- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
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Hush...hush, Sweet Charlotte
- Dashiell Barnes
Director Aldrich & star Davis reunite after "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" in this taunt thriller. Davis plays a more sympathetic version to her "Baby Jane Hudson" character, Moorehead won the Golden Globe for her supporting performance. Comparisons between this film & "Baby Jane" are inevitable, and artistically,this is a superior film than the latter film. Not as iconic as "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" but this is nonetheless a finely crafted thriller. I give it a 4/5.
Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland Star
- David Atkins
Robert Aldrich re teamed his stars of the smash hit Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, i.e. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. On this film it was Crawford who demanded and got first billing, but Joan also got a Bette Davis who cut the kind stuff and made it clear that Crawford was an enemy (Bette Davis insisted that Joan Crawford campaigned against her winning a 3rd Oscar, a legend never proven). Joan Crawford fell ill and after much ado was replaced by two time Oscar winner Olivia De Havilland after Vivien Leigh passed on the role. How I wish we could have seen Jezebel vs Scarlett act up a storm on screen. It would have been a great acting duel and great box office. I have no idea what charming Olivia had but Olivia is the only star lady Bette worked with whom she did not end up feuding witness Joan Crawford, Susan Hayward, Miriam Hopkins and of all people Lillian Gish. On Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte it is Olivia De Havilland that plays against type, with Bette this time being a sympathetic character. Director Aldrich who released this film via 20th Century Fox assembled a great cast with Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead lending able support. I recommend this film to see 4 great actors Davis, De Havilland, Cotten and Morehead in a fine film set in Louisiana.
- Roger Guier
I firmly believe that Bette had to apply herself more to make these "horror" films work. This one certainly works for me. I loved seeing Olivia de Havilland in a "mean" part--kind of out of character for her but she was wonderful! She "replaced" Joan Crawford in this part and I can't imagine Crawford making the part work anywhere near as wonderfully as Olivia did. I've always wondered what the actual story was behind the house that was used in this film. I would definitely recommend this film for Bette Davis fans, but I think I recomend it even more for Olivia de Havilland fans. I think I enjoyed Mary Astor in her small part more than in any other film of her career.
The Magnificient Moorehead
"Hush, Hush" could easily have been just another horror film which Bette Davis chose to do subsequent to her triumph in Baby Jane. Sadly, this was Davis' last great film and that is due to the incredible performances. This is evidenced by the fact that this Film's cast includes 4 Oscar winners (Davis, De Havilland, Astor and Kennedy) and 5 nominees (Moorehead, Kellaway, Buono, Corby and Dern) Among them, they have amassased 26 nominations and this is without the criminally unnominated Joseph Cotton. With all this talent though, the film BELONGS to Agnes Moorehead. Her loss to the albeit excellent Lila Kedrova is perhaps the greatest of the academy's supporting category misjudgments. This film is incredibly entertaining but were it not for Moorehead's extraordinary work, it might be forgotten.
hush hush sweet charlotte
this is the first scary movie that i watched, when i was 4 yrs old...scared the pants off me!! have loved this movie ever since...nothing like bette davis eyes gone crazy
it gives me the shivers
- no name please
AAAAAHHHHH tHaT MoViE Is sO ScArY
Agnes DIDN'T Win!
Many posters here are under the mistaken impression that Agnes Moorehead won an Oscar for this; she didn't. She was nominated but lost to Lila Kedrova in Zorba the Greek. She did win the Golden Globe however.
Best Horror for Davis, de Havilland & Moorehead
With much ado about this film's predecessor, "Baby Jane," because Bette Davis' performance should have won an Oscar it was that great, and Joan Crawford turning in a terrible performance, seeing this film was a relief. All three women actors work so well together in every scene of this superb film. Agnes Moorehead's stunning performance should not have surprised anyone because she had long been an acting veteran in great classics. This time Moorehead is working with two of the best classic actors: Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. That made all the difference in Moorehead's performance. It is as if each role was made especially for each of these three actors. I can hardly wait to take out the time to watch them again.
