Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

 


 

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The arrival of a lost relative, engulfs terror upon an aging southern belle, forever plagued by a horrifying family secret. Full summary »

Genre: Drama,Horror,Mystery,Thriller

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
   
Release Date: 24 December 1964 (USA)
Country: USA
Director: Robert Aldrich
Cast:
  • Bette Davis
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Joseph Cotten
  • Agnes Moorehead
  • Cecil Kellaway
  • Victor Buono
  • Mary Astor
  • Wesley Addy
  • William Campbell
  • Bruce Dern
  • Frank Ferguson
  • George Kennedy
  • Dave Willock
  • Michel Petit
  • John Megna


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35 Responses to Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

  1. Jealous_Skunk
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    I have so many questions, rants and comments about this film but I really just need these few.

    1. Charlotte said she never signed a release paper for the house and land. I assumed Miriam was the one who signed it seen she’s supposed to be the sane one but it seems like they still going to tear down the house! I just don’t get it!

    Somebody please help.

    2. Also, how can Charlotte prove herself innocent?

    3. Was Dr. Bayliss blood-related to the cousins?

    4. How can Charlotte prove to the real world that Jewel, Miriam & Bayliss were the culprit?

    5. What letter did Harry give to Charlotte? What made her so happy?

    6. After all these years, she’s so reluctant to give up the house and go to a sanitarium. What made her freewillingly decide to let go of everything?

    7. The whole world thought Charlotte killed John in 1927 but why no one made her go to a sanitarium or prison? Did her father take the blame for her?

    8. How and why did the father die? Death sentence?

    Please help ASAP. I never read the book. So, please tell me what really happened both in the book and film. I’m going cuckoo! Thank you for your help and time.

    JeSkuNk

  2. Mkeydude
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    In the beginning, there was light. No sorry–I fell into my evangelist persona. In the beginning of the movie, the director almost had the 1920s down pat until the dance with the girls wearing that long 60s hair. The girls in the ’20s wore bobbed hair. How tough would it have been for the director to throw on some marcelled wigs or a turban here or there. Its been a while since I’ve seen the movie and I don’t think the dresses were ’20s period either. What a let down. Ya gotta know the wardrobe department had tons of 20s garb.

  3. meme-29
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    I saw this a long time ago and caught the beginning today on FMC. I can’t remember did Charlotte really kill her "fiance" in the beginning or did her dad? It doesn’t show who did it, showed the dad wandering toward the back house. Charlotte with the blood on her gown, could have just found him. Did she or her dad (or maybe his wife?) kill him?

    Thanks!

    • J Wick
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      The wife did it. That’s revealed at the end of the movie. Cousin Mariam had been blackmailing the wife all the years because she saw the wife do it.

  4. absters24
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    I know why Charlotte pushes the large planter over the edge…. but my husband and I don’t understand how she got away with murdering her cousin and the Dr. Was it because the reporter was catching on to their plans thanks to Velma’s concerns?? Or did she some how pass it off as an accident?

  5. mikwalen
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    I watched "CHARLOTTE" yesterday on TCM, and again, I asked myself…how could Miriam and Drew have been so absolutely sure that Charlotte would find the gun and then actually fire it? Their scheme depended on this, and it would seem that there could have been a chance that the scenario would not have played out so perfectly.

    By the way, I love reading the comments on this board! I’m gonna buy the dvd soon!

    "Samantha! You picked a lemon in the garden of love!"

  6. dustinthewind25
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    What an incredibly eloquent sequence, when she leaves the music box in the house. At that moment, you know Charlotte’s going to be all right after the credits roll. That sequence really affected me.

  7. MammothPictures
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    Mary Astor was perfect as Jewel Mayhew. But what if Joan Fontaine had been cast in the role instead? Probably not right for it. But oh, the confrontation scene in the street where Jewel tells Miriam off! With feuding sisters Olivia and Joan playing the parts! I would have paid extra just to see that!

    "I’m from the New South. That means that I watch Gone With the Wind on DVD".

  8. onepotato2
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    A nice mix. Watching it tonight for the tenth time in two decades and thinking…. It has an elegiac tone for Charlotte’s lost life. The plot thread about global notoriety & murder lore in the modern mass mediated world is much more interesting than a viewer of campy movie would expect.

