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 ... 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:

Why are they all dying so violently?... even the little rabbits! 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 Box Step 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

Joanne Woodward, Shirley MacLaine and Estelle Parsons were each offered roles in the film but passed. Rita Hayworth was approached to play Adelle, but she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, and was therefore unfit to take the part. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1934 but the songs "Animal Crackers In My Soup" and "Goody-Goody" weren't released until 1935. See more »

Quotes

Helen Hill: Men can be quite a bit lower than the angels.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Connie and Carla (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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