Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) is a English movie. Robert Aldrich has directed this movie. Bette Davis,Olivia de Havilland,Joseph Cotten,Agnes Moorehead are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1964. Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Mystery,Thriller movie in India and around the world.
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, ...
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"Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" was, as most people know, intended as a follow up (not a sequel) to the first and most influential "horror hag" film of them all, "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?". Producer/director Robert Aldrich who had helmed "Jane" wanted to repeat that film's box office success. He re-teamed Bette Davis (as Charlotte) and Joan Crawford (as her cousin Miriam) but, in events that have become the stuff of Hollywood Legend, Crawford became "ill" and checked into the hospital and wouldn't come out. She was eventually replaced by Bette's long-standing friend, Olivia de Havilland, fresh from "Lady in a Cage" (1964). Although many find the plot somewhat convoluted, it is basically rather simple. Aging southern belle Charlotte Hollis lives in decayed splendor in the Louisiana mansion where, thirty seven years earlier, a horrible murder took place. The victim was none other than her married lover John Mayhew (Bruce Dern, in an early screen appearance) whom Charlotte fears was killed by her overbearing father (Victor Buono) who was against their affair. Over the years, however, the local townspeople have concluded that Charlotte herself was responsible, but escaped punishment due to her father's political connections. As it happens, the highway commission is planning on building a bridge where Charlotte's house stands, and are tirelessly trying to remove her from the property. She is just as doggedly determined to remain, because she fears demolition of the house will reveal proof of her father's guilt. Charlotte's only companions are her old, white trash housekeeper, Velma Crother (Agnes Moorehead) and the family doctor, Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten). Charlotte's attempts to hold off the sheriff are finally beginning to weaken, so, in a last attempt to hold onto the old plantation, she sends for her Cousin Miriam Deering, hoping she can help. Miriam does, eventually arrive, but it's soon obvious that she is there for reasons other than to comfort and aid her cousin. The film is well photographed in eminently suitable black and white, and the haunting musical score by an Oscar-nominated Frank DeVol (as well as the beautiful nominated title song) aid it immeasurably. The performances are what makes the movie so much fun. Bette Davis, as usual, goes all out as the tormented cousin, moaning, whining simpering and,especially shrieking her way through her part. In contrast, the still very attractive de Havilland is, at first, a model of restraint. Matching Davis in the histrionics department is Moorehead (who was also Oscar-nominated for her performance) as she carries on, sometimes so hilariously, it's difficult to understand what she is saying. (Oh well, that's what DVD subtitles are for!) At the same time, she can be moving as well. Cotten gets to do his own (relatively restrained) scenery-chewing , but the scenes in which Davis, de Havilland and Moorehead scream at each other in very thick southern accents could be right out of the old "Mama's Family" TV series. As Jewel Mayhew, widow of Bette's lover, Mary Astor gives her usual excellent performance, so subdued and realistic, that she seems to be in a different film. Ditto Cecil Kellaway as a curious insurance investigator. In the end, though, it's all the overplaying and gaudy scene stealing which makes "Charlotte" so much fun. A remake would be not only redundant, but a mistake. "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" is truly one of a kind. The just-released Fox DVD includes a great widescreen transfer of the film, an audio commentary, and, best of all, a trailer, teaser trailer and three television spots, which emphasize the movie's lurid aspects--what else could you want? GET IT NOW!
