Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Bette Davis, Mary Astor, Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Cecil Kellaway, Victor Buono, Agnes Moorehead
My Review and Thoughts:
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Pinch me now, or punch me now. Boy am I super happy with this release on Special Edition Blu-ray. One of my all-time favorite films. Released as of this writing just in time for Halloween. This is my go to movie over and over again. The acting, direction, and most of all creepy suspense which gives me everything I want in a film. This was one of my childhood favorites. I use to sing or hum the opening song over and over again, creeping myself out. Chop Chop Sweet Charlotte, chop off his hand and head.
A brilliant film starring one of the greatest actress’ ever to grace feature film. A beauty like no other. One that bleeds total perfection in no matter what she ever did. She had a force, a desire, an emotional roller coaster of masterpiece worthy perfection on screen. Her looks, attitude, and overall completion of any performance gave her the that, you’re going to watch me, love me, hate me, inspired by me, but most of all you’re going to see, feel, this performance. She owned her characters. She gave them a beating heart. Air to breath. The attitude to spark an emotional response from her audience. Bette Davis needs no introduction to film. She is and will always be one of the greatest to ever live. This is one of her key performances.
Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a pure psychological thriller that leaves a spine tingling, hair raising reality upon the viewer. It was based upon the short story “Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? by Henry Farrell. At the time it was an unpublished work. Written by screen writer Henry Farrell. Both Farrell and Lukas Heller brought it to the screen in script form. Yes, that’s right, that Henry Farrell the writer and creator of the amazing, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Starring yes the one and only Bette Davis, and the extraordinary Joan Crawford. Sadly, we lost this amazing storyteller in 2006, but his grace on film will always be honored and remembered.
Twilight Time honored this master writer of deep, dark plots with a lovely Blu-ray of this important film, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. His real name was Charles Ferrell Myers and like many writers he had a pseudonym. He not only wrote screenplays, but most of all he was an author. He wrote many books, short stories, and gave the written book loving world, many examples of great reads. I have read two of his books What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? And also his 1963’s, How Awful About Allan. Both are great books, and both became films. I highly recommend you seek out his books, and give them a read, you won’t be disappointed. He also wrote the story, What’s the Matter with Helen? Which became the crime musical by the same name in 1971, starring two other wonderful actresses, Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters.
The co-script writer for Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is German screenwriter Lukas Heller who also had an equally important career inside the cinema world. He was the one that wrote the screenplay for Henry Farrell’s story, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? He also wrote the screenplays for the classic films 1965’s The Flight of the Phoenix, 1967’s The Dirty Dozen. He even entered the world of post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi B-movie and Drive-In Cult classic glory with, 1977’s Damnation Alley. Both writers, one a novelist, the other a screenplay writer. Both equally important to cinema history. On a side note Lukas Heller won an Edgar Award for Best Movie for, Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Also interesting to note is he is the father of producer and writer Bruno Heller. Bruno Heller is responsible for producing and also writing the TV shows, Rome 2005-2007, The Mentalist 2008-2015, and as of this writing most recently for the popular FOX TV show Gotham.
Directed by an amazing director Robert Aldrich. Aldrich was a fantastic director that left us with so many wonderful films. He is one of those directors that created so many tough action films, or thick with emotional situations, and moments that would linger with you when the movie was over. He died at the young age of 65, but left many examples of films that I feel should be expressed, explored, and talked about amongst cinema lovers. From 1954’s Vera Cruz, to the awesome crime, Film-noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955). To me, his true shinning achievement, the one and only, 1962’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The equally haunting, and personal favorite of mine, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. The amazing 1965’s Flight of the Phoenix, and the one film many remember, 1967’s The Dirty Dozen. He was a director that had away with creating a story through his direction. A tight intense reality, sometimes dark, and morbid, other times action, and adventure, but always a great emotional tension filled watch. I think something that is asinine, is he never was nominated, or won an Academy Award, or Golden Globe, to me that is sad and ridiculous.
An all-star, amazing cast equally important to Davis’s performance on screen. The one and only beautiful goddess Olivia de Havilland. Olivia is what I call the complete package when it comes to actresses. She had the looks, the brains, the ability to create believable characters. She has starred in some the greatest films of all time. All one has to do is scan her Award Worthy and award winning career. Born in 1916 and as of this writing, this amazing woman is still alive. 100 years old, pure perfection. She is one of the remaining Golden Age of Hollywood icons. Her mastery, beauty and everything about her bleeds perfected cinema. From the masterpiece of cinema, my number one favorite film in my 100 films list, 1939’s tour-de-force Gone with the Wind. Some of my personal favorites of her career besides Gone with the Wind, is her wonderful work alongside the sexy and handsome Errol Flynn. The two worked flawless together, and the chemistry on screen between the two was perfection. They worked on the amazing classic 1935’s Captain Blood, and in my viewpoint the best telling of the legend, 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. 1936’s The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1938’s Four’s a Crowd, 1939’s Dodge City, 1939’s The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, 1940’s Santa Fe Trail, 1941’s They Died with Their Boots On, are all fine examples of cinema perfection. Two of the greatest performers of all time. Her many classic roles are films that are classic masterpiece worthy cinema that leaves a historical stamp on motion picture history. She shined in 1949’s The Heiress and 1948’s The Snake Pit, and so many others. She began acting in 1935 and remained in the world of cinema both great and small until 1988. She was a two time Oscar winner for the performances in The Heiress, and To Each his Own. She greatly deserved both of them.
