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Die Die My Darling

Tallulah Bankhead , Stefanie Powers , Silvio Narizzano    DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 60.49
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In the tradition of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Hammer Studios drew aging Tallulah Bankhead out of retirement to play the fanatical matriarch of Die! Die! My Darling! (in Britain the film was simply titled Fanatic). Stefanie Powers, fresh from a string of juvenile and ingenue roles, plays her first adult, a thoroughly modern (and sexually liberated) woman who steps out of her time and into Bankhead's decaying mansion, a bit of southern Gothic nestled in the rural England countryside. Her courtesy call to the mother of her deceased lover turns into a cat-and-mouse thriller as the dotty, scripture-reading old lady dedicates herself to "cleansing" the befouled girl in memory of her son. Richard Matheson's smart screenplay (from the novel Nightmare by Anne Blaisdell) gives Powers a scrappy character, defying Bankhead and struggling to escape at every turn, while Bankhead's increasingly deranged campaign is given a delicious dimension with a marvelously schizophrenic backstory. Director Silvio Narizzano tends to overplay his hand at times and at one point steals a scene right out of Psycho, but he happily makes the battle of wits the central focus, letting the gothic elements stand as flourish. Peter Vaughan costars as a sleazy, salacious caretaker who can't keep his paws of their captive and Donald Sutherland has a small role as an idiot odd-job man devoted to his bizarre little family. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

An elderly religious fanatic whose son was killed in an auto wreck several years ago kidnaps her dead son's former fiancée and keeps her locked up in the basement in order to cleanse the girl's soul, making it fit to be reunited with her son in heaven. Stars Stefanie Powers (TV’s "Hart to Hart") and screen legend Tallulah Bankhead in her last film.

