Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte


2h 13m 1964
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Brief Synopsis

A wealthy southern spinster fights to keep her family's secrets hidden.

Film Details

Also Known As
What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?
Genre
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Dec 1964
Production Company
Associates & Aldrich Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Hush Now, Sweet Charlotte" by Henry Farrell (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

When the Louisiana Highway Commission decides to build a road through her property, Charlotte Hollis threatens the workmen with a shotgun. Thirty-seven years earlier Charlotte's married lover, John Mayhew, was murdered; and though the killer was never discovered, the local townspeople are convinced of Charlotte's guilt. Charlotte herself, believing that her father killed Mayhew, became a recluse, living with her housekeeper, Velma, in the deteriorating Hollis mansion. Now she seeks help in her fight against the Highway Commission from Miriam, a poor cousin who lived with the family as a girl. Upon returning, Miriam renews her relationship with Drew Bayliss, the local doctor who jilted her after the murder. The eccentric Charlotte becomes progressively wilder with Miriam's arrival--her nights haunted by mysterious piano playing of the song Mayhew wrote for her and by the appearance of Mayhew's disembodied hand and head. Velma, realizing that Miriam and Drew are trying to drive Charlotte completely mad in order to get her money, seeks help from Mr. Willis, a Lloyd's of London insurance investigator who is still interested in the Mayhew case and who has visited Mayhew's ailing widow, Jewel; but Miriam kills Velma when the housekeeper tries to remove Charlotte from the mansion for safety. Miriam and Drew trick Charlotte into shooting Drew with a gun loaded with blanks, and Miriam helps Charlotte dispose of the body in a swamp. Drew's reappearance later reduces Charlotte to whimpering insanity. Believing Charlotte completely mad and secure in her room, Miriam and Drew go into the garden to discuss what they have done. As Miriam embraces Drew, she looks up to see Charlotte, who has overheard them, push a huge stone urn from the balcony above, crushing them to death. Later, as Charlotte is taken away by the authorities, Willis hands her an envelope from the now-dead Jewel Mayhew; it contains Jewel's confession of the murder of her husband.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Film Details

Also Known As
What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?
Genre
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Dec 1964
Production Company
Associates & Aldrich Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Hush Now, Sweet Charlotte" by Henry Farrell (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1964

Best Cinematography

1964

Best Costume Design

1964
Norma Koch

Best Editing

1964
Michael Luciano

Best Score

1964

Best Song

1964

Best Supporting Actress

1964
Agnes Moorehead

Articles

Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte - Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte


Following the unexpected box-office hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), director Robert Aldrich wanted to re-team stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. He thought he had the perfect property in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), based on the short story Hush Now...Sweet Charlotte by Henry Farrell who had also written What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. The working title was What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?, which was changed because Bette Davis thought the public would think it was a sequel. Davis herself said, "They had already composed a song for the film, and I liked it. It was sort of a lullaby that started off with 'Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte,' and I suggested that might be a better title.

Since Davis and Crawford did not get along despite their very public denials, it is not surprising that Joan quit the film, claiming she was ill. She had accepted the role only on the condition that her name come first in billing. Davis agreed, but only if she were paid more and she ended up making the same as Aldrich who directed and produced it.

Alain Silver and James Ursini wrote in their book Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, "Reputedly, Crawford was still incensed by Davis' attitude on Baby Jane and did not want to be upstaged again, as Davis' nomination for Best Actress convinced her she had been. Crawford worked only four days in all of July. Because she had told others that she was feigning illness to get out of the movie entirely, Aldrich was in an even worse position"...Desperate to resolve the situation, "Aldrich hired a private detective to record her [Crawford's] movements." When shooting was suspended indefinitely on August 4, the production insurance company insisted that either Crawford be replaced or the production cancelled. Aldrich approached Katharine Hepburn, who didn't return the studio's calls, and Vivien Leigh, who demurred, saying, "No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford's face at six o'clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis'." Barbara Stanwyck and Loretta Young also said no thanks. Bette Davis immediately suggested her good friend Olivia de Havilland. "Having ruled out or been turned down by Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young and Barbara Stanwyck, Aldrich flew to a remote resort in Switzerland and somehow cajoled Olivia de Havilland, the last acceptable actress, into taking over the part. 'I spent four terribly difficult days with all the persuasion I could command...I don't believe half of the things I said myself; but I knew there was no other place to go. If I came back without de Havilland, we wouldn't have a picture, because we had gone through all the other people that [20th Century] Fox would live with.'"

