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What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969)

M  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror  |  20 August 1969 (USA)
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As Aunt Alice, Ruth Gordon applies for the job of housekeeper in the Tucson, Arizona home of widow Claire Marrable in order to find out what happened to a missing widowed friend, Edna ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Clare Marrable
Mrs. Dimmock aka Aunt Alice
Harriet Vaughn
Mike Darrah
Miss Edna Tinsley
Joan Huntington ...
Julia Lawson
Peter Brandon ...
George Lawson
Michael Barbera ...
Jim Vaughn
Mr. Bentley
Richard Angarola ...
Sheriff Armijo
Claire Kelly ...
Valerie Allen ...
Martin Garralaga ...
Jack Bannon ...
Seth Riggs ...


As Aunt Alice, Ruth Gordon applies for the job of housekeeper in the Tucson, Arizona home of widow Claire Marrable in order to find out what happened to a missing widowed friend, Edna Tilsney. The crazed Page, left only a stamp album by her husband, takes money from her housekeepers, kills them, and buries the bodies in her garden. Alice is a widow too. So is neighbor Harriet Vaughn. Lots of widows here. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What makes her garden grow... wouldn't you like to know! See more »


M | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 August 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

5 Erfenissen voor een weduwe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lee H. Katzin replaced Bernard Girard as director after four weeks of filming See more »


During murder sequence that precedes opening credits, Claire hits her housekeeper over the head with a rock while they are planting a tree and then shoves the woman into the hole. But the middle-aged actress playing the housekeeper delivers a few lines in close-up just prior to her death and is clearly not the much younger stunt double who falls into the hole moments later. See more »


Claire Marrable: [Talking about her neighbor] She's like crabgrass - never really quelled - only cropping up secretly and victoriously in another spot.
See more »


Referenced in Die, Mommie, Die! (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Geraldine Page is the poster woman for psycho-biddies everywhere with her chilling performance in `Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?'
28 August 2000 | by See all my reviews

What's a poor widow to do when her husband dies and leaves her penniless? Move to the Arizona desert, start a pine tree garden, and fertilize it with human mulch? Well.wouldn't you?? Geraldine Page has quite the green thumb as Mrs. Claire Marrable--the wicked widow with the pine tree fetish--in the chilling thriller "Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?"

Grand dame Bette Davis once quipped: "Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy night!" Bette, you are so right! If you remember Geraldine Page as the sweet li'l ol' lady from `Trip to Bountiful'.FUGETABOWTIT! Page does a 180 as she transmogrifies from helpless Southern widow to cool, calculating murderess with money and murder on the brain--and a means to achieve both. Page hits the bulls-eye with each scene. All of her nervous ticks are appropriately timed. She is at her best when putting on airs and verbally sparring with unarmed opponents. What a stellar performance! Geraldine, girlfriend, you is flawless!!

Many deliciously diabolical scenes abound, like when pesky canine Chloe threatens to dig up the dirt on her murderous past-time, Page as Marrable barks back: "I have not taken loving and diligent care of my garden to have it wrecked by this vagrant bitch!" Page's character is equally disenchanted with her new next door neighbor, Ms. Vaughn, whom she refers to as "crabgrass, never really quelled, only cropping up secretly and victoriously in another spot". The only one Page can stomach is Ruth Gordon as the inquisitive Aunt Alice--an undercover housekeeper on a mission to get to the root (haha) of all evil and discover the whereabouts of a friend last seen in Page's employ. But when she's tardy serving up cocktails, an impatient Geraldine rips her a new one: `Punctuality is essential to a gracious way of life, which I do not intend to give up on account of you.' Ruth returns fire: `If you wanna live like some Dutchess of Maharati, you better learn how to behave like one!' Geraldine shakes furiously from head to toe after a fiesty Ruth flat-out inquires: "How MANY women have you killed?" Try to suppress a snicker as you watch a pint-sized Ruthie scamper away from Page, who smugly stalks her throughout her secluded desert home to the beat of bongos and a psychotic musical score. Page's wicked laughter is sprinkled spuriously throughout the film to the backdrop of swaying pine trees-how ingenious! Not even Bette Davis cackled with such nefarious mirth as Baby Jane Hudson!

Praise be the master of psycho-shrews on film, Robert Aldrich--who directed the cult smash "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"--for producing this special gem, and a hearty kudos to Lee Katzin for his superlative directing skills. This movie will make you bow down and pray to the Church of Geraldine Page. So what are you waiting for? Rent it tonight.and START PRAYING!!

25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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