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5.0 out of 5 stars DELICIOUSLY CAMPY March 14 2004
Format:DVD
DIE DIE MY DARLING was one of Hammer's diversions into "psychological horror", and it is a very interesting and well-made film. Scripted by the talented Richard Matheson, the story unfolds lazily, although we know the minute Stefanie Powers meets the irrepressible Tallulah Bankhead, the fun is about to start. Bankhead's remarkably smoky voice propels this fanatical old woman, and her performance is remarkably restrained; I think she did better in some ways than Bette or Joan in their "horror" movie days. I actually came to hate the woman with each ridiculous dependence on her Biblical reasoning for tormenting Powers. Powers herself does an excellent job in going from the sweet young thing to the venomous hussy who wants to tell Bankhead exactly what kind of girl she is. Yootha Joyce as Anna, and Peter Vaughan as her lecherous husband Harry, are very good in supporting roles; Donald Sutherland's idiot role demonstrates what a versatile actor he was going to be.
The film's opening credits, with the cat chasing the mouse, and the unusually bouncy jazz score, indicate that what's about to happen is being done tongue in cheek; yet the movie has a dark underlying evil that crescendos into a descent into madness.
This is a good, sturdy film.
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Format:DVD
Stefanie Powers is Patricia "Pat" Carroll, a beautiful young american woman visiting England with her fiance. While there, she decides to keep a promise she'd made to her late boyfriend's mother (Tallulah Bankhead) and pay her a visit. Bad idea! You see, mum is actually a hyper-religious maniac who's been going increasingly bonkers in her moldering old mansion. Pat arrives and the fun begins. Mrs. Trefoile (mum) is distressed by Pat's attitude and worldly ways. She had figured that Pat would remain a devoted "wife" to her dead son, saving herself for him in heaven. Pat does not measure up to mum's expectations at all! So, with the help of her housekeeper Anna (Yootha Joyce) and Anna's lecherous husband Harry (Peter Vaughan), mum sets out to "save" Pat by kidnapping, starving, and torturing her with hours of monotonous bible teachings. When Pat finally stands up to her, mum pulls a gun on her! Now, THAT'S some old time religion! Pat's clothes are shredded, her make-up destroyed, and her jewelry confiscated. Mum has a "simpler" life in store for her. Thankfully, Pat is not a complete mush, and does try to escape many times. Her character is fairly realistic and sympathetic. Mrs. Trefoile is of course the demented center of this story. Her hidden basement room contains the truth of her existence. What's in there? Why does she go there late at night? DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! is a tense cat and mouse flick with some nice sharp turns. I loved every minute! Check out Donald Sutherland as the gardener! Highly recommended...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Camp classic comes to DVD Aug. 20 2003
Format:DVD
This is a film that is great fun if you like Tallulah Bankhead and camp. Bankhead didn't make very many films, especially in her later years, but she did this one basically for the money and because other distinguished actresses (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, etc.) were making horror films.
In "Die, Die, My Darling", a Hammer production (originally titled "Fanatic" in England where it was filmed), Tallulah plays a religious zealot who cannot get over the death of her son. When her son's former fiancee (Stephanie Powers) arrives to pay her a visit, she becomes more and more enraged when she finds that Powers has participated in all kinds of ungodly things like falling in love again and heaven forbid, wearing make-up! She then traps Powers in her attic where she torments her. It's all quite over the top, offering a minimum of suspense, but it is, nevertheless, quite entertaining.
Bankhead filmed the movie just a few years before she died. She was plagued by a number of health problems at the time (most of them caused by too much drinking and smoking). She wears no make-up, her hair was dyed gray and put in a bun and there were many harsh, unflattering close-ups. Before the film was released, it was shown to Tallulah and a small audience of her friends. After her first scene, she stood up and told everyone, "Darlings, I must apologize for looking older than God's wet nurse."
"Die, Die, My Darling" is a hoot to watch. The role had to have been 180 degrees from Tallulah herself, but she pulls off the role flawlessly. She delivers Bible verses in her sonorous voice in a rapid-fire manner. Her double takes, as in response to Powers appearing in red dress and red lipstick, are hilarious.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Camp classic comes to DVD Aug. 20 2003
By Phillip Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a film that is great fun if you like Tallulah Bankhead and camp. Bankhead didn't make very many films, especially in her later years, but she did this one basically for the money and because other distinguished actresses (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, etc.) were making horror films.
In "Die, Die, My Darling", a Hammer production (originally titled "Fanatic" in England where it was filmed), Tallulah plays a religious zealot who cannot get over the death of her son. When her son's former fiancee (Stephanie Powers) arrives to pay her a visit, she becomes more and more enraged when she finds that Powers has participated in all kinds of ungodly things like falling in love again and heaven forbid, wearing make-up! She then traps Powers in her attic where she torments her. It's all quite over the top, offering a minimum of suspense, but it is, nevertheless, quite entertaining.
Bankhead filmed the movie just a few years before she died. She was plagued by a number of health problems at the time (most of them caused by too much drinking and smoking). She wears no make-up, her hair was dyed gray and put in a bun and there were many harsh, unflattering close-ups. Before the film was released, it was shown to Tallulah and a small audience of her friends. After her first scene, she stood up and told everyone, "Darlings, I must apologize for looking older than God's wet nurse."
"Die, Die, My Darling" is a hoot to watch. The role had to have been 180 degrees from Tallulah herself, but she pulls off the role flawlessly. She delivers Bible verses in her sonorous voice in a rapid-fire manner. Her double takes, as in response to Powers appearing in red dress and red lipstick, are hilarious. It was Tallulah's only appearance in a color film and she is practically unrecognizable except for her distinctive voice, which gives her away.
It is great to see this film restored to dvd. The picture has never been sharper - you can actually see a fly buzzing around Tallulah in one scene where she is lying on her bed! The film featured a muted color palette and they appear true and not saturated. The sound (Dolby Digital monaural) is decent for a film over 40 years old. The extras are a disappointment though and feature only three trailers ("Homicidal", "Strait Jacket" and "Mr. Sardonicus").
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We use not condiments of any kind in this house, Patricia! Oct. 30 2004
By cookieman108 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After the release of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) terrified viewing audiences (and raked in the dough), homicidal murderers became the soup de jour for exploitationeers as crazed crackpots, lunatic liquidators, erratic executioners, berserk butchers, and deranged death dealers flooded the silver screen, all in an attempt to entertain and cash in on what most of us wanted, that being a jolly good fright. Within the genre, studios found women could be just as scary (sometimes even more so) as men, which helped revive the careers of a few starlets, thought past their prime, the most famous being Bette Davis (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte) and Joan Crawford (Straight-Jacket), but one shouldn't overlook the performance of one Ms. Tallulah Bankhead (Lifeboat) in her last on screen role as Mrs. Trefoile in the Hammer Studios produced Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) aka Fanatic.

The film, adapted for the screen by none other than Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man, House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, The Legend of Hell House), was directed by Silvio Narizzano (Georgy Girl) and stars, along with Ms. Bankhead, Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart). Also appearing is Peter Vaughn (Straw Dogs), Maurice Kaufmann (The Abominable Dr. Phibes), Yootha (sounds like a character from a Godzilla film) Joyce (A Man for All Seasons), along with a youngish Donald Sutherland (Kelly's Heroes) as Joseph, the mildly retarded, almost ghoulish looking groundskeeper.

As the film opens, we see a smart young couple, Alan (Kaufmann) and Patricia (Powers), traveling in an even smarter looking coupe. They just arrived in England by boat, and are soon to be married. Thing is, Patricia had been engaged before, although her betrothed, Stephen, died in mysterious circumstances, and Patricia promised to visit Stephen's mother, Mrs. Trefoile (Bankhead), if she ever made it to the British Isle, very much against Alan's wishes, but it is something Patricia feels she must do in order for her to move on with her life. She makes her way through the English countryside, coming upon a rather large, slightly dilapidated house, home to Mrs. Trefoile and her few servants. Initially coming for a short visit, Patricia finds herself spending the night (and more) as Mrs. Trefoile sees it as her duty to `cleanse' Patricia's wicked spirit, making her suitable for her dead son (you see, Mrs. Trefoile believes engagement and marriage are the same thing in the eyes of the Lord, so they're actually related now, even though Patricia never married her son). Creepy stuff, huh? It gets worse...Patricia tries to leave, but Mrs. Trefoile will have none of that, and locks Patricia in the attic, so that she may infuse the spirit of the Lord into her soul, through a steady diet of starvation and scripture (if it weren't for tough love, I'd have no love at all).