Olivia de Havilland later remembered, "I always thought it would be fun if [Bette and I] could work together. Then, I was offered the chance to work with her on the film that became Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte when Joan Crawford withdrew. I knew Bette wanted badly to work, and Jane had been such a success that Bette was quite anxious. They had to find the replacement, and Bette wanted me. The problem was I wasn't as anxious to work as she was. I didn't need to. I wasn't thrilled with the script, and I definitely didn't like my part. I was reverse-typecast, being asked to be an unsympathetic villain. It wasn't what people expected of me. It wasn't really what I wanted to do. Bette wanted it so much, so I did it. I can't say I regretted it, because working with her was special, but I can't say it was a picture I am proud to put on my résumé. Given the choice, I wouldn't have deprived Joan Crawford of the honor."

She did have positive things to say about the experience: "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte was full of traps, it was a delicate tight-rope walking assignment. I found that very interesting. Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark glittering style which fascinated me. It's always the charming ones of evil intent who are the dangerous ones; the others you can see coming. But you can't see Miriam [de Havilland's character] coming, and she's really dangerous." Joseph Cotten who also starred in the film, was also happy with the replacement, as he wrote in his autobiography, "[After Crawford's departure] The story, the project, everything about Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte was too good to scrap. Bob Aldrich put on persuading armor, packed handcuffs and a fountain pen, flew to Switzerland, and brought back Olivia...Olivia and I played lovers in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte . She was a fine replacement. She and Bette worked beautifully together; [Olivia] and I had never worked together before."

Crawford may have been gone, but she was not forgotten. According to Hal Erickson "On the first day of shooting, Davis and de Havilland 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 of the Pepsi-Cola company!"

The cast also included Mary Astor, another friend and former co-worker of Bette Davis' during her time at Warner Brothers. Astor wrote, "My agent called: 'There's this cameo in a movie with Bette Davis. It's a hell of a part; it could put you right up there again.' I read the script. The opening shot described a severed head rolling down the stairs, and each page contained more blood and gore and hysterics and cracked mirrors and everybody being awful to everybody else. I skipped to my few pages - a little old lady sitting on her veranda waiting to die. There was a small kicker to it inasmuch as it was she who was the murderess in her youth and had started all the trouble. And then in the story, she died. Good! Now, I'd really be dead! And it was with Bette - which seemed sentimentally fitting...[T]he locale was the deep South and we went on location to Baton Rouge and it was hellish hot. We worked at one of the magnificent decaying old pillared mansions [the Houmas House Plantation in Burnside, Louisiana] with an avenue of moss-hung trees leading down to the levee. It was an hour's drive from the hotel and we had to get up at the crack of dawn-naturally! The first day of shooting I was, as always, full of anxiety tremors. Every actor worth his salt has them, and you never get over it. I had lots of dialogue in a southern accent, and I had never worked with the director, Bob Aldrich. Bette was not in the scene and so naturally had the day off. But she had the sensitivity and courtesy to take the long drive out to the location and be a friendly, familiar face on the sidelines. 'Hi, Astor!' said she, 'You look great!' And I knew that she didn't mean the usual Hollywood flattery. She took a quick look at my costume, listened to my accent, watched a rehearsal, and said to Aldrich, 'Turn her loose, Robert, you might learn something!'". Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte ended up earning several Oscar® nominations, including a Best Supporting Actress for Agnes Moorehead, as well as Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Costume Design, Black-and-White; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Original Song; and Best Original Music Score.