Agnes Moorehead's Velma Cruthers
With Bette Davis playing the title role and lead, with Olivia de Havilland, more or less, playing the co-lead, Agnes Moorehead was triangulated between two giants in motion pictures. The first point of interest to me about Moorehead's Velma is that she's Southern, a maid and speaks like Southern maids of color have in other films. So I liked it that a caucasian used that deep Southern accent of the poorer class. The next point that really perked me up was how well Moorehead's Velma comes off next to Davis' Charlotte and de Havilland's Miriam. In fact, Velma stands out, big time. Davis' Charlotte is her very best classic horror role and so is de Havilland's Miriam. But when it comes to me deciding who took home the best acting in the film prize, it is easy for me to say Moorehead had her day. I can watch Moorehead's Velma to no end and still be awed by what a grand performance she put on.
The Third Charlotte by Bette Davis
This Charlotte, portrayed by Bette Davis, is unlike either of the former two Davis played. In fact, she's the extremely different one; so different that I suggest only the mature master actor could have taken on such a role. Davis has a script in which to dig in her heels and establish her late middle age career the point of great acting mastery. What is so different about this in Hollywood is that women actors by Davis' age (of 58) were either outcast or typecast, unlike women actors of the stage (who had to wait years for decent parts but still were revered). This Charlotte is nearly around the bend, the central character of a horrific murder quadrangle, the lead of a Southern gothic horror who could not have been brought to life by anyone but Bette Davis and who is still identified with the extremes to which Bette Davis could and would go into character for the sake of making a film great.
The Three Woman Classic Horror
Instead of Agnes Moorehead being billed as one of the leading ladies, Joseph Cotten was billed as the leading man. Moorehead proved that was a serious mistake because Cotten's performance can't hold a candle to hers! Usually, whenever Bette Davis played the leading role in a classic film, no matter the genre, no matter her age, the quality of other woman actors' performances were more or less forced to reach for the level where she was acting. That's exactly what happened to both de Havilland's and Moorehead's performances in this great classic horror film. The credit belongs to the three women who made it happen. Cotten turns out to be a prop of sorts for de Havilland so this is not one of his stronger performances. That's likely because the collaboration of the 3 main women completely dominates the film in the best of ways.
The Happy Horror
If you've already seen this classic horror film, can you imagine it without Olivia de Havilland? Thank heavens (!) Joan Crawford called in sick so that de Havilland could do justice to the character role of cousin Miriam. Agnes Moorehead's performance was so good that she wasn't only nominated for an Oscar, she won the Golden Globe. This horror film was nominated for 7 Oscars. Bascially the three main characters, all women, created one of the most memorable classic horrors known. With Bette Davis as the title character, the acting is choice, perfect, rich and amazingly intense. There are men in the film, such as Cecil Kellaway who provides some gentle sweetness of character. But Joseph Cotten is de Havilland's patsy and partner in terrorizing Charlotte. The other men are bit players. The strength this film has that "Baby Jane" didn't is a supporting cast capable of matching the intense character acting by Bette Davis, meaning de Havilland and Moorehead.
Greatest Classic Women's Horror Film
There are 3 reasons that this horror film became a classic: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead. These 3 actors create the most believable southern gothic horror imaginable. Davis' bravura performance carries the heavy weight of this leading title role. Agnes Moorehead truly goes toe to toe with Davis' intensity through her own great character role performance of Velma. De Havilland proves that she's not stuck in that goody two shoes typecast of "Millie" or "Maid Miriam" by playing the nefarious character of cousin Miriam. Together they make the most mesmerizing triad of character to study in a classic horror film.
Bette Davis' 7 Oscar Nominee Horror Film
With Olivia de Havilland playing the villainous cousin Miriam of Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis); and Agnes Moorehead playing Charlotte's maid and primary support, the acting is the best in a horror that I know of. The script's loaded with so many quotable, memorable lines. It's really a horror film. Others of Bette Davis' are passed off as if they were, but they aren't. None come close to this film as a horror. Bette Davis' portrayal of Charlotte Hollis is one of her penultimate performances.
