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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

4.4 7
Director: Robert Aldrich

Cast: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten


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An unusually long pre-credits sequence establishes the roots of faded Southern belle Charlotte's (Bette Davis) insanity; she'd been witness to the dismemberment murder of her fiance (Bruce Dern) and the suicide of the murderer, her own father (Victor Buono). Years later, Charlotte remains a recluse in her decaying southern mansion, zealously guarding the secret of her


An unusually long pre-credits sequence establishes the roots of faded Southern belle Charlotte's (Bette Davis) insanity; she'd been witness to the dismemberment murder of her fiance (Bruce Dern) and the suicide of the murderer, her own father (Victor Buono). Years later, Charlotte remains a recluse in her decaying southern mansion, zealously guarding the secret of her father's guilt; she is cared for by her slatternly housekeeper (Agnes Moorehead). When her house is targeted for demolition, Charlotte fears that this will uncover her lover's body parts and thus confirm that her father was a murderer. She desperately summons her seemingly sweet-tempered cousin Miriam (Olivia De Havilland) to help her fight off the house's destruction. Miriam brings along the family doctor (Joseph Cotten) to calm Charlotte's frayed nerves. When Charlotte begins to be plagued by horrific visions of the homicide/suicide of so long ago, it appears that she has gone completely insane. But soon we learn who is behind these delusions...and why. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte was intended by director Robert Aldrich as a follow-up to the successful Joan Crawford/Bette Davis horror piece Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). Ms. Crawford was originally slated to play Miriam, but became seriously ill shortly before filming started. Davis, who disliked Crawford intensely, suggested that the role of Miriam be filled by her best friend, De Havilland. On the first day of shooting, Davis and DeHavilland pulled a "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" routine by toasting one another with Coca-Cola--a catty observation of the fact that Joan Crawford's husband was an executive with the Pepsi Cola company!

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Hoping to make lightning strike twice in the same place, director Robert Aldrich re-teamed legendary screen divas Bette Davis and Joan Crawford -- whom he had paired two years earlier in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? -- in this similarly themed 1964 shocker. Crawford became ill, forcing Aldrich to replace her with Olivia de Havilland, but the substitution didn't hurt the film, a profoundly creepy entry in the Southern Gothic subgenre. Davis stars as the mentally ill mistress of a decaying Louisiana plantation, a woman still haunted by the bizarre and brutal murder of her married lover many years before. De Havilland portrays her levelheaded cousin, a forward-thinking woman who tries to soothe her relative's pain. The superb supporting cast, made up almost entirely of veterans of Hollywood's Golden Age, includes Joseph Cotten (as de Havilland's gentleman friend), Agnes Moorehead, Mary Astor, and Cecil Kellaway. But acting honors go to La Davis for her characterization of the erstwhile southern belle, now a haggard harridan in overdone makeup and outlandish attire. She doesn't just chew the scenery -- she swallows it whole. Her over-the-top histrionics, in fact, make de Havilland's carefully modulated performance all the more effective. Contributing immeasurably to the atmosphere is Joseph Biroc's starkly lit camerawork, which immediately establishes a mood of unease that Aldrich's direction helps sustain throughout.
All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
No one can rightfully claim that Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte is dull. The unrestrained acting performances alone -- or the caricatures that substitute for acting performances here -- are just too much fun to watch. This is the kind of film, in fact, where Agnes Moorehead makes Bette Davis appear downright restrained in comparison. Or where Joseph Cotten and Mary Astor's mint julep accents flow as thick and gooey as molasses. Hush . . . Hush, which owes a great deal to the French classic Diabolique (1954), does cheat the viewer on occasion but Robert Aldrich's direction is so over the top that few will probably question a scene where a murdered Cotten -- well, that may be giving too much away. Suffice it to say, the story doesn't quite make sense but what other movie would dare chop off Bruce Dern's head even before the opening credits?

