Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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

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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
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Critic Reviews for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4)

Aldrich piles on a series of scream-in-the-night shocks, the better to batten a script strikingly short of sneakier surprises.

Full Review… | October 17, 2016
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Over the top, of course, and not a lot to it, but it's efficiently directed, beautifully shot (Joseph Biroc), and contains enough scary sequences amid the brooding, tense atmosphere.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

So calculated and coldly carpentered is the tale of murder, mayhem and deceit that Mr. Aldrich stages in this mansion that it soon appears grossly contrived, purposely sadistic and brutally sickening.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It was camp before the term was coined, but it's somewhat better than that, too.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[A] heady brew for fans of Hollywood's golden age gone bananas.

Full Review… | October 17, 2016
Radio Times

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.

Full Review… | August 3, 2012
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

½

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. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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?

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

"So Fucked Up" highlight: the plot twist

_kelly .King
_kelly .King

Super Reviewer

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte Quotes

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