    (SPOILERS)

    Jewel Mayhew, who gets off easy, is horrible. She lets Charlotte’s entire life go by, and be ruined by accusations and mental problems; over her husband’s infidelity, and she’s already killed him! And the movies poignant moments highlight that loss. Bette Davis’s groggy reaction to the child intruder is well done (She has work hard to remember what time she’s in), and her tears under the credits set the tone.

  9. jdallas-2
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    This always puzzled me. They couldn’t have plotted this together from the beginning, because Miriam told Drew at the end, "You came in a little late on this charade." So here’s my take on the "shenanigans" pulled off in the film. See if you agree.

    1. Notes to Charlotte: Miriam started it years earlier by sending notes to Charlotte calling her "Murderess", etc., to basically torment her.

    2. Miriam’s torn dress: Velma did it to scare Miriam off, and tipped her hand that she’d done it during a confrontation with Miriam midway through the movie.

    3. Hand and cleaver in the music room: Drew put them there without Miriam being in on it. She seemd too shocked and appalled when she saw them for me to believe she helped with that one.

    4. Shadowy figure in storm and broken mirrors: Drew again. We see a silhoutte figure through the curtain which has to be him, and again, when Miriam wakes up to find Charlotte in the music room with the wrecked mirrors and bloodied arm, she seems genuinely taken by surprise. I don’t think she was in on this one, either.

    5. Head bouncing down stairs: Miriam definitely was in on this one, as she drops the box, the head rolls out, and we see her with a knowing, grim look, waiting for Charlotte’s response. Now she’s clearly in on it.

    In everything that follows the two are plainly working together. So it seems to me that somewhere between the smashed mirrors and the boxed head, she and Drew joined forces. Did I get it right? I wish it had been more clearly explained in the film.

  10. markedjuan
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    Two scenes in Charlotte remind me of two scenes in Streetcar Named Desire. The first is the dinner with Charlotte, Drew and Miriam (when Charlotte calls Miriam a vile, sorry little bitch). When Miriam mentions how John had been savagely butchered, Charlotte suddenly becomes melancholy. The way Charlotte reacts is reminiscent to the way Blanche tries to relive her glorious past. This happens when she is alone in the apartment of the Kowalskis, just before a young man knocks on the door. The dresses they wear look also similar.

    The second is when Charlotte frantically brings out the hate letters she had received from Jewel. The hairdo and robe Charlotte is wearing is similar to what Blanche wears when she screams at Stanley and starts shutting every window in the apartment.

    Just wondering if the similarities were intentional or coincidental.

  11. onepotato2
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    In HHSC, Woman 1 and her boyfriend conspire to get Woman 2 to ‘kill’ him, to bilk her out of her property. She has a mental problems and when he comes back soggy from his drowning she loses her grip.

    In Diabolique, a man and his mistress conspire to get his wife to ‘kill’ him, to bilk her out of her property. She has a heart problem and when he comes back soggy from his drowning she dies.

    Hush Hush is campier, but I like it better. It has more developments. Diabolique is good, but it takes almost two hours to get to the sole development. Hush Hush also has beautiful b/w cinematography.

  12. Ophiuchus811
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    … if he’s still married to Mary Astor?

    ——

  13. Ophiuchus811
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    Would it be possible?

    ——

  14. HOHNancy
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    I just watched it tonight, and it was a pretty good movie. :) I felt bad for Charlotte throughout the film, and when the planter fell on the couple, I was glad because they were terrible to her….they got what’s coming to them. :)

    As for the ending, I feel it is open to interpretation. That letter is to free her of the 1st murder of her lover (not for the recent murders), and she is probably taken to a mental institution….I feel she did it in self-defense since she knew they would try to hurt her again. Obviously the older man who gave her the note at the end will help her out, and incriminate the evil couple….since he mentioned to the reporter about them.

  15. onepotato2
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    Wow.

    I saw this half a dozen times as I was learning about movies, but never really noted the beautiful post-noir blacks in the compositions. Often the middle ground in a room is lost to blackness with a large face in the foreground and a tableau off to one side. While still maintaining nice middle grays.

    Beautiful photography!

  16. big_bellied_geezer
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    Most of us know that Joan was cut from the picture, and several scenes were filmed with Joan but obviously discarded from the finished product except for the cab arrival scene that is rumored to actually be Joan Crawford from a great distance.

