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

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Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   1,163 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 7% 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 »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Shelley Winters gone wild See more (34 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Debbie Reynolds ... Adelle Bruckner aka Adelle Stuart

Shelley Winters ... Helen Hill aka Helen Martin

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 Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
Robbi Morgan ... Rosalie Greenbaum

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 ... Billy--Cab Driver
Sadie Delfino ... The Little Lady
Tammy Lee ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars
Sharann Hisamoto ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars (as Sharon Hisamoto)
Stacey Hollow ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars
Marcia Garcia ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars
Bambi Meyers ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars

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

Sian Winship ... One of Adelle's Kiddystars
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Eleanor Roosevelt ... Herself (archive footage)

Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Berle ... Church Member (uncredited)
Audrey Betz ... Church Member (uncredited)
Paul Bradley ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Peter Brocco ... Old Man (uncredited)

Gary Combs ... Matt Hill (uncredited)
Annette Davis ... Spinster (uncredited)
Douglas Deane ... Fanatical Man (uncredited)
Minta Durfee ... Old Lady (uncredited)

James Gonzalez ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Chester Hayes ... Church Member (uncredited)
Helene Heigh ... Widow (uncredited)
Richard LaMarr ... Church Member (uncredited)

William H. O'Brien ... Church Member (uncredited)
Peggy Patten ... Ellie Banner (uncredited)
Murray Pollack ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Leoda Richards ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Harry Stanton ... Malcolm Hays (uncredited)
George Tracy ... Church Member (uncredited)

Peggy Walton-Walker ... Young Girl (uncredited)

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
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

Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated R for some violence/bloody images (2016)
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Canada:14A (Canadian Home Video rating) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 | Peru:Apt (DVD rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:X | USA:GP (Approved No. 22897) (original release) | USA:R (certificate #22897) (2016)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The first draft of the script was completed in February 1968.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: In the final scene showing a dead Adelle strung up on the ladder, the close-up shot shows her throat moving.See more »
Quotes:
Helen Hill:Men can be quite a bit lower than the angels.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Sitting Pretty (1933)See more »
Soundtrack:
What a Friend We Have in JesusSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Shelley Winters gone wild, 16 January 2005
Author: ThrownMuse from The land of the Bunyips

The sons of two very different women are convicted of murder. Fearing for their safety in their small town in 1930s America, star-obsessed Adelle (Debbie Reynolds) decides to get a fresh new start in Hollywood, and convinces the quiet and religious Helen (Shelley Winters) to join her. They exploit the Shirley Temple craze by running a successful instructional school that teaches child actresses singing and dancing. Things seem to be going well for both until Helen starts to have crazed flashbacks about her "former life." But things have never looked better for Adelle, so What the hell is the matter with Helen?!

This movie is a hoot! Debbie Reynolds looks like a classic Hollywood starlet (fantastic costumes and makeup), and it is hilarious and sickening fun watching Shelley Winters in a downward spiral. Agnes Moorehead has an amusing cameo as a Radio evangelist with whom Helen becomes obsessed. The major drawback of the movie is the musical sequences. There are several, and while they do serve as a contrast to the more explicitly twisted elements in the film, showing entire song and dance routines is unnecessary (the scene where Reynolds tap-dances comes to mind here). It is also unfortunate that the film does not take advantage of the themes it presents. A deeper exploration of Helen's psychosis might have proved fascinating, scary, and even amusing.

Overall, What's the Matter with Helen? is an entertaining psychological horror/thriller that does its job but gets weighed down by filler drama and musical sequences. Recommended to fans of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" and anyone who entertained by Shelley Winters going crazy. My Rating: 6/10.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (34 total) »

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