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What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969)

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An aging widow hires elderly housekeepers, cons them out of their money and then murders them. When a woman poses as the widow's housekeeper to find out what happened to her missing friend, things soon spiral out of control.

Directors:

Lee H. Katzin, Bernard Girard (uncredited)

Writers:

Theodore Apstein (screenplay), Ursula Curtiss (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Page ... Mrs. Marrable
Ruth Gordon ... Mrs. Dimmock
Rosemary Forsyth ... Harriet Vaughn
Robert Fuller ... Mike Darrah
Mildred Dunnock ... Miss Tinsley
Joan Huntington Joan Huntington ... Julia Lawson
Peter Brandon Peter Brandon ... George Lawson
Michael Barbera ... Jim Vaughn
Peter Bonerz ... Mr. Bentley
Richard Angarola Richard Angarola ... Sheriff Armijo
Claire Kelly ... Elva
Valerie Allen ... Dottie
Martin Garralaga ... Juan
Jack Bannon ... Olin
Seth Riggs Seth Riggs ... Warren
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Storyline

An aging widow hires elderly housekeepers, cons them out of their money and then murders them. When a woman poses as the widow's housekeeper to find out what happened to her missing friend, things soon spiral out of control.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Whatever happened to Aunt Alice was more terrifying than what happened to Baby Jane. See more »


Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 August 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Matar para vivir See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The third installment in Robert Aldrich's loose trilogy of "grand guignol" films (horror-thrillers featuring older women going crazy), following What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Aldrich served as producer for this film. See more »

Goofs

In a scene where Mrs. Dimmock is talking with Claire about a stockbroker, Claire is having a cup of tea. When she finishes her tea she asks Mrs. Dimmock for another cup. Handing her just the cup, in the next scene she is seen to be holding both a cup and saucer. When Claire hears the dog Chloe bark, she jumps and almost drops the cup and tea spills out of the cup, meaning the cup was not empty when the tea was supposedly finished. See more »

Quotes

Claire Marrable: [Talking about her neighbor] She's like crabgrass - never really quelled - only cropping up secretly and victoriously in another spot.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Reflections of Evil (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"How does your garden grow?" might have been a better title...
2 October 2006 | by Neil DoyleSee all my reviews

Lots of mordant humor and a clever plot twist at the end are sufficient reason for watching WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE?, but when a cast includes GERALDINE PAGE, RUTH GORDON and MILDRED DUNNOCK and promises to be a suspenseful film along the lines of BABY JANE and HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, you owe it to yourself to watch it.

It works not so much because the story (an eerie one, to be sure) is so original, but because the cat-and-mouse aspect of the story which has Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon as adversaries in a household fraught with suspicion (of murder), is what hooks the most interest in this vastly entertaining little shocker.

However, it's a quiet one, building its suspense slowly as we come to realize just how manipulative and cunning Page's character is. She's a woman, believing her husband has left her penniless, who moves to Arizona where she will be near her nephew. But she's intent on hiring lonely housekeepers and murdering them to steal their savings. (Not unlike some real-life events depicted in a gruesome TV documentary recently). After disposing of her victims she buries them in her garden and plants another tree to mark the spot. It seems they flourish nicely, hence my suggestion above for a better title.

Gordon pretends to apply for a job after the last housekeeper has gone missing and is actually doing some detective work on her own. It's her scenes with Page that make the whole film so satisfying.

It's not a great horror film but it does have its moments, thanks mostly to GERALDINE PAGE who does a marvelous job at showing us all the tics and nuances of a very eccentric woman who means to get her way, no matter what she has to do. It's a ruthless, cunning role and Page makes the most of it.


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