Saturday, May 4, 2013

HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE - "What Ever Happened To Cousin Charlotte?" (1964)

"Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is a beautifully ugly movie! It was kind of Director/Producer Henry Aldrich's horror followup to "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane" and was originally scheduled to star Joan Crawford and Bette Davis together again, but Joan Crawford became ill when the shooting began, and was soon replaced by Olivia de Havilland!

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had an ongoing feud that was fueled even more by their performance together in "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane," so there is a lot of speculation that she wasn't really that sick, but just did not want to work with Bette Davis any more, and used her illness as an out!! There was lots of bad blood between the two of them!

The theme song for "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" was written by Mack David and Frank Devol! The song as sung by Al Martino was the B side of his 1965 release "My Heart Would Know," that reached  #52 on the Billboard Charts! After the song was nominated for an Academy Award, it was released by Patti Page and rose to #8 a few months later! It lost the Academy Award to the song  "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from the movie "Mary Poppins! It was the first time Patti Page cracked the top 10, and because of it's success, Columbia Records gave producer Bob Johnston a chance to work with Bob Dylan, a recording date that turned into one of Dylan's classic best, "Highway 61 Revisited!"

The exterior of the Hollis Mansion was actually the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens in Darrow, Louisiana, a beautiful location that you can still go visit, hang out, eat, or have a wedding at!

Even without Joan Crawford, "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is still lush with talent, with many of the same people that Robert Aldrich used in "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane!"  In fact, the original working title was "What Ever Happened To Cousin Charlotte!"  Bruce Dern as Charlotte's married lover wasn't in "Baby Jane," but Victor Buono as Charlotte's imposing Father was!

It's party time at the mansion!!

The band providing the music at the party was Teddy Buckner and his All-Stars! Teddy also had a role as a  trumpet player in the film noir classic "D.O.A.," and if you went to Disneyland sometime between 1965 and 1981, you might have seen Teddy playing "live" at Disneyland's New Orleans Square!

Well, it doesn't take long before the festivities come to a literal screaming halt!

Charlotte turns out to be a real party pooper, not nearly as bad as "Carrie," but a real spoiler just the same!

Some 37 years later, they've come to ruin Charlotte's fun once again, and she doesn't like it! New highway construction means it's time for the reign of the Hollis empire to come to an end!

Much of the interiors of the Hollis mansion like this beautiful staircase were actually shot at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. The Greystone Park is open to the public for free on a regular daily basis, and occasionally they offer guided tours of the mansion itself for a small fee!

Olivia de Havilland as the sweet and adorable Miriam attempts to try and come to the aid of her poor miserable cousin Charlotte! The taxi driver is Dave Willock, none other than Baby Jane's Father!

These two stills are awesome! I do believe you're starting to get an idea of what's going on here!

Agnes Moorehead is simply amazing as Charlotte's loyal housekeeper! She did so much in her career, but more than anything, Agnes will always be remembered for her recurring role as Samantha's Mother Endora in 192 episodes of "Bewitched" from 1964 to 1972! For her role here as Velma, Agnes was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and she won a Golden Globes award in the same category!

Somebody is messing with what's left of Charlotte's mind........

..........and it's starting to take effect!!!!!

Poor Charlotte, her little brain just doesn't know whether it's coming or going anymore!!

And cousin Miriam doesn't turn out to be nearly as sweet and nice and she had previously appeared to be!

While all the local women keep the circle of gossip lively, I'll just end on this note! This movie is 49 years old, and if you haven't seen it by now, I'm sure as Hell not going to ruin it for you now, but I will strongly suggest that you go out of your way to see it! It's available on disc from Netflix or streaming on Amazon, so you really don't have any excuses! "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" is a movie that should be on every film buff's bucket list! It's just that good!!!

2 comments:

A Man Called Da-da said...

Is that the Forrest Gump house, too??

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Yo Da-Da! After doing extensive research on IMDB, I found out that although "Forrest Gump" was shot on 27 different locations, none of them were the same as those used on this film!!

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