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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

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Release Date: Dec 15, 1964 Wide

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 7,898

My Rating

Movie Info

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,

Aug 9, 2005

Fox

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3) | DVD (12)

This well executed and well acted Gothic horror is Aldrich's follow-up to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? which also starred Bette Davis.

August 3, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Bette Davis in her late, creepy mode...and still effective.

June 8, 2007
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Davis' near-crazed performance being over-the-top but satisfying in a campy way.

October 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Director Aldrich's work on Baby Jane was already a study in hysteria, and his style for Charlotte is, if anything, even more ornate.

September 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

If it's Grand Guignol you're after, here's where you'll find it.

August 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

This film is bonkers ... heady Southern Gothic decadence, histrionics from just about everyone involved, and severed body parts that pop up at the most inopportune times.

May 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Smothered in Spanish moss, creakily derivative of Baby Jane, this one proves you can't borrow from the same well twice.

July 27, 2004
Nick's Flick Picks

essentially: well-shot schlock

March 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

First-rate souther gothic thriller. Much better than the overrated BABY JANE

August 7, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Two years after their huge success with "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), director Robert Aldrich teamed up once more with Bette Davis to make "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte." The films are so similar that they're often spoken of in the same breath.

They both embody the same type of gothic horror, and both depict two middle-aged women in a battle royale. In "Baby Jane," Davis starred opposite Joan Crawford. (Davis won her 11th and final Oscar nomination for her work in "Jane.") Here it's Olivia de Havilland up against Davis.

Both films also have a campy aspect, making them very popular with middle-aged gay men. But the campiness is not extreme. Straight men fear not: "Jane" and "Charlotte" are serious works of psychological horror that shouldn't be missed. Remember that Aldrich mostly made "guy movies," including "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955), "The Dirty Dozen" (1967), and "The Longest Yard" (1974). Aldrich is no Douglas Sirk.

*****************************

Charlotte, played by Davis, is a woman who has spent most of her adult life as a recluse, after a gruesome murder occurs when she is about 20. She was having an affair with a married man (a very young Bruce Dern), outraging many people, including her father (Victor Buono, who was also in "Baby Jane") and the man's wife (played beautifully by Mary Astor).

When the man dumps her, Charlotte goes into a tailspin of rage and despair, exclaiming, "I could just kill you!" Ten minutes later, the man is attacked by a maniac with a meat cleaver. The big mystery is, Who killed him? The whole state of Louisiana thinks it was Charlotte, and she is shunned by just about everyone. But the case goes unsolved.

This all happens in the first five minutes, in a very quick overture. The vast majority of the film takes place 40 years after the tragedy. Charlotte, who has barely ever left her gloomy mansion in four decades, struggles to keep her home as the state tries to demolish it to make way for a modern highway. Charlotte's only companion is a maid named Velma (brilliantly played by Agnes Moorehead, who should have gotten a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work here).

The semi-educated Charlotte asks her big-city cousin (de Havilland) to come back to the old plantation and help save it. Meanwhile, Charlotte is having more frequent delusions, hearing the voice of her long-departed lover in the spooky, gothic mansion at night. Is someone trying to scare her to death or drive her insane? Or is there something supernatural going on in the house? Or is Charlotte just suffering from a guilty conscience?

All I'll say is that the truth is uncovered, and it's startling. "Charlotte" keeps you guessing to the very end and keeps you on the edge of your seat through some rather macabre goings-on. "Charlotte" has a significant body count and many colorful characters.

Davis's performance is at times over-the-top but alway magnetic. Her Charlotte is like a tornado, destroying everything in her path. Like Davis herself, Charlotte is a force of nature. But is she a victim struggling mightily against those trying to torment and kill her, or is she a cold-blooded maniac getting her just comeuppance? And who's going to end up dead?
December 31, 2012
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

"So Fucked Up" highlight: the plot twist
February 15, 2011
Stinger839

Super Reviewer

I saw this the first time -- or was at least exposed to it -- when I was 4. Parents went to the movies with me and my brother in tow, not realizing what kind of film it was. All I remembered for years was a head rolling down a staircase and a whole lot of screaming. This film could have been the reason I was so scared of horror movies until I was about 15. When I finally saw the whole film as a grown-up, I was surprised on how gruesome it actually is for 1964. Still pretty scary in places too. Good flick.
February 15, 2011
webalina

Super Reviewer

This movie is advertised as being for people who liked What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, but you don't really need to have seen that movie to appreciate this one. The story is brilliant, and so are the actors, it's a modern murder mystery movie, one of my favourites. It's very intense and exciting, I highly recommend it.
December 2, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

    1. Velma: So you're finally showin' the right side of your face. Well, I seen it all along. That's some kinda drug you been givin' her. Isn't it? It's what's been making her act like she's been. Well, Ah'm goin' into town and Ah'm tellin them what you been up to.
    – Submitted by Kelly E (18 months ago)
    1. Charlotte Hollis: Get out, Luke Standish! You smirkin' Judas!
    – Submitted by Kelly E (18 months ago)
    1. Miriam: You just can't keep hogs away from the trough, can you?
    – Submitted by Kelly E (18 months ago)
    1. Miriam: Why wouldn't I tell him that his pure, darling little girl was having a dirty little affair with a married man?
    2. Charlotte Hollis: You're a vile, sorry little bitch!
    – Submitted by Kelly E (18 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Wiegenlied für eine Leiche (DE)
  • Chut, Chut, Chére Charlotte (FR)
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