She also was nominated two other times for an Oscar for The Snake Pit and Gone with the Wind. She also won two Golden Globes and countless other awards, from Emmy’s, Critics’ awards, and other Foreign Awards. She also was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which I have visited twice in my life. If you are ever out in Cali. Go and honor this legend, it’s located at 6762 Hollywood Blvd.
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte was not the only time Bette Davis and Olivia worked together. They had acted together alongside the handsome Leslie Howard in the over the top comedy 1937’s It’s Love I’m After.
Also starring a vast array of important actors and actresses throughout the wonderful world of cinema history. The one and only Joseph Cotton who is a personal favorite of mine. A true golden performer that leaves the world of cinema with an emotional reality, that they don’t make actors like this anymore. From starring in such greats as 1941’s Citizen Kane, 1943’s Shadow of a Doubt, the mastery of 1944’s Gaslight. The masterpiece 1949’s The Third Man, 1958’s Touch of Evil, 1970’s Tora! Tora! Tora!. What is so great about Cotton is he is one of those actors that not only played in masterpieces of cinema, but he gave us Drive-In B-movies also. Which to me as a B-movie lover is priceless. From B-Movies like 1971’s The Abominable Dr. Phibes, 1971’s Lady Frankenstein, 1972’s Baron Blood, the sci-fi classic 1973’s Soylent Green. Other wonderful Drive-In films 1979’s Screamers, 1980’s The Hearse, 1981’s The Survivor. Also other great film’s like 1977’s Twilight Last Gleaming, and Airport ’77, and so many others. He was truly a passionate performer and seeing him as Dr. Drew Bayliss again in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was great.
The all-around master and pure acting soul Bruce Dern, which I have to mention he has been in so many memorable parts in his career. He starred in one of my personal favorite Sci-fi Films, or films period, the underrated, often forgot about, cult film, 1972’s Silent Running. He is so amazing. He has been a part of so many films. He is still acting strong today as of this writing, popping out one memorable role after another. From Nebraska, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, he is a one of kind star.
Also starring the wonderful Agnes Moorehead. Many will always remember her from the character of Endora in the long running Bewitched TV series from 1964-1972. But in honesty she was so much more than a television star. She started acting in 1941 in the masterpiece Citizen Kane as the character of Mary Kane. She would go on to star in such important films as 1947’s Dark Passage, 1951’s Show Boat, 1960’s Pollyanna, 1962’s How the West Was Won. She also starred in the B-movie Drive-In classic 1959’s The Bat. Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was not the only film she would star in that Henry Farrell wrote the script for. She also worked on Farrell’s What’s the Matter with Helen?
Also starring the great Cecil Kellaway. He was a huge character actor that performed in over 140 performances throughout his life. Started performing in 1918 and worked all the way up till 1972, where he would die close to a year later. He left so many roles no matter how small or great the part was. Always a perfect performance. Which might I add he was nominated for an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for 1948’s The Luck of the Irish, and also was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the classic 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. He was a true performer of excellence that shined. I love writing about him because he had such a style of performance that made you remember him.
Amazingly this pure adrenaline inducing film of creepy reality was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and to me, rightly deserved them all. Twilight Time has done it again is bringing out one of the great films that tend to be lost or never given the glory they deserve and thankfully Twilight Time is a company that sees the importance of many forgotten films.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Again another flawless Blu-ray in audio and video. An amazing experience. I have seen this film many times in all forms from VHS, DVD, Television, but this one is what it’s all about. A priceless example of how to treat a film and express it on a top quality Blu-ray.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA / English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1964 / B&W
My Rating: 3 out of 5
Isolated Score Track: De Vol was not only a composer, but also an actor. De Vol was a powerful creator of music scores. He was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, responsible for the great scores of Pillow Talk, this one Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. All one has to do is look at his vast career in music scores. From What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen, Hustle, and many others. He was a gifted soul and an amazing musician that left the movie world with dynamic pieces of music. Twilight Time honored this brilliant composer.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros. Audio Commentary with Film Historian Glenn Erickson. You get two awesome commentaries. Both are excellent in learning about the film. All three film historians know their stuff and take you on a journey through the history and information of the movie, which is always a huge plus for any lover of films, and cinema history.
Hush…Hush, Sweet Joan: The Making of Charlotte: This has a running time of close to 22 minutes. This has as you would guess about how the movie came together. Also mentioning the relationship with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.
Bruce Dern Remembers: This has a running time of close to 13 minutes. This is a wonderful interview with the actor talking about his role and his memory of working on the film.
Wizard Work: This has a running time of close to 5 minutes. It’s a program feature that plays out like a promotional feature on director, Robert Aldrich.
TV Spots Running time of 1 minute 38 seconds.
Original Theatrical Trailer: Running time close to 3 minutes.
Also the wonderful booklet insert. Always a treat to read. Written always by Julia Kirgo. A great analysis of the film. Kirgo always gives the cinema lover an awesome read.
Another perfection in Blu-ray Product by Twilight Time. A high quality product that showcases itself with a wonderful High Definition transfer. And audio and video clarity that shines. Twilight Time always amazes me with the care they put into their products. Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a dynamic, intense, terrifying classic, that still shines to this day. I highly recommend this movie. It’s a priceless example of flawless acting, wonderful direction and perfected suspense in the old style of tension and fear. An all-around perfect experience. This is more or less my 50th time seeing this movie, and it stays perfect no matter how many times you have seen it. Now you can experience it with a perfect clarity in picture quality and audio perfection. Highly, highly recommended.
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