    My question is if the Crawford footage still exists someplace?

    If so, it is a shame it didn’t make it into the recently released DVD in a extra features section.

    Does anyone know if this footage still exists or has it been long discarded?

    Filling up your tank is filling up the pockets of the enemy

  17. MammothPictures
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    Hollywood makeup people are geniuses. They made Olivia de Havilland look plain and homely as Melanie in "Gone With the Wind". They made her sister Joan Fontaine look plain and homely in "Rebecca". In reality, both women were very beautiful. And as Miriam in "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte", Olivia looks terrific!

    "I’m from the New South. That means that I watch Gone With the Wind on DVD".

  18. mhearn
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    WARNING: ONLY TO BE READ BY THOSE HAVING SEEN THE FILM. OTHERWISE DO NOT CONTINUE:

    Girls, let me tell you, a recent viewing of this film was a revelation because beneath the Gothic trappings this is first and foremost a film about class distinctions. And if that white trash upstart Miriam Dearing had maintained hers, none of this would have happened.

    Consider:

    John Mayhew was obviously the male white trash counterpart of Miriam Dearing. Jewel was, like Charlotte, the daughter of Southern gentry, which is why John married her. For her wealth and to pound some legit pussy. Not that that stopped him from pounding non-legit, and I bet, darlings, he and Sam Hollis passed each other many times going up and down stairs evenings at local brothels. So each knew what the other was.

    Sam Hollis, additionally, whether he realized it or not, had incestuous desingns on his daughter. No, he did not act upon them, BUT they were there, which is why not only did he not want his daughter to marry John, he did not want her to marry anyone!!!!!

    John carries on with Charlotte. Miss Trash Miriam squeals to Sam, who refuses to believe a socially inferior wench. But when Jewel herself comes calling on Sam, he cannot refuse the truth. What I think Bitch Miriam set in motion was for Sam to tell Jewel to murder her husband. At the party, there are repeated shots of Sam walking about the grounds. He is watching and waiting for John to get to the summerhouse, so he can tell Jewel to go ahead–

    which she does. Charlotte finds the dead John, loses it at the party in that blood saturated dress and everyone of course thinks she did it. All the fault of a scheming white trash bitch who would not stay in her place.

    Darlings, it never occured to me before but this time I wondered–maybe Miriam is not Charlotte’s cousin, but his illegitimate daughter. Her mother was a sorry up-North waitresss, whom Sam could easily have had a dalliance with on a business trip, and impregnated. When she wrote to him for money, faced with exposure, Sam decides to buy the slut off, and raise the child in genteel surroundings, while never letting Miriam forget that she should be grateful for being removed from the gutter, and that she will NEVER be the equal of Charlotte. But no, entitlement bitch Miriam thinks she is better–a mistake social trash often make! And this is Miriam’s lifelong downfall!

    So the women are not cousins, but half-siblings and do not know it. What only Charlotte seems to know is twice when she says "John didn’t even…" and we know the truth–the relationship was never consummated, as everyone thought. Plenty of cuddling and petting, but no going all the way. Charlotte was not trash like Miriam.

    And that trash continues to worm her way into the gentry by making a play for Drew Bayliss, another wealthy Southern scion. Drew may be gentry but his instincts are sleazy–probably over charges and over medicates his patients. So when scandal erupts, socially prominent Drew rightly drops Miriam and she flees to Paris. Where she plots vengeance on all!

    Much is made of the fact that John’s dismembered head was never found. I know where it is, darlings! The answer lies with Jewel Mayhew, and William Faulkner’s short story, "A Rose For Emily."

    Let me tell you, girls, this story relates to my life. Because in my town I came from the RIGHT side of town, the North side. It would have been like if one of the girls from unspeakable Goat Alley had tried to marry a boy from Harrison Avenue. I am telling you, girls, it just wouldn’t BE. So this film is a cautionary tale for all Miriams to stay in your place and don’t try to rise above the trash you really are, because sooner or later you will always be found out!

    How’s that, girls!

  19. poettesse
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    Vivien Leigh was considered–briefly–for the role of Miriam. What do y’all think? Would she have been as spectacular as deHavilland was?

    Love me, love my

  20. patlang
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    It’s all in the title, wich one of the (at least) 3 dvd editions is the best?

