6.4/10
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34 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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Helen Hill aka Helen Martin
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Linc Palmer
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Hamilton Starr (as Micheal Mac Liammóir)
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Sister Alma
Helene Winston ...
Mrs. Greenbaum
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Mrs. Schultz
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Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark ...
Mrs. Plumb
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Mrs. Barker
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Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones ...
Winona Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
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Rosalie Greenbaum
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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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Her friends die so suddenly and violently! 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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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Debbie Reynolds, Shelley Winters' psychiatrist advised her not to portray a woman having a nervous breakdown because, at the time, she was having a real-life nervous breakdown. "She's the kind of actress who becomes the part she's playing..." said Reynolds, "so all through the film she drove all of us insane!" 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

Sister Alma: I offered you my blessing, but you refused it. Now move along.
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Connections

Referenced in Lady Liberty (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Goody, Goody
Composed by Matty Malneck
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Debbie Reynolds
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User Reviews

 
Fine, eerie black comedy with a superb Reynolds turn.
14 February 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A vastly underrated black comedy, the finest in a series of grand guignol movies to follow 'Baby Jane'. Reynolds and Winters are mothers of young convicted murderers (a nod to 'Compulsion') who run away to hide in Hollywood. They run a school for would-be movie tots, a bunch of hilariously untalented kids attended by awful stage moms. Debbie, in her blonde wig ('I'm a Harlow, you're more a Marion Davies' she tells Winters) leads the tots at their concert and wins a rich dad, Weaver. She also does a deliciously funny tango and, over all, gives an outstanding performance, unlike anything she'd done before. The atmosphere is a fine mix of comic and eerie. It looks wonderful with great period detail (30's). Lots of lovely swipes at Hollywood and the terrifying movie tot. Micheal MacLiammoir has a ball as the drama coach: 'Hamilton Starr', he purrs, 'two r's but prophetic nonetheless'. See it and love it.


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