Producer: Robert Aldrich, Walter Blake
Director: Robert Aldrich
Screenplay: Henry Farrell, Lukas Heller
Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc
Film Editing: Michael Luciano
Art Direction: William Glasgow
Music: Frank De Vol
Cast: Bette Davis (Charlotte Hollis), Olivia de Havilland (Miriam Deering), Joseph Cotten (Dr. Drew Bayliss), Agnes Moorehead (Velma Cruther), Cecil Kellaway (Harry Willis), Victor Buono (Samuel Eugene).
BW-133m. Letterboxed.

by Lorraine LoBianco

Sources:

The Internet Movie Database

The All-Movie Guide

A Life in Film by Mary Astor

Joseph Cotten: An Autobiography: Vanity Will Get You Somewhere

Bette Davis: Her Films and Career by Ilene Riggold

The Films of Olivia de Havilland by Tony Thomas
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte - Hush...hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte - Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Following the unexpected box-office hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), director Robert Aldrich wanted to re-team stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. He thought he had the perfect property in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), based on the short story Hush Now...Sweet Charlotte by Henry Farrell who had also written What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. The working title was What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?, which was changed because Bette Davis thought the public would think it was a sequel. Davis herself said, "They had already composed a song for the film, and I liked it. It was sort of a lullaby that started off with 'Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte,' and I suggested that might be a better title. Since Davis and Crawford did not get along despite their very public denials, it is not surprising that Joan quit the film, claiming she was ill. She had accepted the role only on the condition that her name come first in billing. Davis agreed, but only if she were paid more and she ended up making the same as Aldrich who directed and produced it. Alain Silver and James Ursini wrote in their book Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, "Reputedly, Crawford was still incensed by Davis' attitude on Baby Jane and did not want to be upstaged again, as Davis' nomination for Best Actress convinced her she had been. Crawford worked only four days in all of July. Because she had told others that she was feigning illness to get out of the movie entirely, Aldrich was in an even worse position"...Desperate to resolve the situation, "Aldrich hired a private detective to record her [Crawford's] movements." When shooting was suspended indefinitely on August 4, the production insurance company insisted that either Crawford be replaced or the production cancelled. Aldrich approached Katharine Hepburn, who didn't return the studio's calls, and Vivien Leigh, who demurred, saying, "No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford's face at six o'clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis'." Barbara Stanwyck and Loretta Young also said no thanks. Bette Davis immediately suggested her good friend Olivia de Havilland. "Having ruled out or been turned down by Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young and Barbara Stanwyck, Aldrich flew to a remote resort in Switzerland and somehow cajoled Olivia de Havilland, the last acceptable actress, into taking over the part. 'I spent four terribly difficult days with all the persuasion I could command...I don't believe half of the things I said myself; but I knew there was no other place to go. If I came back without de Havilland, we wouldn't have a picture, because we had gone through all the other people that [20th Century] Fox would live with.'" Olivia de Havilland later remembered, "I always thought it would be fun if [Bette and I] could work together. Then, I was offered the chance to work with her on the film that became Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte when Joan Crawford withdrew. I knew Bette wanted badly to work, and Jane had been such a success that Bette was quite anxious. They had to find the replacement, and Bette wanted me. The problem was I wasn't as anxious to work as she was. I didn't need to. I wasn't thrilled with the script, and I definitely didn't like my part. I was reverse-typecast, being asked to be an unsympathetic villain. It wasn't what people expected of me. It wasn't really what I wanted to do. Bette wanted it so much, so I did it. I can't say I regretted it, because working with her was special, but I can't say it was a picture I am proud to put on my résumé. Given the choice, I wouldn't have deprived Joan Crawford of the honor." She did have positive things to say about the experience: "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte was full of traps, it was a delicate tight-rope walking assignment. I found that very interesting. Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark glittering style which fascinated me. It's always the charming ones of evil intent who are the dangerous ones; the others you can see coming. But you can't see Miriam [de Havilland's character] coming, and she's really dangerous." Joseph Cotten who also starred in the film, was also happy with the replacement, as he wrote in his autobiography, "[After Crawford's departure] The story, the project, everything about Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte was too good to scrap. Bob Aldrich put on persuading armor, packed handcuffs and a fountain pen, flew to Switzerland, and brought back Olivia...Olivia and I played lovers in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte . She was a fine replacement. She and Bette worked beautifully together; [Olivia] and I had never worked together before." Crawford may have been gone, but she was not forgotten. According to Hal Erickson "On the first day of shooting, Davis and de Havilland 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 of the Pepsi-Cola company!" The cast also included Mary Astor, another friend and former co-worker of Bette Davis' during her time at Warner Brothers. Astor wrote, "My agent called: 'There's this cameo in a movie with Bette Davis. It's a hell of a part; it could put you right up there again.' I read the script. The opening shot described a severed head rolling down the stairs, and each page contained more blood and gore and hysterics and cracked mirrors and everybody being awful to everybody else. I skipped to my few pages - a little old lady sitting on her veranda waiting to die. There was a small kicker to it inasmuch as it was she who was the murderess in her youth and had started all the trouble. And then in the story, she died. Good! Now, I'd really be dead! And it was with Bette - which seemed sentimentally fitting...[T]he locale was the deep South and we went on location to Baton Rouge and it was hellish hot. We worked at one of the magnificent decaying old pillared mansions [the Houmas House Plantation in Burnside, Louisiana] with an avenue of moss-hung trees leading down to the levee. It was an hour's drive from the hotel and we had to get up at the crack of dawn-naturally! The first day of shooting I was, as always, full of anxiety tremors. Every actor worth his salt has them, and you never get over it. I had lots of dialogue in a southern accent, and I had never worked with the director, Bob Aldrich. Bette was not in the scene and so naturally had the day off. But she had the sensitivity and courtesy to take the long drive out to the location and be a friendly, familiar face on the sidelines. 'Hi, Astor!' said she, 'You look great!' And I knew that she didn't mean the usual Hollywood flattery. She took a quick look at my costume, listened to my accent, watched a rehearsal, and said to Aldrich, 'Turn her loose, Robert, you might learn something!'". Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte ended up earning several Oscar® nominations, including a Best Supporting Actress for Agnes Moorehead, as well as Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Costume Design, Black-and-White; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Original Song; and Best Original Music Score. Producer: Robert Aldrich, Walter Blake Director: Robert Aldrich Screenplay: Henry Farrell, Lukas Heller Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc Film Editing: Michael Luciano Art Direction: William Glasgow Music: Frank De Vol Cast: Bette Davis (Charlotte Hollis), Olivia de Havilland (Miriam Deering), Joseph Cotten (Dr. Drew Bayliss), Agnes Moorehead (Velma Cruther), Cecil Kellaway (Harry Willis), Victor Buono (Samuel Eugene). BW-133m. Letterboxed. by Lorraine LoBianco Sources: The Internet Movie Database The All-Movie Guide A Life in Film by Mary Astor Joseph Cotten: An Autobiography: Vanity Will Get You Somewhere Bette Davis: Her Films and Career by Ilene Riggold The Films of Olivia de Havilland by Tony Thomas

