6.4/10
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35 user 39 critic

What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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Hamilton Starr (as Micheal Mac Liammóir)
...
Helene Winston ...
Mrs. Greenbaum
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Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark ...
Mrs. Plumb
...
Mrs. Barker
...
Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones ...
Winona Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
...
...
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

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Taglines:

So you met someone and now you know how it feels. Goody, Goody! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence/bloody images | See all certifications »

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Details

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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

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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

The film is set in 1934. Yet, in the NYC dance studio, there is clearly sheet music on the piano from the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Top Hat (1935). See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in House of Harrington (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
Written by Ray Henderson & Mort Dixon
Performed by Debbie Reynolds
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User Reviews

 
Not bad...the horror cycle Farrell started gets another outing...
4 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

DEBBIE REYNOLDS and SHELLEY WINTERS try to escape their sordid past (their sons were convicted of a brutal killing), so they flee to Hollywood in the 1930s and open a talent school for kiddies who want to become the next Shirley Temple.

It's a fun idea for a black comedy, and director Curtis Harrington makes the most of a story by Henry Farrell that pretty much adapts some of the same material he used in other thrillers written exclusively to give aging divas the chance to do some melodramatic emoting. While this doesn't reach the heights (or depths) of BABY JANE or CHARLOTTE, it does provide a lot of camp fun for film addicts familiar with the '30s scene.

DENNIS WEAVER has the only interesting male role, but the film belongs to Debbie (she sings and dances, too) and Shelley (who has a madcap time going insane) and there's even a shocking ending to keep the horror fans happy.

If you enjoy this sort of thing, done previously in similar films like WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE?, this one is easy to take.


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