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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 24 December 1964 (USA)
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An aging, reclusive Southern belle plagued by a horrifying family secret descends into madness after the arrival of a lost relative.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Henry Farrell (screenplay), Lukas Heller (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Charlotte Hollis
Olivia de Havilland ... Miriam
Joseph Cotten ... Dr. Drew Bayliss
Agnes Moorehead ... Velma Cruther
Cecil Kellaway ... Harry Willis
Victor Buono ... Big Sam Hollis
Mary Astor ... Jewel Mayhew
Wesley Addy ... Sheriff Luke Standish
William Campbell ... Paul Marchand
Bruce Dern ... John Mayhew
Frank Ferguson ... Editor
George Kennedy ... Foreman
Dave Willock ... Taxi Driver
Michel Petit Michel Petit ... Gang Leader (as Michael Petit)
John Megna ... New Boy
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Storyline

Aged, wealthy Charlotte Hollis has lived as a recluse in the crumbling family plantation mansion in Hollisport, Louisiana since her father Sam Hollis' death thirty-six years ago. The only people who regularly see her are her hard-as-nails but seemingly loyal housekeeper, Velma Crowther, and her longtime friend and physician, Dr. Drew Bayliss. She has lived there most of her life except for a short stint in London thirty-seven years ago following the vicious murder of her married lover, John Mayhew, at the plantation's summer house while Sam was hosting one of his legendary grand balls in the mansion. She and John had planned to run off together that night, but instead he was bludgeoned to death, his head and right hand severed from his body. Nobody was ever convicted for his murder, but most people believe Charlotte did it after John changed his mind about running off with her. They also believe that Charlotte, whom they haven't seen in years, is a crazy old woman. Conversely, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't Tell Anyone What Happened In The Summer House! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,235,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,000,000, 31 January 1966
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On Friday, June 12, 1964, the last day of shooting in Louisiana, after some late-afternoon shots, Joan Crawford was relaxing in her trailer, on hand if needed for additional scenes. She apparently dozed off, because when she woke up, it was dark. When she sent her maid to check when shooting would be completed, she found the place empty. The crew had packed up and left, leaving Joan at the rear of the house, in her trailer, with no transportation back to the motel. Outraged, Joan returned to Los Angeles, California the next day and checked herself into Cedars Sinai Hospital. See more »

Goofs

When Miriam meets Jewel in public, a smiling young girl extra with a bouffant hairdo and a ribbon in her hair can be seen walking behind them. Seconds later, the same girl walks behind them again. See more »

Quotes

Harry Willis: You're my favorite living mystery.
Charlotte: Have you ever solved me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1927 See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to heavily edit the opening cleaver murder, and some cut prints have also been shown on Channel 4 TV. Video and DVD releases are uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Bette Davis (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Lyric by Mack David
Music by Frank De Vol
Sung by Al Martino (uncredited)
[Performed over the closing credits]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Solid little shocker
16 April 2011 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

In 1962, when the careers of acting heavyweights such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Olivia De Havilland were beginning to subside as the years took their toll, director Robert Aldrich directed Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, a story of sibling jealousy and sadism that saw Davis and Crawford go head to head. The film was notorious not only for it's brilliance, but for it's genuine rivalry between the film's two leads. The film was a success, and unwittingly gave birth to a new genre that has since become known as 'hagspolitation' or 'psycho-biddy thrillers', a splurge of films that usually portrayed a psychotic older woman played by a 1940-50's superstar. Davis and Crawford were the key players in the sub-genre, and they were both cast by Altman in his next film, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, only for Crawford to drop out due to 'illness', when in reality it was because she just couldn't take Davis' bullying and general nasty behaviour. She was replaced by De Havilland, and although the film doesn't come near to capturing the greatness of Baby Jane, it is still a nice little shocker.

Beginning with a shocking murder that sees a married man who is having an affair with Charlotte (Davis) have his arm and head hacked off with a huge cleaver, the film jumps forward four decades, where the ageing Charlotte lives alone in her giant mansion that is being torn down by city developers. Haunted by the murder of her former lover (for which she may or may not have been the culprit), Charlotte is losing her mind when her cousin Miriam (De Havilland) comes to stay to try and convince her to leave before she is arrested by the developers for failing to leave her home. What follows is Charlotte's fast decent into insanity, but is she being played and manipulated by people after her vast fortune?

The film is a solid horror film with some genuine shocks and extreme gore for its day. Of course, the ever-reliable Bette Davis is superb as the squeaky-voice southern gal seemingly with the mind of an infant. Although the film works well as both a Southern Gothic horror and as a thriller, the film doesn't have the intensity to last out the 2 hours and 15 minute running time and slightly outstays his welcome. But their is solid support from Joseph Cotten, an actor who has never been recognised enough for his excellent body of work, and Agnes Moorehead, another main player in the genre.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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