Most Well Acted Horror of the Era
This horror film lingers with me like no other. I can hear Cousin Miriam (De Havilland) feigning that soothing voice saying, "hush, hush sweet charlotte," after she deliberately tries to drive her cousin Charlotte (Bette Davis) completely crazy. Davis' southern histrionics have never been more engaging to watch. Moorehead keeps right up with Davis in that southern gothic round-the-bend recluse and misfit mode. This was brilliant casting. Joseph Cotten is kind of thrown in for good measure to conspire with Miriam, as if she wasn't dastardly enough on her own. For de Havilland, the role was far from her usual genres and character types. Davis wasn't known best for doing horror films and had recently turned out acclaimed performances in the genre. Moorehead was exactly where she should have been all along as a supporting actor. Elders Mary Astor and Cecil Kellaway add an extra measure of casting class to the mesmerizing mix. This Davis film surpasses her "...Baby Jane" by leaps and bounds do only to a far superior cast.
- Steven Paul
and a rotten Cotten go after poor Bette's estate with a plan that smashes them both in the end. Olivia d Havilland is as gorgeous as ever and DeVol's unforgettable melody and Mack David's lyric's make this a film albeit predictable one to be seen.
A Master Class in Classic Horror Film
Bascially, three women are the key actors who make "Hush...Hush" the classic horror that it now enjoys being known as. It's the best horror film all three key women actors ever made: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead. It seems to me that the main reason this horror became a classic is due to the on screen chemistry of this trio of master actors. All 3 were veterans with scores of years on screen. Each was a great character actor. Davis led the pack with Moorehead right beside her, keeping pace throughout. De Havilland delivered an uncharacteristically evil role performance and turned out to be fanatastic at it. The only thing that surprise me today is that all three woman actors didn't win more major acting awards than they did. They sure deserved them.
Davis, de Havilland & Moorehead Haunt
This memorable classic horror film was just one TV yesterday (July 11th, 2009, not on TCM). It must have been somewhere near the two dozenth time I've watched it. Why? This time I watched Agnes Moorehead's acting most intently because she was nominated for the supporting Oscar. As Velma, she's got to become even more outraged, in a southern gothic style, than Charlotte (Davis). She has more reasons to be. Velma's a witness to all that Charlotte's had to suffer through in the past and now cousin Miriam (de Haviland) enters the Hollis mansion with the most malicious type of money grubbing on her agenda. Instead of being the all-knowing, all-seeing maid of color, she's caucasian, Lousianan and a bit touched. Charlotte's nearly been driven nuts and now Miriam's come to finish off the dirty deed of pushing her over the edge of sanity. All along Charlotte suspects her father killed her married lover because she knew she didn't do it, but everyone else thought she did. Miriam's known all along "who done it" and has been blackmailing the murdered man's wife (Mary Astor). Since her money's run out, Miriam's come to get her hands on Charlotte's estate by staging night horrors with Dr. Drew (Joseph Cotten). Big mistake, Miriam and Drew. Charlotte nails 'em.
One of Horror's Finest Classics
Casting takes the prize for being so on point that having the right actors for the parts literally makes the film. Olivia de Havilland personifies evil greed. Using that sweet sounding voice to falsely reassure poor Charlotte that she, Miriam, will protect her epitomizes the length her greed extends. Agnes Moorhead goes all out to be Velma Cruthers, Charlotte's friend and the Hollis' fiercely loyal housekeeper.She;s the one who spots Miriam Deering's cunning from the start. She's a southern gothic character. At center stage is Bette Davis as the title character. She pulls out the wild, nearly beastual, instincts of a survivor of social scorn. Davis goes into perfectionist mode to become Charlotte Hollis. Something inside of her feels a kindred spiritual with character's sense of outrage. They all make one of the great acting trios of women in a classic horror filom.
1964 7 Oscar Nominee Bette Davis Horror
There is simply no other way to describe this film as a set of 3 powerhouse performances by great actresses: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead. Since the film synopsis already tells the plot of the film I will focus on these three performances starting with the Oscar nominated one by Agnes Moorehead as Velma Cruthers, Charlotte Hollis' (Davis) housekeeper and companion. Miss Moorehead was triangulated between two extremely talented leading actresses. In order for her performance to be noticed, since both Davis and de Havilland gave powerhouse performances, Moorehead had to go deeply into the character of Velma Cruthers, a very strange housekeeper in the deep south. All three actresses deserved to win Oscars because their performances are that outstanding. This is the greatest horror film of its kind and therefore, a classic.
