Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Cecil Kellaway
Directed by Robert Aldrich
(actor & director credits courtesy

The eccentric heiress to a Louisiana plantation, long thought responsible for a gruesome murder, turns to her cousin for help when her home is ordered demolished.

This film is an admirable showcase for Bette Davis and a fine supporting cast including some prestigious names like Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, and Mary Astor, each reputed for memorable performances during Hollywood's Golden Age.  They are all quite good in their roles here, as is the photography by Joseph Biroc and Aldrich's direction.  The only detriment is this is very similar to Whatever Happened To Baby Jane.  In both films, Davis plays a former beauty who is thought to commit an act of violence in a flashback sequence at the start of the film, which also introduces a song that will be treasured by Davis' character throughout the film.  After the flashbacks, each film focuses on examining Davis' sanity living in and never leaving a  decaying house, along with the character of a loyal maid and a family member.  To be fair, the films are somewhat different in plot, but it's too bad this wasn't a more varied follow-up.

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