I have a thing for classic black-and-white movies, and no matter the genre, I love them. Throw in Vincent Price or Bette Davis, and you know I’m gonna watch. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1954) is a thriller starring Ms. Bette Davis, whose delightful, shrill voice always satisfies me.
Something strange that I haven’t been able to find out was who played young Charlotte Hollis, it’s not Bette Davis, but they dubbed in her voice. Oh well, I guess it’s going to be an unsolved mystery. Agnes Moorehead plays Velma, Charlotte’s housekeeper. I’m always impressed with her performances, and this one is so different from anything I’ve ever seen her do.
Would Joan Crawford have been a better Miriam Deering? I think so. Olivia de Havilland isn’t a favorite of mine from the era, and I just don’t think she had enough edge and was too cute at times that it was annoying. Then again that was how they wanted the character portrayed, though I think Joan could’ve done much better. If they hadn’t played all those fine jokes on her, maybe she would’ve stayed.
Miriam Deering, Charlotte’s cousin, is soft and demure, while Charlotte is a hard, frantic lunatic. Charlotte is convinced people are conspiring against her to steal her home and money. As the movie progresses, it’s unclear on who is doing the things, and I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it. Even figuring out who killed John in the prologue isn’t as easy to figure out as you’d think.
The props used are pretty realistic for 1964 and how they are used are quite compelling to drive Charlotte further down the rabbit hole. The movie gave more than two extraordinary quotes, but these are my favorites: My dress. Somebody slashed my dress. Miriam Deering; What do you think I asked you here for? Company? Charlotte Hollis.
Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte is an absolute must-see film, and if you’ve already seen it, give it a revisit. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.