Rivetting Horror Performances
This is a Southern Gothic horror film par excellance. The best that all three main characters ever did. Bette Davis triumphs as Charlotte Hollis. Agnes Moorehead gives the best supporting performance in a horror that I know of. Olivia de Havilland is so adept at being sinister it made me wonder why she hadn't revealed this side of her acting ability before. Joseph Cotten seems to have been brought in to bring out the macabre of the horrific effects. Althougher, this film is Bette Davis' classic horror film and she only did a few in her whole film career.
Keeps Getting Better Over Time
An amazing aspect about the acting career of Bette Davis is that she kept getting better with every performance. Coming directly from her tour de force triumph playing the lead in "Baby Jane," Davis heads right in to this film with Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead, two formiddable character actors. Though it didn't seem likely that Davis could surpasss her outstanding performance as Jane Hudson, she does it again as Charlotte Hollis. Due to a far superior supporting cast in this film, it is much better than "Baby Jane."
Bette Davis' Classic Horror Role
When I saw this as a young child I recall thinking that all of the actors were scary. Having just had the chance to see Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead in action again some 30 years later, I was surprised that this film isn't scary. It's eerie and more of a mystery that I kept waiting to be solved. Charlotte, Miriam and Velma have got to be among the most memorable characters in a classic horror film.
7 Oscar Nominee All-Star Horror
With Bette Davis as the lead, Agnes Moorehead as her best supporting side kick, and Olivia de Havilland playing an uncharacteristically wicked woman, the dramatic horror performances are fantastic. This may be Moorehead's best performance of her lifetime. De Havilland makes sinister greed look as evil as it gets. However, when it comes up to it, Bette Davis' leading performance is her powerhouse horror one. This is the best horror film I've watched.
Classy Women Actors Make a Classic Horror
Bette Davis. Olivia de Havilland. Agnes Moorehead. (Repeat until all three names sink in). Whatever it was that happened on the set while these three great character actors were filming should be bottled, preserved and released again! I guess I could call "Hush...Hush" a classic gothic noir horror. While all of the terrorizing of Charlotte (Davis) is going on inside of her mansion, Cousin Miriam Dearing (de Havilland) isn't being a dear. Anything but. Agnes Moorehead's (Velma) matching the intense southern strangeness that Bette Davis has perfected (as Charlotte). It's astonishing to watch these three master actors work together. They put on such a show that I think of it as the finest class horror with all women leads. (Yes, Joseph Cotten's in the mix, but gets quite overshadowed by these three). Cecial Kellaway & Mary Astor have sweet, small but plot-important parts. Their sweetness outside of the Hollis mansion makes for quite a contrast with what's going on inside of it.
Horror's Not My Genre, But I Like This!
Being a lover of real classic films, when this one was nominated for 7 Oscars I had to watch it even though I'm not a fan of horror films. "Hush...Hush," is one classic horror and a half! Bette Davis' depiction of the title character, Charlotte, is so well balanced with the rest of the main characters in the cast. Agnes Moorehead's Velma seems like the perfect match for Davis' Charlotte. They make quite a bizarre pair who are fascinating characters to study. The antagonist, Miriam Deering, turns out to be the least expected of all actors: Olivia de Havilland. She's got a helper in the doctor, Joseph Cotten. But, his performance is either under-played or over-shadowed by the cast of the three leading women who royally make this film into a horror that's worth every minute of footage and time to watch it. The music score can't be discounted for adding just the right eerie atmosphere.
7 Oscar Nominated Bette Davis Horror
"Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte," is undoubtedly the finest horror film that all 3 leading women ever enacted. Bette Davis is the fabulous lead as Charlotte. Agnes Moorehead is outstanding supporting as Velma. Olivia de Havilland is a co-lead who delivers the type of performance that's atypical for her as scheming, greed-driven and an evil-doer. Cecil Kellaway makes a charming appearence as a writer that's a vital part to the plot. Mary Astor also plays a small part as Jewel Mayhew who's also got an important place in the plot. Davis' portrayal of a woman driven mad by a traumatic murder when she was a debutant is a tour de force performance. Agnes Moorehead's as the all-knowing housekeeper is fantastic and Oscar nominated. Olivia de Havilland proves that she can break any type casting to play the villain. This film is loaded with superb acting, a fitting set, terrific music score and tight script.
