6.4/10
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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.

Director:

Curtis Harrington

Writer:

Henry Farrell
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Helene Winston ... Mrs. Greenbaum
Peggy Rea ... Mrs. Schultz
Logan Ramsey ... Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark Paulle Clark ... Mrs. Plumb
Yvette Vickers ... Mrs. Barker
Molly Dodd ... Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones Samee Lee Jones ... Winona Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
Robbi Morgan ... Rosalie Greenbaum
Timothy Carey ... The Tramp
Swen Swenson 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Helen just buried another friend! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1972 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Best of Friends See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

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

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

Connections

References She Done Him Wrong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Music by Charles Crozat Converse and lyrics by Joseph M. Scriven
Performed by Agnes Moorehead
See more »

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User Reviews

Two women move to 1930's Hollywood in order to build new lives.
15 September 2000 | by verna55See all my reviews

Slick, colorful Gothic horror tale features the veteran leading ladies in top form. Debbie Reynolds perfects that 1930's platinum blonde/Jean Harlow image, and Shelley Winters gives what is possibly her all-time best performance as the maniacal Helen. The film was directed by cult favorite Curtis Harrington, and was written by Henry Farrell author of the novel on which the classic film WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? was based. Farrell has concocted an equally effective mixture of horror and hollywood here. Harrington's next venture into the macabre was the similarly Gothic and atmospheric WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO?, also featuring the inimitable Shelley Winters in the titular role.


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