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This is the tale of a wealthy southern spinster Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) who lives with her eccentric maid (Agnes Moorehead) in a decaying southern mansion, shunned by the townsfolk after the mysterious axe-murder of her late lover. When her jealous cousin (Olivia de Havilland) and her cousin's wily husband (Cotton) arrive for a visit, the two conspire to drive Charlotte insane and have her commited so the two can sell off her estate and pocket the proceeds.
Poor Charlotte Hollis. She's been shunned by the community for decades, ever since the fateful night in l927 when her lover was hacked apart with an axe. Her antebellum southern mansion is slated for the bulldozer, as it stands in the way of highway construction. Charlotte's only hope lies in her cousin Miriam (Olivia de Havilland), coming down from up north to help settle things. Miriam, however, has other designs. Together with her boyfriend Drew (Joseph Cotten), she embarks on a scheme to systematically drive Charlotte out of her mind (not a great leap) and get her mitts on the family fortune. From there, things only get more complicated. Charlotte puts the "gothic" in southern gothic, as a great showcase for completely bizarre, overwrought, and out-of-control performances from all involved. Agnes Moorehead plays Charlotte's loyal, disheveled housekeeper to the hilt, with an odd inflection that calls to mind Amos and Andy more than southern gentility. As the drunken, conniving Dr. Drew, Cotten's accent is indeterminate at times, and seems to come and go. As great as the supporting players are, though, the crown goes to Bette Davis as the shrieking Charlotte, a portrait of isolation and decay stuck in a world of tragic delusions inside her crumbling mansion. De Havilland is a close second as the scheming Miriam; the scene where she slaps the holy snot out of a hysterical Charlotte is itself worth the price of admission. Mary Astor (in her last role) and Cecil Kellaway (as a kindly Lloyd's of London adjuster) put in the only performances with any restraint, acting as counterweights for the rest of the cast. Besides, you'll never get another chance to see Joseph Cotten playing the harpsichord and singing, or caked in mud and lily pads! With Robert Aldrich's claustrophobic direction, Charlotte is as southern as a field of kudzu, and as subdued as a train wreck. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I thought this was one of the best psychological mysteries ever made.
Arrived in just a few days and in great condition! Really enjoyed watching a movie I hadn't seen for many years. Thank you!Published 7 months ago by Donna Cheyne
I remember watching this classic, with my mom when I was young. She has since passed and now I am enjoying this classic with my Aunt.. Read morePublished 7 months ago by janette
Saw it originally in the theater when it was first released. Love it just as much now. Still felt the same chills as back then.Published 12 months ago by Ladene Jen
this has got to be one of Bette Davis' best movies! I just loved it! scenery was great also. one to watch over and over!Published on Oct. 1 2013 by B. trnka
I saw that movie when I was very young and just loved it so when I saw it on Amazon I just had to buy it. Very good.Published on June 21 2013 by Huguette Cox
Due to a great story and fine acting you get so involved in the movie that you forget that it's in black and white!
The movie has English subtitles.