Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte [DVD] 
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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 committed so the two can sell off her estate and pocket the proceeds.
Bette Davis is an elderly Southern recluse slowly being driven mad. Fearing that her home may soon be demolished to make way for a new road, and at the same time exposing an ancient murder, her relatives start to gang up on her. What do they want? And why are they trying to convince her that she's mad?
Poor Charlotte Hollis. She's been shunned by the community for decades, ever since the fateful night in 1927 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, dishevelled 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
She is the victim, rather than the tormentor, the role she played in '... Baby Jane. Olivia De Haviland stepped in to play her mysterious 'Yankee' cousin from New York. She too gives a top performance, chillingly dark, seething with a repressed jealousy and hatred. Joan Crawford was to take that role, but she gave up part way through the production, claiming that Bette Davis had turned the rest of the cast and the crew against her.
In fact the fim is packed with great performances. It is as though these great stars from a generation earlier siezed the chance to be in a major film again, and put everything into their acting. Mary Astor is superb, and Agnes Moorhead (best known for playing 'Endora' is 60s T.V. 'Bewitched'), picked up a supporting role Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Velma Cruthers, the scary, but ultimately very loyal servant. Joseph Cotton and Cecil Kellaway are fine too, but this is really a film for its female stars.
Back in 1964, this was considered a horror film. By today's standards, the horror is mild and laughable, but it still works, in my opinion, as a great suspense thriller. Some might consider it a high camp classic.
The twist at the end of the film is extremely clever as well.
I was annoyed when i discovered this film even existed and you couldn't buy it anywhere in the uk, now though, being released here im extremely pleased i did decide to order it.
I also bought this DVD without knowing there were any special features, so when i discovered there was a trailer, which is also enjoyable, i was quite pleased.
Hope you enjoy this fantastic film.
'Hush Hush' almost has the exact same cast as starred in 'Baby Jane', and it would have been complete but for Joan Crawford, who because of the strain of working with Davis in 'Baby Jane', after only a short time of filming had been forced to drop out, and was replaced by de Haviland. The switch could have potentially been fatal to the success of this picture, but for de Haviland's outstandingly cold performance!
One of the extras on this DVD is the original Trailer - re-mastered (Trailers are not often polished up), and is one of the very best I have ever seen for this type of movie!
True movie gold!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Movie, I love Bette Davis anyway but this was great Olivia De Havilland is great as her cousin, you just know she isn't as nice as she makes out.Published 10 months ago by Goodfellowslodge
This DVD stars my most favourite actress of all times the late great Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland also Joseph Cotton. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Shirley Steadman
excellent movie. still thrills after all these years. highly recomended
Good product from a company that can be trusted to post item quickly.Published 12 months ago by M. C. Wherly