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What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

GP  |   |  Crime, Musical, Mystery  |  13 April 1972 (Mexico)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,045 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 31 critic

Two middle-aged women move to Hollywood, California after their sons are convicted of a notorious murder and open a dance school for children eager to tap their way to stardom.

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Title: What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Adelle Bruckner aka Adelle Stuart
...
Helen Hill aka Helen Martin
...
Linc Palmer
Micheál MacLiammóir ...
Hamilton Starr (as Micheal Mac Liammóir)
...
Sister Alma
Helene Winston ...
Mrs. Greenbaum
Peggy Rea ...
Mrs. Schultz
Logan Ramsey ...
Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark ...
Mrs. Plumb
...
Mrs. Barker
Molly Dodd ...
Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones ...
Winona Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
Robbi Morgan ...
Rosalie Greenbaum
...
The Tramp
Swen Swenson ...
The Gigolo
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Storyline

Set in the 30s, Helen and Adelle are two women whose sons commit a gruesome murder. After their conviction, they move to Hollywood change their names and open a dance school for girls. Adelle is looking for a good life and when one of the parents of her students who is wealthy takes a liking to her she thinks she's got it made. Helen thinks that someone who blames them for what their sons did is stalking them. But Adelle thinks it's all in her mind. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Helen just buried another friend! See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

13 April 1972 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Best of Friends  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In September 1972, Helene Winston and Samee Lee Jones reunited on a segment of Love, American Style (1969) titled "Love and the Amateur Night." Essentially reprising their roles as an overbearing stage mother and a precocious Shirley Temple wannabe (named Debbie after "Helen" star Debbie Reynolds), Winston and Jones interrupt the honeymoon of a TV personality and hold an impromptu audition, with Jones again performing "Animal Crackers in My Soup" as Winston accompanies her on piano. See more »

Goofs

When Helen is talking to the detective, the blood that was all over her hands seconds before has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Helen Hill: Men can be quite a bit lower than the angels.
See more »

Connections

References She Done Him Wrong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Animal Crackers in My Soup
Written by Irving Caesar, Ted Koehler & Ray Henderson
Performed by Samee Lee Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What's the matter with the script?
5 March 2005 | by (Haddonfield, IL) – See all my reviews

For fans of weird movies and these kinds of Grand Guignol horrors, "What's the Matter With Helen" is very nearly electrifying for about 3/4 of it's running time. Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters are both excellent as a pair of women whose sons have committed a murder. The two of them make an attempt to leave their old life behind and start over again in Hollywood, opening a small dance school and getting some new hairstyles. But someone is out to get them and make their lives miserable, and Shelley is a little off her rocker to begin with. Things go from bad to worse in no time.

There's a lot to love about the movie. The sets are kitschy, as is a lot of the acting. Debbie Reynolds is especially good as her character becomes more and more neurotic. There are also some bizarre song and dance numbers in there, too.

The script unravels in the final act. The resolution of the plot lacks a certain punch that should be there but isn't. It's like a balloon set to burst, and instead someone lets the air out of it just before it goes "pop". The final murder is botched a little, and even the creepy finale can't cover up the fact that the story's explanation is a little weak.

But if you enjoy the rest of the movie as much as I did, you might not even care about that. Definitely a must-see for genre buffs, this has some surprisingly shocking gruesome ideas and more than a little bit of gore.


24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What about Hamilton Starr? FranLovesBetteD
Shelley Winters on Piano ajh_pants
song in this film HB-9
Film is campy fun but the DVD transfer is awful. takemehome
Helen was related to Baby Jane and Charlotte beamsamuel1
After the fall... ntnfoxworth
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