Not a Horror Genre Fan
There was no way I ever intended to watch this film because it's a horror and I'm not into that genre. After one of my adult children sent a box set of Bette Davis film DVDs as a gift and this film was included in it, I broke it out one Halloween when my friends were here. This is the horror film that changed my view about the genre. In fact, three women actors accomplished that by proving that a horror classic didn't have to be gory, frightening, grotesque or unbelievable. Bette Davis as Charlotte Hollis is severely traumatized by a murder in her youth that she was blamed for committing. Those combined events changed the course of her life. Agnes Moorehead as Velma, Charlotte's housekeeper, is able to manage Charlotte's outbursts of righteous outrage. Olivia de Havilland's a mesmerizing menace, Miriam, Charlotte's cousin. Together, these 3 key actors convince me that a real situation like this probably has happened and still could. That's a classic horror. And I didn't want to watch it let alone like it.
Davis' & Moorehead's Awarded Performances
Bette Davis, Agnes Moorehead & Olivia de Havilland all give awared worthy performances to make this their best horror film. Following is a brief list of the women's nominations & awards. This film was nominated for 7 Oscars in 1964 & well worth them all. They made the best leading trio of women actors in a 20th century horror film I've watched. (1964)Best Foreign Actress BAFTA Nomination for: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? USA Jane Hudson (Bette Davis); (Bette Davis Won 1965)Best Dramatic Performance, Female Golden Laurel Award for: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte's, Charlotte Hollis; (1964)Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nomination for: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte's, Velma; (Agnes Moorehead Won 1965)Best Supporting Performance, Female Golden Laurel Award for: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte's, Velma.
Davis' Best Horror Film
Compared to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" it's difficult to choose which of Davis' leading performances is best. What is easy to spot is the stark difference between the rest of both films' casts. The cast and their performances of this film are so far superior in contrast. With Olivia de Havilland as Miriam, Charlotte's (Davis) the money grubbing cousin, who's out to drive her around the bend, and Agnes Moorehead's Oscar-winning performance as Velma, the one person who cares for Charlotte, there's no doubt at all that this is Davis' best horror film of all time.
Best Classic Horror of Bette Davis'
Bette Davis didn't do too many horror films. Of the few she did, this one's by far the best of them. Charlotte Hollis has suffered for her whole adult lifetime because of a murder she was only presumed to have committed. Now about to lose her family estate to the US government, she's more than outraged. Her cousin Miriam (de Havilland) arrives, after years of being estranged, under the pretense of being there to assist her nearly deranged cousin with the major move. But, Velma (Agnes Moorehead), Charlotte's loyal housekeeper and caregiver, sees through Miriam from the start. Davis, of course, leads the cast with a tour de force performance. Moorehead's won the Oscar & de Haviland's is a splendid surprising switch from her usual mild mannered roles. It's a total 10 classic.
Finest Classic Horror by Women Actors
(I don't like distinguishing between the sexes of actors, and object to the word: actress because it is diminishing). Three great actors pooled their wealth of techniques together to create a classic horror film. Since each of these actors deliver seemingly equally excellent performances, it's impossible for me to single any one of them out from the team. That is what makes this horror film work so well: team work. It's clear to see that Bette Davis is acting off of Agnes Moorehead and vice versa. The same is true of Davis and Olivia de Haviland. Charlotte has to have Miriam driving her batty and Velma has to have each to try to drive a protective wedge between them. Toss in Joseph Cotten as a token measure. Add Mary Astor and Cecil Kellaway for those touching major moments. This is all three main actors' best horror film performances.
Women Trio of Master Acting Horror
Had Bette Davis not pulled out all the stops to become Charlotte Hollis, Agnes Moorehead's performance as Velma, Charlotte's only caretaker, would have stolen this horror film. Olivia de Haviland's cousin Miriam is unexpectedly noxious. These three women actors combine their accomplished skills to create one of the best horror films with all women co-leads. This film is Bette Davis' classic horror film. Her performance stands out as an all out effort to reach deep within herself to find a mortified person who's nearly driven insane by her own shame and others' greed.
