Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Joseph Cotton plays the part of a family doctor who is conspiring with Olivia de Haviland and Cecil Kellaway is a visiting reporter.Mary Astor and Bruce Dern complete the supporting cast. The acting is superb.
The movie received several Oscar nominations including one for Best Supporting Actress ( Agnes Moorehead). Robert Aldrich also directed WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
Miss Bette Davis at her best (but if any other actress were acting at this age would be called a has-been) plays the complex part of the old fashion and just plain old southern bell that has her pit against all her demons and all the town's citizens who'd love to see her succomb to them.
Miss Davis BECOMES Charlotte Hollis who is convinced she killed her young lover. The once beautiful social- deb now keeps herself cooped up in the big old house of the family's and doesn't take very well to change.ie:the government coming through the town and wanting to demolish her house to put a highway through.
Enter her cousin Miriam who comes to town to help Charlotte find a way to keep her house (or so Charlotte thinks) but in all actuality is coniving with long time friend of the family, Dr. Drew, to send Miss Charlotte over the edge, and have her committed, leaving all the family's fortune and handling of the properties to (who else but) Miriam!
The town thinks Charlotte's crazy, Charlotte thinks she's crazy, she must be crazy. Right? Wrong!
Look for a scene-stealing Agnes Moorehead as the devoted maid and friend of Charlotte's, and have fun watching this psyco-thriller Urban-legend like movie! If you like Bette Davis and a good old fashion scare, you'll love this movie!
Grander and more haunting than "Baby Jane" (though from the same production team), "Charlotte" resembles something akin to a liquid cinematic nightmare-- with camp and eerie pathos doled out in equal and abundant measure.
Borne of an era when "real" thrillers were coming to a close, when the "Psycho"-period shockers felt so supernatural and creepy (even when they may not have been, technically, supernatural in plot)-- the same Cold War peak which produced anything from "The Birds" to "Straitjacket", the original (GOOD) "Haunting" to "Homicidal", sublime to banal, gave seemingly effortless, bone-chilling spookiness to almost any horror flick.
And "Charlotte" is one of the greatest and most forlorn of them all.
[Hope to see this on widescreen DVD soon!]
Some great insanity by Bette, some cheesy gore, and a few genuine thrills make for a piece of schlock that rocks!
Most recent customer reviews
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 18 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 18 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 23 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