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Strait-Jacket (1964)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,844 users  
Reviews: 75 user | 50 critic

After a 20 year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

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Title: Strait-Jacket (1964)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lucy Harbin
...
Carol Harbin
...
Bill Cutler
Howard St. John ...
Raymond Fields
John Anthony Hayes ...
Michael Fields
Rochelle Hudson ...
Emily Cutler
...
Leo Krause
Edith Atwater ...
Mrs. Alison Fields
Mitchell Cox ...
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Storyline

Lucy Harbin has been in an asylum for 20 years after axing her husband and his mistress during a crime of passion, witnessed by her young daughter, Carol. While trying to renew ties with Carol, who is now a young woman about to be married, heads begin to roll again. Is Lucy repeating her past? Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HER HUSBAND...HER ROOM... ......AND ANOTHER WOMAN See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 January 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Zwangsjacke  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The children's rhyme chanted in the movie, "Lucy Harbin took an ax, gave her husband 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave his girlfriend 41," is a slight alteration of the rhyme originally popularized about Lizzie Andrew Borden: "Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father 41." See more »

Goofs

Early in film, front page of a newspaper announcing Lucy Harbin's sentence to an insane asylum features a photo of her wearing a pair of earrings that she didn't purchase until her release, twenty years later. See more »

Quotes

Lucy Harbin: [to Michael] You sit down here with Carrol because I wouldn't want her to think I was taking her father away from her.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia Pictures logo at the end of the film features the classic woman with torch, only her head has been chopped off and it's sitting at her feet. See more »

Connections

Featured in Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

All of Me
(Gerald Marks/Seymour Simons) based on "There Goes That Song Again"
(Written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn). Both songs share the same melody.
Song being played on the record player.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
William Castle Presents Joan Crawford In EMOTE-O-RAMA
14 May 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Like all William Castle films, the story of STRAIT-JACKET is slight, full of holes, and often silly to the point of absurdity. Long ago Joan Crawford came home to find her husband in bed with a floozie and snatched up an ax. Adjudged insane, she is locked up in an asylum for twenty years, but now she's home--and pretty soon some really weird things begin to happen around the old family farm. Could it be, oh, I don't know... JOAN? Throughout his career, producer-director William Castle liked to build his movies around gimmicks: TINGLER had "Percepto," 13 GHOSTS had "Illusion-O," and HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL had "Emergo." But STRAIT-JACKET had something better: Joan Crawford herself, who plays in a style that can only be described as "Emote-O-Rama." Say what you like about Crawford, she never gave any performance less than one hundred percent, and in STRAIT-JACKET she gives one hundred and fifty. In the opening scenes, 60-something Joan has the unmitigated gall to play Lucy in her 20s! Later, as Lucy in her 40s, Joan plays the role like a nice little old lady who occasionally drops acid: when she's not busy with her nervous breakdown, she sucks down bourbon, attempts to seduce her daughter's boyfriend (even to the point of putting her fingers in his mouth), knits like a fiend, lights a cigarette by striking a match on a record album, raises hell at a dinner party... and all of it about as subtle as a bulldozer.

But they didn't call her a star for nothing: not only does Crawford manage to carry it off with complete conviction, she actually manages to endow the character with considerable pathos along the way. And I have absolutely no doubt that THIS was the film Faye Dunaway studied the most when preparing to play Crawford in the infamous MOMMIE DEAREST; watch both back-to-back and you'll know exactly what I mean.

The rest of the cast is pretty interesting as well, featuring Diane Baker as daughter Carol, Leif Erickson as Crawford's brother, George Kennedy as an unsavory farmhand, and a very young Lee Majors as the ill-fated husband--not to mention Mitchell Cox, a Pepsi V.P. Joan was favoring at the time. There are cheap special effects (amazing, how she can neatly lop off a head or two with a single blow), Pepsi-Cola product placements, and even some dialogue that would do Ed Woods proud. It's all campy and bizarre and hilariously weird and ramped up to the nth degree by Crawford's full-force performance.

With a somewhat better script and production values, STRAIT-JACKET could easily have matched Bette Davis' more sophisticated HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE; as it stands, however, it is a cult movie in all caps. The DVD release is very nicely done, with the film itself in excellent condition. A collection of Crawford's costume tests gives a surprising insight to actress' personality, and a particularly nice little making-of documentary includes comments from Diane Baker. (Note: don't watch the documentary, called "Battle-Ax," until after you've seen the film: it's a spoiler.) Strongly recommended to Castle, Cult, and Crawford fans! Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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