy for the old girl. Regardless, Miriam and Dr. Bayliss are quite determined. How it plays out is what makes this film a tour de force and a nail biting thriller.
As I said, the performances in this film are some of the finest you will ever encounter and it may be because these venerable actors were enjoying the freedom of an independent filmmaker AND because they were all potentially creating a "comeback". However, I don't believe these actors were that selfish in their craft - no, their performances are the creation of a love of their work and the joy they had working with others who were all tops in their field.
With more quotable lines than I can begin to enumerate, HHSC is a film that you must become immersed in. Let the wave of stagnant air and rotting timbers overtake you and you will become a captive of this fine, fine film....more info
- Terrific Horror Film with Southern Gothic Atmosphere...
The classically gothic atmosphere emerges in the opening of Robert Aldrich's film Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) through a number of shots of a plantation mansion in a desolate and mysterious location somewhere in the South. Clever editing of several angles of the old mansion accentuates the grandeur of the place while also bringing forth an ominous tone. Simultaneous to the imagery the audience can hear an angry voice that at first is hard to distinguish, but as the camera moves closer to the manor it becomes easier to understand. It is a simple, yet ingenious approach to set up the suspenseful elements of the story, which does not waste anytime in this fifteen minute long prologue.
Two years prior Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Aldrich directed What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? A dark claustrophobic tale of family dysfunction where Aldrich paired up Bette Davis with Joan Crawford, which gave him a second chance to reunite the brilliant actors in another creepy film. However, it was a short-lived delight for Aldrich who stood without Crawford at the beginning of the production, as she had to withdraw from her part due to medical reasons. Consequently, Aldrich substituted Crawford with Olivia de Havilland, whose talent emerges in the role as Charlotte's cousin Miriam Deering.
The previously mentioned gothic atmosphere rests heavily on the lengthy prologue where the audience is introduced to a love triangle that has been uncovered by Big Sam (Victor Buono). Big Sam is the father of Charlotte who has fallen in love with the married man, John Mayhew (Bruce Dern), who has the intentions of eloping with Charlotte. Unfortunately Big Sam has found out about John's affair with his daughter, and he intends to stop John at any costs. Big Sam demands that John break up the affair, as he does not want John to get his hands on his fortune through his daughter. Eventually, when John breaks off the relationship he seriously upsets the woman who in jealous rage slashes him up with a cleaver. John's body is later found decapitated and without a right hand, as his head and hand are nowhere to be found in this macabre opening.
Several decades after the murder of John, more precisely 1964, Charlotte (Bette Davis) still lives in the old mansion. Years of mismanagement of the old mansion have left the manor in a shabby condition, which augments the gothic atmosphere. To further develop the mystifying tone in the film kids have created nursery rhymes similar to one for the legendary murderer Lizzie Borden, which goes:
"Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one."
The reason why kids, on occasion, wander close to the worn-down mansion is to test their courage, as it is believed that the crazy woman Charlotte still haunts the house. It is publicly known that she also murdered her lover John. Also, to increase the fear of those who dare to enter the mansion the children chant:
"Chop, chop, sweet Charlotte,
Chop, chop till he's dead.
Chop, chop, sweet Charlotte,
Chop off his hand and head."
The first 30 minutes sets up a rather intriguing and complex story, as the audience also learns that Charlotte was never brought to trial due to lack of evidence. The acquittal is something many suggest has to do with Big Sam's influential friends in New Orleans. This notion also brings out the thought of vengeful ghosts, as strange occurrences happen in the old manor. Further complexity surfaces in the story when it is revealed that the state of Louisiana has decided to build a highway and a bridge where the mansion is located. Through this effort by the state the audience gets an opportunity to study Charlotte's eccentric and mad behavior. The plot around Charlotte thickens when her cousin Miriam Deering arrives, as she also bear witness to the strange occurrences on the manor.
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte presents an intriguing story with depth in the plot and a frightful atmosphere. However, there are scenes that seem to intentionally use cinematic elements from other films from the preceding decade. It is evident that there is a strong presence of Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho (1960) in the beginning of the film in both the detailed mise-en-scene and the murder. Henri-Georges Clouzot's brilliant Les Diabolique (1955) also makes an obvious appearance through one of the many twists. The cinematic application of other films hurts the film's uniqueness and integrity. Nonetheless, the film succeeds through the terrific performance of both Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland to portraying a Southern gothic horror film, which leaves the audience wondering despite the anticlimactic ending....more info
- Where's Joan?
I wonder if the scenes that Joan Crawford did film before she left the picture are still in existence. If so, it would be wonderful to have them as extras on a DVD....more info
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