IMDb > What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)
What's the Matter with Helen?
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
6.3/10   869 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 493% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Henry Farrell (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for What's the Matter with Helen? on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 April 1972 (Mexico) See more »
Tagline:
Why are they all dying so violently?... even the little rabbits! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
"Goody, Goody" See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Debbie Reynolds ... Adelle

Shelley Winters ... Helen

Dennis Weaver ... Linc Palmer
Micheál MacLiammóir ... Hamilton Starr (as Micheal Mac Liammóir)

Agnes Moorehead ... Sister Alma
Helene Winston ... Mrs. Greenbaum
Peggy Rea ... Mrs. Schultz
Logan Ramsey ... Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark ... Mrs. Plumb

Yvette Vickers ... Mrs. Barker
Molly Dodd ... Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones ... Winona (as Sammee Lee Jones)
Robbi Morgan ... Rosalie

Timothy Carey ... The Tramp
Swen Swenson ... The Gigolo
Debbie Van Den Houten ... Sue Anne
Teresa De Rose ... Donna
Pamelyn Ferdin ... Kiddie M.C.
Allen Pinson ... The Man
James Dobson ... Cab Driver
Sadie Delfino ... The Little Lady
Tammy Lee ... Adelle's Kiddystars
Sharann Hisamoto ... Adelle's Kiddystars (as Sharon Hisamoto)
Stacey Hollow ... Adelle's Kiddystars
Marcia Garcia ... Adelle's Kiddystars
Bambi Meyers ... Adelle's Kiddystars

Rocky Bonifield ... Adelle's Kiddystars (as Roxanne Meyers)
Vicki Schreck ... Adelle's Kiddystars
Keri Shuttleton ... Adelle's Kiddystars
Shawn Steinman ... Adelle's Kiddystars (as Shawn Steinmann)
Madelon Tupper ... Adelle's Kiddystars

Sian Winship ... Adelle's Kiddystars
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Brocco ... Old Man (uncredited)
Gary Combs ... Matt Hill (uncredited)
Annette Davis ... Spinster (uncredited)
Douglas Deane ... Fanatical Man (uncredited)
Minta Durfee ... Old Lady (uncredited)
Helene Heigh ... Widow (uncredited)
Peggy Patten ... Ellie Banner (uncredited)
Harry Stanton ... Malcolm Hays (uncredited)

Peggy Walton-Walker ... Young Girl (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Curtis Harrington 
 
Writing credits
Henry Farrell (written by)

Produced by
George Edwards .... producer
Edward S. Feldman .... executive producer
James C. Pratt .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
David Raksin 
 
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
William Reynolds  (as William H. Reynolds)
 
Casting by
Caro Jones 
 
Art Direction by
Eugène Lourié  (as Eugene Lourie)
 
