Strait-Jacket

1964

Strait-Jacket (1964)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this chilling blood-tale in "Psycho" style, Robert Bloch modernizes the Lizzy Borden story. A wife (Joan Crawford) literally axes her cheating husband and his lover, witnessed by her three-year-old daughter. Mom is packed off to the insane asylum for 20 years before reuniting with the daughter (Diane Baker). From this point, the axe murders continue along a contrived plot intended to lead the audience astray until the mystery is solved. Crawford's strong performance and the excellently constructed suspense are the best elements of the film -- and the chopping saves the show when the plot tends to slow.

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Cast

Joan Crawford
as Lucy Harbin
Diane Baker
as Carol Harbin
Leif Erickson
as Bill Cutler
George Kennedy
as Leo Krause
Howard St. John
as Raymond Fields
John Anthony Hayes
as Michael Fields
Rochelle Hudson
as Emily Cutler
Mitch Cox
as Dr. Anderson
Edith Atwater
as Mrs. Fields
Mitchell Cox
as Dr. Anderson
Lee Yeary
as Frank Hardin
Patricia Krest
as Stella Fulton
Vickie Cos
as Carol at age 3
Patty Lee
as 1st little girl
Laura Hess
as 2nd little girl
Robert Ward
as Shoe clerk
Lyn Lundgren
as Beauty Operator
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Critic Reviews for Strait-Jacket

All Critics (8)

In 1964, William Castle would employ the biggest gimmick of his moviemaking career - Joan Crawford as an ax murderer in Strait-Jacket.

Oct 29, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

(Crawford) may have been mourning her glory days and miserable that the bloom was off her rose, but she remained until the end a major artist and a consummate professional.

Aug 30, 2018 | Full Review…

The twist ending is one of the most obvious ever put on film, but Crawford's campy histrionics and some neat stylistic flourishes make this worthy entertainment.

Aug 28, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

This one has a very high quality of dialogue and performance.

Oct 23, 2009 | Full Review…

Joan Crawford in a shlocky classic B thriller and all about axe murders.

Mar 9, 2006 | Rating: 3/5

It's only a movie.

Jan 28, 2004 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Strait-Jacket

This is a fun murder mystery, you think you know what's going on, but it surprises you. I really liked it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

One of the top 5 William Castle films? Could be number one actually.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

omg hilarious. actually i felt a little sorry for joan. this is what happened to female stars who were considered too old to play romantic leads. i would love to own this poster tho :p

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

inspired by "whatever happened to baby jane," william castle approaches joan crawford to star in his ax-swaying camp classic "straight-jacket" which accidentally turns into the muse for christina crawford to write "mommie dearest"(which tina shows to joan one year before she dies that leads to the nullification of tina and christopger's heritage.) as well as its faye dunaway's movie adaption. admitted by crawford herself, except "night gallery," every flick after "baby jane" stinks, and she does them for boredom and the urgent need of money. and in 1964, movie theater actually dispatches card-board ax to the audience with a slyly smirking humor. if one pays attention, the comlumbia lady's head is chopped off in the end sequence. the story is predictable, crawford plays lucy harpin who chops off her husband and his mistress's heads with an ax after discovering his infidelty on bed, then lucy is inflicted with maniac insanity ever since for twenty years. lucy returns home when her daughter grows up as a young lady. then several decapitated murders occur, suddenly lucy is in the tainted spot of suspicions again. unknown to most, the script is actually created by the classic writer of hitchcock's "psycho", robert bloch. you might find the remnant cheese of "psycho" in it: the perversion of oedipus complex, transvestite schizophrenia and the titilating suspense before the murder. as for crawford's performance, it's sheerly campy fun to the maxium since castle requests crawford to go full throttle, and she does. crawford shifts from the timid mom in plain matron suit to floral-dressed trampy brunette with a vulgar bang. one moment, she's fragile and coyly demure, next moment she tries to behave flamboyantly with a sedative wink, teasing her daughter's boyfriend with fingers upon his lips, flirting with a man young enough to be her son by attempting to place her fingers into his mouth. that is astounishly jaw-dropping, lighting off a matchstick by scratching the gramophone record. simply classic!!!! but when she shifts to the state of norm, her frailty seems genuine and there's an residual of elegance in her when she combs her hair neat to bare the contour of her well-proportioned profile. "straight-jacket" is hilarious and the beheading looks so laughably fake, and it's designed for those hard-core crawford likers and aficinados who appreciate camp horror and william castle.

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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