Bette Davis' Best Horror Film
"Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" is a classic gothic horror film because of the all out efforts of one of the better casts and crews. Bette Davis, Agnes Moorehead and Olivia de Haviland work so well together; better than any other team of women actors in a horror film. Moorehead's Velma is unforgettably gothic even while being devoted to Charlotte. de Haviland's Miriam presents the element of surprise since portraying greed and coercive evil weren't typical traits her characters played. Bette Davis seems to have embodied Charlotte as only Bette Davis could or would. Mid-1960's LSD trips, Vietnam & flower power were more popular than Southern gothic. As they used to say Charlotte's a trip.
Love the Ending & Cecil Kellway
This has got to be Bette Davis' best horror film. She's the horrified one, as Charlotte Hollis, this time. Olivia de Haviland does a great job of being sly and evil. Joseph Cotten's just kind of there for de Haviland to co-conspire with. Nothing's wrong with his performance, it's just nothing impressive. But oh Agnes Moorhead certainly came on very strong, rightly taking an Oscar. As Charlotte's only real caretaker, Velma, Moorehead reminds me of the all knowing "mammies" (like Hattie McDaniel). With a big exception: Moorehead's Velma is a match for Davis' Charlotte. I'll always remember Velma.
Superior Horror, Superb Cast
Agnes Moorehead 's Oscar-winning supporting performance matched Bette Davis' leading one in intensity. Doing that was quite an acting feat because Davis was best know as a very intense character actor. Olivia de Haviland really had to perform as a sinister-sweety, yes, a dual persona, switching back and forth between the two. Plus, she and Davis were "chums." Cousin Miriam's game was to drive cousin Charlotte into an insance asylum so that she could claim the family fortune. Moorehead's Velma was the housekeeper who cared about Charlotte with a keen sense of knowing good from evil. It's Davis' very best horror film.
Oh, What a Lovely Career Slump!
I'd love to have an equal so called '1960's career slump' (& pay) now that I'm 53yo as was Bette Davis when she starred in all of these: Pocketful of Miracles (1961), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Where Love Has Gone (1964), Dead Ringer (1964), Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Empty Canvas (1964), The Nanny (1965), The Anniversary (1968) & Connecting Rooms (1969). Note: in 1964, Miss Davis at age 56 starred in 4 films, including this horror film, "Hush...Hush...;" her finest ever of the genre! Point made?
De Haviland, Moorehead's & Davis' Horror
"Hush, Hush..." demonstrates my point about the need for a better supporting cast in "...Baby Jane." Agnes Moorehead's tour de force supporting performance had to work to match Bette Davis' intensity as Charlotte. Davis & Moorehead played so consistently well off of each other in every scene. Add de Haviland's Miriam & the nefarious nature of the film out-pours. Cotten's like a boy-toy prop for de Haviland's superb characterization of insidious greed. Ultimately, Davis' ability to depict Charlotte as utterly overwrought with angst & grief is fundamental.
Best Horror of Davis' Luminous Career
Here's why: Olivia de Haviland & Agnes Moorehead could act circles around Joan Crawford in "...Baby Jane." Their supporting performances are so superior to those in "...Baby Jane," that Davis' leading one is all the better for their presences. Then, the plot isn't sappy with women-as-wimps. De Haviland's a sly terror, Moorehead's an ardent defender of her employer & Davis is a bundle of gits to be tied. Her performance as a terrorized heiress who's being betrayed is wired with a firey angst. Though Charlotte is about to break down, she's a survivor with whom to be reckoned.
Superb Horror and Classy Cast of Women
Bette Davis plays Charlotte Hollis as rightly outraged. De Haviland plays cousin Miriam as connivingly shrewd and wicked. Agnes Moorehead plays Velma, the Hollis housekeeper, as the omniscient woman's woman. Each one has their specific strengths that are brought out. Moorehead's provide the balance between Charlotte's tramatized state and cousin Miriam's sickening soothing facade. These are the three main characters who carry the weight of the film's main plot. Joseph Cotton's only plays Miriam's boy-toy. The elderly Mary Astor & Cecil Kellway play small but key parts.