Set Decoration by
Jerry Wunderlich 
 
Costume Design by
Morton Haack 
 
Makeup Department
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair creations
William Tuttle .... makeup artist
Bette Iverson .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Helene Parrish .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Scotty Rackin .... hair stylist (uncredited)
William Reynolds .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Binyon Jr. .... assistant director
John Thomas Lenox .... assistant director trainee (uncredited)
Michael Messinger .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Ted P. Angel .... senior set designer (uncredited)
Glen Cooper .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Les Gobruegge .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Dudley Holmes .... prop master (uncredited)
Gerald MacDonald .... coordinator (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Charles Grenzbach .... sound re-recordist (as Bud Grenzbach)
Al Overton Jr. .... sound
Hal Belcher .... sound (uncredited)
Bob Sheridan .... engineer (uncredited)
Bob Sheridan .... sound boom (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Edouart .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Bud Gaunt .... grip (uncredited)
Earl Gilbert .... gaffer (uncredited)
Bud Howell .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Thomas Laughridge .... camera operator (uncredited)
Cecil Lupton .... best boy (uncredited)
Robert Schunke .... best boy (uncredited)
Sterling Smith .... still photographer (uncredited)
Bud Woodside .... rigging gaffer (uncredited)
Harry Young .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Darlene di Ponzio .... casting secretary (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Fanny Edwards .... costumer: women (uncredited)
Sally Lister .... costumer: women (uncredited)
Andy Matyasi .... costumer: men (uncredited)
Terri Nelson .... costume supervisor: women (uncredited)
Frank Tauss .... costume supervisor: men (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Michael F. Anderson .... apprentice film editor (uncredited)
James D. Wells .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Tony Charmoli .... stager: musical numbers
Ralph Ives .... music editor
David Raksin .... conductor
Randy Rayburn .... musician: rehearsal pianist (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Tony Charmoli .... choreographer
Paulle Clark .... production assistant
John Franco Jr. .... production assistant
Alan Greedy .... script supervisor (as Allan Greedy)
Phill Norman .... titles: Cinefx
Martin Ransohoff .... presenter
Tad Tadlock .... assistant choreographer
Bill Beaumont .... craft service (uncredited)
Cary Glieberman .... intern: American Film Institute (uncredited)
Dorothy Kelly .... production secretary (uncredited)
Jerry Roberts .... production assistant (uncredited)
Dominic Santarone .... caterer (uncredited)
Ruth Santarone .... caterer (uncredited)
Lorraine Serber .... production assistant (uncredited)
Carl Shapiro .... unit publicist (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Canada:14A (Canadian Home Video rating) | Finland:K-18 | Sweden:15 | USA:GP (Approved No. 22897) (original rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Right after Adelle reads Helen the letter that explains the man whom she just murdered was actually bringing her good news, Adelle strikes Helen with the crumpled letter, almost exactly mimicking the scene in LOLITA, in which after reading Humbert's diary, Charlotte Haze - Shelly Winters - strikes Humbert with his diary.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The film is set in 1934, but the prominently seen "Movie Life" magazine wasn't first published until 1937.See more »
Quotes:
Helen Hill:Men can be quite a bit lower than the angels.See more »
Soundtrack:
Oh, You Nasty ManSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
26 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
"Goody, Goody", 4 March 2003
Author: Leo Urbina (traumatixxx) from Santiago de Chile

The most bizarre of the cinematic sub-genres is the so called "The Great Ladies of the Grand Guignol": camp horror films which combined over-the-top melodrama with gothic thrills and always starred by seasoned and almost forgotten actress from hollywood golden age in unflattering roles of either long suffering victims or screeching evil harpies. This genre provided them with an unusual acting showcase that allowed strut their stuff on the screen once again and win new generations of fans at expense of their glamorous images from yesterday.

"What's the matter with Helen" is the last drop of this sub-genre with stunning performances of both Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as the troubled mothers of two convicted criminals who run away from their past to the sunny California in the 1930s to open a talent school to milk out the eagerly mothers who want their daughters to be the next Shirley Temple. In California, Debbie gets happiness, clients, tango, tap dancing and a new love interest (Dennis Weaver meanwhile Shelley gets wacko with horrible flashbacks, menacing anonymous calls, menacing strangers, menacing Agnes Moorehead as a radio evangelist, cute little rabbits (!) and an unfortunate encounter with an electric fan (ouch!).

The sloppy script (penned by Henry Farrell, the man who started all this genre with "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" along with master director Robert Aldrich, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis) is full of plot holes, red herrings and wasted opportunities that could had made this movie great: the underlying themes of twisted motherhood (with Debbie and Shelley's characters as "failed mothers" and the overbearing mommies of the child stars) and obsessive female bonding (Debbie and Shelley relationship and the fact that the few male characters of this movie are either sinister or sleazy even Dennis Weaver dream boat Texan) are wasted. Instead we get Debbie Reynolds musicals interludes and dancing tots, although fun to watch take too much screen time of what is supposedly to be a psychological chiller. But still this movie is highly entertaining. The two stars and Curtis Harrington stylish direction easily overcomes its flaws. The movie recreation of the 1930's is colorful and elegant (look at Debbie's clothes!) made with a very tight budget. The increasing atmosphere of madness and hysteria is genuinely creepy with a shocking finale that will haunt you for days. And you wouldn't easily forget that silly "Goody, goody" song that runs through the movie either. And seeing an increasingly mad Shelley Winters screw every one of Debbie Reynolds' chances at happiness is a hoot to watch!

8 out of 10.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (31 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Shelley Winters on Piano ajh_pants
Opinions anyone...? craigoprego
Helen was related to Baby Jane and Charlotte beamsamuel1
Debbie Reynolds = Babe JimmyCollins
Will this ever come out on blu ray? hairybro2000
Trailer Commentary for 'WTMWH' willardfillmore
See more »

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.