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte on DVD


When he successfully teamed fading film goddesses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), director Robert Aldrich kicked off a cinema cycle waggishly referred to as "Grand Dame Guignol," wherein aging leading ladies reclaimed the box-office clout of their youth by headlining shock films that were modestly budgeted and, by the prevailing standards of the day, surprisingly lurid. First to capitalize was Aldrich himself, who sought to reunite Davis and Crawford for another adaptation from the oeuvre of Baby Jane author Henry Farrell. Crawford would bolt in mid-production, and Olivia de Havilland hurriedly signed as a replacement. Still, the finished product, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1963), stands as one of the better examples of the genre, and as evidenced by its recent release to DVD courtesy of Fox Home Video, has worn very well over time.

The story's prologue opens in 1927 on the Louisiana plantation of Big Sam Hollis (Victor Buono), as he browbeats the married physician John Mayhew (Bruce Dern) out of his plans to elope with Sam's teenage daughter Charlotte. In the course of the soiree that Big Sam throws that evening, Mayhew takes Charlotte aside in order to break off the affair, and the devastated girl flees the room. Within minutes, Mayhew is attacked and butchered by an unseen assailant; the throng is shortly thereafter stunned by the appearance of the blood-spattered, semi-coherent Charlotte.

Thirty-seven years later, the Hollis homestead has been condemned to make way for a highway project, and the delicate Charlotte (Davis), a recluse regarded as an infamous boogie woman by the locals, is adamantly rejecting the kindly entreaties of the local sheriff (Wesley Addy) to vacate. Certain that this governmental persecution is just the latest manifestation of the lifelong enmity held by Jewel Mayhew (Mary Astor), John's widow, Charlotte reaches out for support to her cousin, the elegant Miriam Deering (de Havilland). Miriam's presence attracts her onetime beau, the local doctor Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotton), and they ostensibly try to make Charlotte grasp her current reality. However, Charlotte begins to be tormented by increasingly bizarre visions that threaten to shatter her already precarious grasp on her sanity.

Aldrich lays this all out at a stately pace, with a surfeit of exposition, and some gaps in internal logic; still, the narrative remains compelling from opening to fade-out, thanks to the unexpectedly violent rendering of the payoff sequences and the skill of his lead performers. Davis gives expectedly bravura work as the long-suffering Charlotte skirts complete collapse, and de Havilland is meticulous in keeping Miriam's private agenda cloaked throughout. The aforementioned supporting players are uniformly fine, as are Agnes Moorehead as Charlotte's addled harridan of a housekeeper, and Cecil Kellaway as a gentlemanly British crime reporter with a long-standing fascination in the affair du Hollis.

The visual presentation in the original 1:66.1 aspect ratio is nicely mastered, and neither audio track (mono, stereo 2.0) leaves any room for complaint. The highlight of the supplemental materials provided in Fox's release is the thoughtful full-length audio commentary, courtesy of Internet film & DVD aficionado Glenn Erickson. Over the course of the film's 133 minutes, Erickson keeps it lively, addressing at length the careers of Davis, de Havilland and Aldrich, as well as the entirety of the "hag horror" phenomenon that followed in Baby Jane's wake. He further provides plenty of fascinating scuttlebutt as to how the Davis/Crawford rivalry was actually very muted during the lensing of Baby Jane, and how much it ramped up in post-production to the point that Crawford walked away from Charlotte. The extras also include a theatrical teaser, a theatrical trailer, and a trio of TV spots.

For more information about Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, go to go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte on DVD