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson; Theatrical trailers; TV spots; Widescreen format (1.66:1); Audio: English stereo, English mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Davis Charlotte Hollis
Olivia de Havilland Miriam
Joseph Cotten Drew Bayliss
Agnes Moorehead Velma
Cecil Kellaway Harry
Mary Astor Jewel Mayhew
Victor Buono Big Sam
Wesley Addy Sheriff
William Campbell Paul Marchand
Bruce Dern John Mayhew
Frank Ferguson Editor
George Kennedy Foreman
Percy Helton Funeral Director
Kelly Flynn 2nd Boy
Michael Petit Gang Leader
William Aldrich Boy Dancer
Ellen Corby Town Gossip
Marianne Stewart Town Gossip
Helen Kleeb Town Gossip
Lillian Randolph Cleaning Woman
Geraldine West Cleaning Woman
William Walker Chauffeur
Dave Willock Taxi Driver
John Megna New Boy

Technical Credits
Robert Aldrich Director,Producer
Jack R. Berne Producer
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Walter Blake Associate Producer
Raphael Bretton Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Mack David Songwriter
Frank deVol Score Composer
Henry Farrell Original Story,Screenwriter
Bernard Freericks Sound/Sound Designer
William Glasgow Art Director
Lukas Heller Screenwriter
Gene Hibbs Makeup
Norma Koch Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Luciano Editor
William McGarry Asst. Director
Alex Ruiz Choreography

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Directive [4:41]
2. Broken Heart [2:44]
3. Hand and Head [2:15]
4. Bloody Dress [1:55]
5. Initiation [2:38]
6. Main Titles [:26]
7. Demolition [1:55]
8. Ten Days Left [4:45]
9. Cousin Miriam [3:55]
10. Homecoming [4:09]
11. Dinner Company [:52]
12. Gratitude [3:41]
13. Regrets [2:42]
14. Mysteries [4:45]
15. Mrs. Mayhew [3:35]
16. Hate Mail [:59]
17. Sealed Envelope [3:29]
18. In the Dark [1:50]
19. The Music Box [3:41]
20. Over the Edge [3:13]
21. Up to No Good [1:33]
22. Conspiracy [5:17]
23. Velma [5:57]
24. Senior Partner [1:43]
25. Hush...Hush [5:26]
26. Sweet Charlotte [5:22]
27. Murder [3:56]
28. Disposal [5:39]
29. Apparition [1:24]
30. Celebration [3:36]
31. Supposing [3:04]
32. End Titles [5:52]


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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a MUST for anyone who is a Bette Davis and/or Olivia DeHaviland fan! It shows that these two great actresses are capable of doing any type of role; from a character who can be oh so sweet, to someone who is perfectly evil or mad as the Mad Hatter, and why today's crop of actress cannot hold a birthday candle to either one of these great stars!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte remains one of the Grand Guignols of all times. Bette Davis's vulnerability as the victim will arouse one's sympathy. She portrays such a sympathetic character that the audience cannot wait for her to get justice on the evil characters that try to destroy her. Olivia De Havilland as Cousin Miriam is a flower on the outside, and a hornet's nest on the inside. Her evil is so subtle and yet deadly. Joseph Cotten as her accomplice is eerie. Agnes Moorehead's performance as Velma, Charlotte's maid is so outstanding that she almost upstages Bette and Olivia. The remainder of the cast has the inimitable Mary Astor, Cecil Kellaway and Victor Buono. The bonus on the background of the film will intrigue movie buffs, particularly the rare footage of Joan Crawford, the first choice for Miriam. The DVD transfer is very clear. Recommended Highly.
Faustulusdiaboli More than 1 year ago
CHARLOTTE is a great old Southern gothic performed by seasoned actors -- Agnes Moorhead holds her own any day against Davis and deHavilland, and Joseph Cotton, so suave and genteel, is a great villain; still, it's Davis and deHavilland who hold up the story in all its twists. William Faulkner this isn't, but it's still a great old romp in haunted Dixie for a rainy night or a lazy afternoon.
loulouTX More than 1 year ago
This is a classic! Always good to watch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago