Ladies in Retirement

Overview

In this taut, creepy melodrama, a housemaid works as the companion of an aging, retired British actress. One day the maid Ida Lupino is visited by her two looney half sisters. The actress finds the slightly mad sisters intolerable and demands that they leave. Unfortunately, the maid realizes that if the sisters are sent away they will end up involuntarily committed to an insane asylum and so the maid kills the actress and lets the sisters stay. Things go well until a suspicious relative shows up and starts to ...
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Overview

In this taut, creepy melodrama, a housemaid works as the companion of an aging, retired British actress. One day the maid Ida Lupino is visited by her two looney half sisters. The actress finds the slightly mad sisters intolerable and demands that they leave. Unfortunately, the maid realizes that if the sisters are sent away they will end up involuntarily committed to an insane asylum and so the maid kills the actress and lets the sisters stay. Things go well until a suspicious relative shows up and starts to investigate. Nominated for Oscars for Best Interior Decoration and Best Score, Ladies in Retirement is based upon a stage play that was in turn based upon the true story from 1886.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A thriller that's a little too "by-the-numbers" for its own good (not to mention a little too dated), Ladies in Retirement also suffers from being entirely too stagebound. While the house in which virtually the entire film is shot is appropriately atmospheric and very well designed, it still lacks sufficient visual variety. Director Charles Vidor may have intended to turn this handicap into a virtue by creating a sense of claustrophia that added to the story's impact; instead, all it does is make the movie somewhat numbing visually (this in spite of some well-chosen angles and atmospheric shots along the way). Vidor is also not helped by the script, which is very well crafted but a bit obvious and too stilted in its dialogue. Fortunately, Ladies is very well cast, with the batty aunts of Elsa Lanchester and Edith Barrett battling it out for top honors. Ida Lupino is equally impressive, turning in a well modulated performance that hits all the right notes. Only Louis Hayward, with a dreadful attempt at an English accent, falls short of the mark. Adequate but nothing more, Ladies is the kind of film that has been done better many times.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/2010
  • UPC: 043396368439
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 46,876

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ida Lupino Ellen Creed
Louis Hayward Albert Feather
Evelyn Keyes Lucy
Elsa Lanchester Emily Creed
Edith Barrett Louisa Creed
Isobel Elsom Leonora Fiske
Emma Dunn Sister Theresa
Queenie Leonard Sister Agatha
Clyde Cook Bates
Technical Credits
Charles Vidor Director
Lionel Banks Art Director
George Barnes Cinematographer
Al Clark Editor
Lester Cowan Producer
Reginald Denham Screenwriter
Garrett Elsden Fort Screenwriter
David Hall Production Designer
Gilbert Miller Associate Producer
Edward Percy Screenwriter
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
George Rhein Asst. Director
Morris W. Stoloff Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Ernst Toch Score Composer
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