Brilliant Casting, Great Acting
It's extra fun to watch real life chums, de Haviland & Davis, being at horrifying odds with one another. The plot is quite heavy so the lead characters have to be portrayed flawlessly. If they'd failed the horrifying aspects, the film would be mere camp now. Instead, Bette Davis, Olivia de Haviland, Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotten become antagonists the film needs to succeed. Even with Moorehead's Oscar-winning performance, Davis' lead as Charlotte Hollis proves to be her finest horror performance. What was the AFI to do? Give Davis an Oscar for every film she led? !
6 Star Horror and A Role Made for Davis
The 6 stars aren't a rating, but rather, Bette Davis, Agnes Moorehead, Olivia de Haviland, Joseph Cotten, Mary Astor & Cecil Kellway. Moorehead's performance as Davis' houskeeper earned her an Oscar. De Haviland plays an uncharacteristically wicked role with Cotten. Though Astor and Kellway are elderly, they play key bit parts. Davis' turns in a bravura performance, going all out to portray a wealthy Southern debutant who'd been driven nearly insane by the murder of her young lover, scores of years earlier. No one but Davis could've drawn Charlotte out of herself.
"All star cast" is a phrase that's casually tossed around. "Hush, Hush" actually has an all star cast with Miss Davis as the protagonist. Once again, Bette Davis goes the distance to portray her character, Charlotte Hollis. An old trailer read, "Nobody's better than Bette when she's bad." Funny, how she didn't play very many "bad" characters. Interestingly, she played many more borderline crazy ones. Hollis is one of her best of that type. To watch Davis, de Haviland and Moorehead interacting on screen is nothing short of set of stellar horror performances.
Davis, de Haviland & Moorehead Triumph
What Charlotte Hollis (Davis) went through would have driven most people as mad as her. That de Haviland was cast as her wicked cousin was the surprise. Agnes Moorehead's Oscar-winning performance rounds this trio of actors to a classic triumph in the horror genre. Moorehead nails her character having to do so in scenes with two Oscar-winning actors who were going all out in each of their performances. I can't get enough of watching these three going for the gold. The casting the supporting roles with Mary Astor & Cecil Kellway was ingenius.
gave me nightmares for years
I was 14 when this show came out, it scared me so bad I slept with an ice pick under my pillow for years, my sisters and brother refused to come in my room and wake me up. I wish I had never seen this movie.
Love the use of lighting, the camera shots and the story. Bette Davis may have been a little more subtle in her role, but she's Bette Davis, and nobody else could be. The rest of the cast seems to me at the top of their games and Joseph Cotton, hard to believe how good he has been in everything I've seen him play.
If Only Joan Had Played Miriam
I love Bette, but her performance in this movie was way over the top. No complaints about Olivia's performance; she was icy perfection. I just wish Joan Crawford had been able to complete the Miriam role, if only for the scene where she wallops Bette in the car when they're disposing of Drew's "corpse" and tells how she's had to put up with Bette's badgering and put-downs all her life and she's not going to take it anymore. What I would have given to have seen that! Cotten and Moorehead are excellent as they are in everything I've seen them in.
While HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE might be a feast for Bette Davis fans, actually it's Olivia de Havilland and Mary Astor who walk off with the acting honors. Olivia only took the role of Cousin Miriam as a favor to Bette when production was halted because of Joan Crawford's "illness". But she, Mary Astor and Agnes Moorehead got the best reviews for their work--while it was generally said that Bette Davis should have toned down her shrieking Charlotte by a wide margin. She's pitiful as Charlotte but too much of a shrew at times, while Olivia's more subtle Miriam provides some good contrast and a number of surprises. Good performances abound throughout the supporting cast, including Cecil Kellaway, Victor Buono and many others. Excellent background score by DeVol and superb B&W photography, as well as a plot twist derived from the thriller "Diabolique", make this a worthwhile stunner of a Gothic noir.
A great suspense thriller. Bette Davis doesn't disappoint. Perfect to watch when you have friends over who think black and white movies are out!