The working-class twin sister of a callous, wealthy woman impulsively murders her out of revenge and assumes her identity. But impersonating her dead twin is more complicated and risky than she anticipated.
Aged, wealthy Charlotte Hollis has lived as a recluse in the crumbling family plantation mansion in Hollisport, Louisiana since her father Sam Hollis' death thirty-six years ago. The only people who regularly see her are her hard-as-nails but seemingly loyal housekeeper, Velma Crowther, and her longtime friend and physician, Dr. Drew Bayliss. She has lived there most of her life except for a short stint in London thirty-seven years ago following the vicious murder of her married lover, John Mayhew, at the plantation's summer house while Sam was hosting one of his legendary grand balls in the mansion. She and John had planned to run off together that night, but instead he was bludgeoned to death, his head and right hand severed from his body. Nobody was ever convicted for his murder, but most people believe Charlotte did it after John changed his mind about running off with her. They also believe that Charlotte, whom they haven't seen in years, is a crazy old woman. Conversely, ... Written by
Because there was no time to redo the costumes for Miriam, many of her clothes come from Olivia de Havilland's personal wardrobe. See more »
In the scene when Charlotte returns to the house with Miriam after dumping Drew's body Charlotte walks up the steps in her bare feet. The sound track is for shoes clopping up the steps and to the door. See more »
Faded Southern belle Charlotte Hollis lives in depression and loneliness in her family's Louisiana plantation house, still distraught over the axe murder of her married lover 40 years earlier, a bloody killing that she was accused of doing. When the state condemns her home to put in a new highway, she defiantly refuses to leave, with a shotgun. When her long-lost Yankee cousin Miriam arrives to help, heads start to roll, literally.
Although not a sequel to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, it was conceived as a vehicle to reteam Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. And the story is similar in that the parts were written as Crazy Bette and Phony Joan (as Davis put it). Too bad Davis drove Crawford off the picture. (For details read "Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud" by Shaun Considine). It would've been great to see them do battle again, this time with Crawford having the upper hand.
Still, I enjoy "Charlotte" more than "Jane." For one thing, it has the delightfully grotesque Agnes Moorehead acting like Quasimodo as Charlotte's screwy ally/servant Velma. She steals every scene she's in (and an Oscar nomination), and I'm surprised Davis allowed it.
It's also nice to see sweet-faced Olivia DeHavilland cast against type as Miriam. She handles herself quite well, and god knows it couldn't have been easy for her. When Crawford heard that she was out and DeHavilland was in, she ranted against Davis and director Robert Aldrich in the press, but cooed, "I'm happy for Olivia, she needs a good movie role." Ouch. And after the picture was completed, Queen Bette said Olivia "was good at keeping the audience's attention while I'm off screen." With friends like her....
By the way, there is a long shot of Crawford still in the movie. Look for it when "Miriam" gets out of the taxi after arriving at the plantation house. That's actually the back of Joan's head, not Olivia's.
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