    Is there any special feature?

    I love this movie^^

    http://patlestiringeois.skyrock.com/

  21. dnliu
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    I read somewhere this is supposed to be like a sequel to Whatever happened to Baby Jane? titled "Whatever happened to cousin Charlotte" but the only connection here that I see is the same producers and cast (Bette Davis, Victor Buono, Dave Willock, and originally planned Joan Crawford) for most of the characters in Charlotte. Is there any other connections here that I missed? Is there another entry for the Baby Jane/Charlotte series?

  22. MammothPictures
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    I can’t beliver that the state of Louisiana was thoughtless enough to tear down a beautiful old ante bellum home like Hollis House. Just to build a highway to the "bridge to nowhere". They should have moved the house to another location. That happens with historic houses all the time. But I suppose that in 1964 such things weren’t considered as important as they are today.

    "I’m from the New South. That means that I watch Gone With the Wind on DVD".

  23. mhearn
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    ……….you get plenty of head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Heh! Heh! Heh!

  24. HarlowMGM
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    I love both of Bette Davis’ Louisiana-set movies, HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE and JEZEBEL and I think it gives CHARLOTTE a little extra kick to think of Charlotte being the great-great-great-granddaughter of Julie Marsten from the earlier picture. Given the personality, the region, and the "resemblence" it’s not a stretch! And do you think maybe missy Miriam could have been some black sheep from the Hamiltons of Georgia even with her yankee mama?

  25. JohnnyBlackhart
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    Only a film-but Id have really liked to have known more of Miraims life-before,during and after her time living in Hollis House that drove her to such extreme revenge-especially after it had led to Johns murder .

    – My new mission is to punish the bad and reward the good. So YOU had better watch it !-

  26. mit800
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    I`ve always wondered if Velma was written (at the time) for a black actress? Just the way the dialogue is scripted it seems that maybe they were going another way before Agness Moorehead took the part. I hope no one will take this the wrong way but it just seem the way Hollywood USED to portray black persons would have been the way Velma acted in this film. Maybe they decided times wer changing (thankfully) and made her poor white trash instead of another derogatory portrayal of a steriotype (is that redundant?)

  27. chrisreno181
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    Hi i just wondered if this was a good documentary and making of featurette. I have it on region 2 but saw this new region 1 for quite cheap and wondered whether to buy it. Does it talk about casting and joan crawford a lot?

  28. hushhushsweetami
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    Spoiler –

    This is a minor point, I know, but it always bugs me. When the car is carrying Charlotte away after she’s read the letter, she’s waving at Wills – then there’s this cut in scene of the Sheriff waving at her and smiling – WTH was that for? Totally unnecessary, just does not fit – did the actor have one more scene in his contract or something, and they just threw that one in?

    "There is no "book", Cord."

  29. MammothPictures
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    Spoiler! She screamed at Charlotte: "His darling little daughter was having a dirty little affair with a married man!" Then later, she slaps Charlotte and growls, "Shut your mouth!" She drugged and terrified Charlotte to get her money. She killed Velma. She blackmailed Jewel. Miriam really was a "vile,sorry little bitch!"

  30. Anonymous
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  31. roberto56
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    Does anyone know whether the scenes filmed by Joan Crawford still exist? I have read that she filmed quite a bit of the film before becoming ‘ill’. It would be interesting to see her.

  32. thomas196x2000
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    Ok, this is not quite the ending, but…..

    When Drew is supposedly dead in the carpet roll, propped up in the hallway, Harry comes for a visit. There is a suspense moment as Drew’s "body" is slipping into what would be Harry’s view. Charlotte can’t reach him in time, but the door is closed before Drew flops into view.

    Knowing later that Drew is not dead, why would he allow himself to fall into view like that. Makes no sense.

    Here is one other item.

    I have reseen this wonderful movie a few times in the past years, but always bits and pieces, never all the way through.

    Is this a scene, or is this from another movie: Is there a scene where Charlotte is on the bed, looks over to a closet door that has slats in it, and the decapitated head is visible through the slats slowly rising?

    Always wondered if that was this movie or another I saw as a kid.

  33. tudorhistoryguy
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    Please, please, please try to post them here.

  34. Beverly Taylor
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    What happened to John’s head and hand?

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