The working class twin sister of a callous wealthy woman impulsively murders her out of revenge and assumes the identity of the dead woman. But impersonating her dead twin is more complicated and risky than she anticipated.
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé, a cellist, was killed on the battlefield. When he returns alive, they marry, but are menaced and threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer she started dating on the rebound.
Charlotte Hollis, an aging recluse deluded into a state of dementia by horrible memories and hallucinations, lives in a secluded house where, thirty-seven years before, John Mayhew her married lover, was beheaded and mutilated by an unknown assailant. Written by
At 28 minutes and 30 seconds the taxi carrying Miriam pulls up in front of the mansion and for two seconds Joan Crawford can be seen peering out from the backseat window wearing dark sunglasses and dark clothes. When Olivia de Havilland as Miriam is seen in the taxi before she arrives she is wearing a white hat and her clothing is light colored. See more »
During the scene where Miriam meets Jewel in public, a smiling young girl extra with a bouffant hairdo and a ribbon in her hair can be seen walking behind them. Seconds later the same girl walks behind them again. 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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