When he successfully teamed fading film goddesses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), director Robert Aldrich kicked off a cinema cycle waggishly referred to as "Grand Dame Guignol," wherein aging leading ladies reclaimed the box-office clout of their youth by headlining shock films that were modestly budgeted and, by the prevailing standards of the day, surprisingly lurid. First to capitalize was Aldrich himself, who sought to reunite Davis and Crawford for another adaptation from the oeuvre of Baby Jane author Henry Farrell. Crawford would bolt in mid-production, and Olivia de Havilland hurriedly signed as a replacement. Still, the finished product, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1963), stands as one of the better examples of the genre, and as evidenced by its recent release to DVD courtesy of Fox Home Video, has worn very well over time. The story's prologue opens in 1927 on the Louisiana plantation of Big Sam Hollis (Victor Buono), as he browbeats the married physician John Mayhew (Bruce Dern) out of his plans to elope with Sam's teenage daughter Charlotte. In the course of the soiree that Big Sam throws that evening, Mayhew takes Charlotte aside in order to break off the affair, and the devastated girl flees the room. Within minutes, Mayhew is attacked and butchered by an unseen assailant; the throng is shortly thereafter stunned by the appearance of the blood-spattered, semi-coherent Charlotte. Thirty-seven years later, the Hollis homestead has been condemned to make way for a highway project, and the delicate Charlotte (Davis), a recluse regarded as an infamous boogie woman by the locals, is adamantly rejecting the kindly entreaties of the local sheriff (Wesley Addy) to vacate. Certain that this governmental persecution is just the latest manifestation of the lifelong enmity held by Jewel Mayhew (Mary Astor), John's widow, Charlotte reaches out for support to her cousin, the elegant Miriam Deering (de Havilland). Miriam's presence attracts her onetime beau, the local doctor Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotton), and they ostensibly try to make Charlotte grasp her current reality. However, Charlotte begins to be tormented by increasingly bizarre visions that threaten to shatter her already precarious grasp on her sanity. Aldrich lays this all out at a stately pace, with a surfeit of exposition, and some gaps in internal logic; still, the narrative remains compelling from opening to fade-out, thanks to the unexpectedly violent rendering of the payoff sequences and the skill of his lead performers. Davis gives expectedly bravura work as the long-suffering Charlotte skirts complete collapse, and de Havilland is meticulous in keeping Miriam's private agenda cloaked throughout. The aforementioned supporting players are uniformly fine, as are Agnes Moorehead as Charlotte's addled harridan of a housekeeper, and Cecil Kellaway as a gentlemanly British crime reporter with a long-standing fascination in the affair du Hollis. The visual presentation in the original 1:66.1 aspect ratio is nicely mastered, and neither audio track (mono, stereo 2.0) leaves any room for complaint. The highlight of the supplemental materials provided in Fox's release is the thoughtful full-length audio commentary, courtesy of Internet film & DVD aficionado Glenn Erickson. Over the course of the film's 133 minutes, Erickson keeps it lively, addressing at length the careers of Davis, de Havilland and Aldrich, as well as the entirety of the "hag horror" phenomenon that followed in Baby Jane's wake. He further provides plenty of fascinating scuttlebutt as to how the Davis/Crawford rivalry was actually very muted during the lensing of Baby Jane, and how much it ramped up in post-production to the point that Crawford walked away from Charlotte. The extras also include a theatrical teaser, a theatrical trailer, and a trio of TV spots. For more information about Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, go to go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Well, right here on the public street, in the light of day, let me tell you, Miriam Deering, that murder starts in the heart, and its first weapon is a vicious tongue.
- Jewel Mayhew
You're a vile, sorry little bitch!
- Charlotte
Is my cousin one of your things?
- Miriam
What is it that you don't believe Drew? That I'm here, or that I look the way I do?
- Miriam
What do you think I asked you here for? COMPANY?
- Charlotte

Trivia

Barbara Stanwyck was originally sought for the role of Jewel Mayhew which eventually went to Mary Astor.

Originally conceived as a sequel to the Joan Crawford/B'ette Davis' hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)', and was to be called "Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?". Bette Davis' torment of Crawford (who had actively campaigned against Davis' Oscar nomination for "Baby Jane") became so oppressive that Crawford pleaded illness in order to get out of the production.

When Joan Crawford took sick and was hospitalized as filming began (see above), scenes were shot around her, but when it became evident that she would have to be replaced, her role was offered to Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh. Hepburn didn't return the studio's call, while Leigh declined, saying, "No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford's face at six o'clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis." Eventually, Robert Aldrich flew to Switzerland and convinced Olivia de Havilland to step in.

When Miriam Deering (Olivia de Havilland) is preparing to close up the house in anticipation of moving out, she is packing a box which is stenciled "Sam Strangis Storage & Transfer, Baton Rouge, LA.". Sam Strangis was the assistant director on this picture.

Loretta Young was also offered the role of Miriam when Crawford became ill, but turned it down, saying the role was totally wrong for her.

Notes

Copyright length: 130 min. Original title: What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States March 1965

Released in United States Winter December 1964

Olivia de Havilland replaced Joan Crawford after the latter fell ill just before production was about to begin.

Re-released in Paris May 1, 1991.

Released in United States 1994 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "Apocalypse Anytime! The Films of Robert Aldrich" March 11 - April 8, 1994.)

Released in United States March 1965

Released in United States Winter December 1964