One thing I noticed right away about Die! Die! My Darling! is a really well done and intelligent script, infused with slight touches of humor and a sense of realism built into the characters through careful and fairly meticulous development. Also, I thought all the actors did a fine job, especially Ms. Bankhead, who really acted her wrinkled behind off presenting a domineering character whose motivations seemed murky at best (is it salvation she seeks for Patricia and ultimately her son Stephen, or revenge?) Her religious zealotry seemed genuine (she doesn't use any condiments, not even salt, as she believes food shouldn't be `adorned' and eaten as God intended...mirror, mirror on the wall...wait, there are no mirrors...oh yeah, they promote vanity you dirty sinner) and thoroughly realistic (similar to Piper Laurie's character in the Brian DePalma's 1976 film Carrie), while in a lesser movie it would have come off as silly, one dimensional, and less than believable. She wasn't necessarily evil, but her belief was so strong and all encompassing that she felt what she was doing was right (delirious dementia can be the most dangerous, fearsome kind of monster of all). I really loved the fact the she was even too `religious' for her own church, preferring to hold services within her own home as she found the rector to be an unsavory sort since he remarried after the passing of his first wife. I thought Stefanie Powers also did very well, struggling to escape, finding herself being drawn deeper and deeper into the morass of Mrs. Trefoile's `tough love' campaign. I felt sorry for her, for her predicament, but also because she seemed to spend a lot of time getting slapped around. Even the secondary characters were developed nicely, presenting suitable reasoning for their enduring the lifestyle forced upon them by their mistress (well, except for Joseph, who really needed no development as his was a life of simplicity, blissful ignorance, doing what he was told, subsisting mainly off the charity of others...and what was up with that maid? She was like freakishly strong...oh yeah, if you like `cat' fights, there's a decent one in here). Narizzano's direction suited the story well, and he kept the story going, delivering the goods at the appropriate time, and building on the tension an suspense inherent within the story. I really liked the austere house most of the story took place in, and thought it was used well to complement the film as a whole. Yeah, the film is camp, but pure and unadulterated (just like Mrs. Trefoile likes her food) camp.

Presented here is a really good looking wide screen (1.85.1) print, re-mastered in high definition. The picture is clear, but I did notice some minor white `speckling', probably due to age deterioration. The Dolby Digital 1.0 sound is quite good, but English subtitles are available for the hard of hearing. The special features are surprising few, with only three trailers (none for this film), all William Castle films in Mr. Sardonicus (1961), Straight-Jacket (1964), and Homicidal (1961).

Cookieman108
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remember: NO Lipstick! Jan. 24 2002
By David Von Pein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I enjoyed the powerful performances turned in here by Miss Powers and Miss Bankhead. Bankhead appears to be having a ball as a bible-spewing nut case, who proceeds to torture the daylights out of her deceased son's ex-fiancee, after she comes for a friendly visit. The beautiful Stefanie Powers is perfect as the tormented prisoner of the wicked old battle-ax. A very good ending as well. A movie well worth your viewing time. Keep an eye out for Donald Sutherland as a dim-witted servant.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, Terrifying Tallulah July 19 2005
By tmp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Well, it had to happen. After about everybody came out of the woodwork to make an aging-gorgon-goes-horror, Hammer trots out this seemingly sure fire camp-fest: Starlet Stefanie Powers menaced by gorgon Tallulah Bankhead.

But I don't know if they meant it or not, but they actually got a lot more than the sum of it's parts. Despite the rather sleazy script and some cheesy effects, we have a believable performance from Stefanie Powers as in danger girl (really, we have had too much exposure to Ripley and Buffy- if someone showed up casually firing a handgun near your cranium, you'd cower too!) paying a duty visit to the mother of her recently deceased boyfriend, played in a really surfing-the-edge performance by Tallu. As the demented religion-crazed Mrs Trefoyle, Tallulah is by turns delicate, regal, trashy, insane, sexy, ludicrous and commanding. In her later years, she's unconstrained from the 30's idea that she had to be the American Dietrich, and she commits to film the sort of daring performance she did on stage that made one reviewer comment he'd go to her plays because she was always skating on thin ice- and he wanted to see if she'd fall through.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MRS. TALLULAH BANKHEAD'S BEST PERFORMANCE!!! July 17 2006
By John D. Seneca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
THIS IS A FANTASTIC HAMMER STUDIO PRODUCTION STARRING TALLULAH BANKHEAD IN WHAT MANY WOULD CALL HER GREATEST PERFORMANCE!!

SHE PLAYS AN EVIL OLD WOMAN IN THIS FILM!

IN THE STYLE OF WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE AND HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE, THIS IS A CLASSIC THRILLER!!
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