What an entertaining movie! It's the Southern setting that gives the film its potent flavor, with that overwrought plantation house, the Southern accents, the small town gossip, antebellum attitudes, and the music at the party in 1927. The script's dialogue also reflects this Southern tint. Mournfully reflecting on the past, Sam Hollis (Victor Buono) says near the beginning: "My daddy sat out there on that veranda; let this whole place slide to dust; when he died there was nothing but debts and dirt; I touched that dirt and made it blossom". The story's theme is a preoccupation with the past, with ghosts not properly buried, and with family secrets, repression, and subterfuge. Charlotte (Bette Davis) is a pitiful woman because she is not rational. Like her daddy, she can't let go of the past. Living all alone in that big house with just her housekeeper Velma (Agnes Moorehead), Charlotte obsesses about bygone days. But if her own delusions contribute to her misery, she at least has the presence of mind to understand that those who come to visit her may not have her best interests in mind, hence the story's conflict as she attempts to fight back. All of the major roles are ideally cast. I would not have made a single change in casting. Acting trends a tad melodramatic at times, but that's part of the fun. Agnes Moorehead gives one of the great supporting performances of all time. And Olivia de Havilland, with her vocal inflections, shrewd smile and stylish behavior, adds elegance that contrasts nicely with the shabby and humorously uncultured Velma. B&W cinematography also contributes to the film's high quality. Dramatic lighting, interesting overhead camera angles, lots of interior shadows, and quick zoom-ins all add visual interest. Plot structure is okay, but the runtime is a bit lengthy. I wish they had edited out some of the campy scenes in the second half. "Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte" is a grand movie, with grand actors and grand moments. The story contains mystery, spine-tingling suspense, and it veritably drips with Southern angst. Though the film is a tad campy in a few spots and is a bit long, nevertheless it's wonderfully entertaining.
Well, I loved Bette Davis' performances, as a rule. But I'm willing to bet that even NON fans of Davis would appreciate her tour in this particular movie. Following two years after "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is nevertheless four times the film of its more noted predecessor. The reasons for this are four=fold. The script, though occasionally unintentionally funny, is still crisper, more believable and contains a more satisfying ending. Next, Davis' is more balanced by the performances of DeHavilland, Cotton, a more mature Victor Buono, and the great Agnes Morehead. Thirdly, we have a better set and setting, more attuned to the genre. Finally, the cinematography is several notches better, in my opinion. Adding it all up, you have an exceptionally fine example of that unique genre, the gothic melodrama. In this movie, the genre is virtually defined! If asked to name an example to a "top twenty" or "top fifty" movie list, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" would definitely make the cut.
Few films have the ability to show the decay of plantation life in the South better than Hush...Hush sweet Charlotte. The setting is a rural plantation home that in 1927 was the scene of a brutal murder where an unfaithful husband was beheaded and behanded. Next we fast forward to 1964 and see the effects of this crime on Charlotte Hollis..the young girl accused of the crime and bordering on mental instability. Bette Davis plays Charlotte and her performance is a tour-de-force as she plays a woman under stress with a zeal that would make any ham actor proud. Davis tops her baby Jane performance by not only creating a character with obvious problems, but also giving this character feeling, compassion, and an air of pity. The plot of the film involves Davis's descent into madness as she thinks she sees things..or really does. The rest of the cast is first-rate with Joseph Cotten playing the stereotypical Southern doctor with the over-pronounced inflection only Cotten could provide. Olivia De Havilland creates one of her better roles, and makes a superb wicked woman. The real treat to watch is Agnes Moorehead who plays a wise-cracking, crotchetey housekeeper. Rounding out the superb cast are a few nice performances from the ever affable Cecil Kellaway as one of the few humane people in the film, a nice cameo by Mary Astor, Bruce Dern and Victor Buono in flashback sequences. The movie tells a pretty inventive tale...but really is a showcase for great talent, good direction, wonderful atmosphere, and a rather perverse thematic underpinning. To use a well-worn cliche....they just don't make em like this anymore. Ain't it a shame!
Following soon after "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", I originally thought that "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" would be a letdown - far from it, in my opinion, much better due a great deal to the cast of great actors and actresses. Bette Davis was in her element in this role of Charlotte, while Olivia de Havilland in the role originally planned for Joan Crawford was superb, and was an inspired piece of accidental casting! Agnes Moorehead deserved her Academy nomination, while Mary Astor was a most welcome sight. Joseph Cotten normally seems very wooden in his parts, but does an excellent job here. The Black and White photography adds a great deal to the mood, and is far better than Colour would have been. The ending was very well planned and carried out, and you feel after the film ends there is something else that happened that the viewer never saw. Get it on Video - it is well worth the experience.