Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

1964

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,092
User image

Watch it now

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte Photos

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, 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! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Bette Davis
as Charlotte
Victor Buono
as Big Sam
Mary Astor
as Jewel Mayhew
Wesley Addy
as Sheriff
William Campbell
as Paul Marchand
Bruce Dern
as John Mayhew
David Willock
as Taxi Driver
John Megna
as New Boy
Percy Helton
as Funeral Director
Kelly Flynn
as 2nd Boy
Michael Petit
as Gang Leader
Alida Aldrich
as Young Girl
William Aldrich
as Boy Dancer
Ellen Corby
as Town Gossip
Marianne Stewart
as Town Gossip
Helen Kleeb
as Town Gossip
Carol De Lay
as Geraldine
Mary Henderson
as Cleaning Woman
Lillian Randolph
as Cleaning Woman
Geraldine West
as Cleaning Woman
Bill Walker
as Chauffeur
Idell James
as Ginny Mae
View All

Critic Reviews for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

  • Nov 08, 2018
    Not knowing much about the film other than it had similar themes to â~What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?â(TM) and was a bit of a follow on to it, I have to say, I was a bit shocked to see a hand being chopped off early on (and no, it doesnâ(TM)t then go scurrying around :). The film is surprising in other ways as well, some of which you can see coming, but probably not all, and I wonâ(TM)t spoil it any further. I donâ(TM)t know if the film really holds together as an airtight story, starting with no one being prosecuted for murder, and the various reveals as they came made me wonder about the acting in earlier scenes. There are aspects of the film that are over-the-top, both in the performances of an all-star cast who really let loose, and some of the direction from Robert Aldrich. As an example of the latter, when a bottle of medicine has been removed from a nightstand, he feels a need to show us it vanishing, and then zooming in on the spot, when we already know it was there, and would be better off seeing the shock completely played out in de Havillandâ(TM)s eyes. On the other hand, itâ(TM)s a good story, and the southern gothic atmosphere he creates is excellent. Shooting in black and white was a great choice. Between the scenes which come off as campy and those that are just great moments, it may feel a little uneven, but itâ(TM)s certainly entertaining. What really makes the film for me, though, is the cast that was assembled, which is stellar. Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, sure, but also in supporting roles Agnes Moorehead, Mary Astor, Bruce Dern, Victor Buono, and George Kennedy. I think my favorite performance was from Moorehead, who upstages them all â" but seeing de Havilland in a very different character is special, as is seeing Astorâ(TM)s last film. The Davis/de Havilland pairing made me think of â~In This Our Lifeâ(TM) from 1942, and it would be interesting to see these films as a double feature. Watch this one for the screen legends, and a story that will hold your interest for all 133 minutes.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2016
    Robert Aldrich, while not being as awarded or recognized, could easily be the perfect (however shortlived) torchbearer to Hitchcock's legacy. "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" takes many elements from films before it, yet Aldritch manages to create something revelatory from them. There's not just suspense and mystery but very deep emotional value here due to Bette Davis' wild and compelling acting. She could go from an innocent little girl to a violent screaming banshee within a minute. Just in the way Davis' moods veer from left to right, all of the characters' arcs continually keep the audience on it's toes - confusing one's sympathies from act to act. The lighting, set design, story telling, visual effects, and subsequent influence are immediately apparent upon first viewing, and I'm left amazed I hadn't heard of it sooner. This is a Six Star film through and through.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2016
    Bette Davis as the well past her prime ingenue down Louisiana way still pining for "the one who got away" back in the old cotillion days. DeHavilland is her sensible cousin trying to keep matters that are near hysteria somewhat rational while Joe Cotton is the caring family doctor never far from a bottle of hooch. Only nothing is as it seems to be in this overwrought tour through the moldy Southern gothic. Everyone is obviously having a high old time.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2014
    suspenseful in an eerie fashion, the fact it's old and darkly filmed + black and white, in this case makes lurking shadows seem more sinister & only add to the vibe of tension
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte Quotes

News & Features