A Grand Guignol Southern Gothic cauldron... the next dish proferred by Aldrich and Davis after the success of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? CHARLOTTE was originally planned as Crawford's revenge--Davis is the victim here, a loopy loon living in a moldy mansion in Louisiana, with hair
like Spanish moss, skin like a lichen and a hobby of shooting at land developers.
She's haunted by an Electra complex and memories of a murdered beau she may have chopped up. Her nocturnal ramblings are interrupted, then encouraged, by the arrival of her prissbitch cousin from Virginia, de Havilland, finally getting a chance to give Davis hell and act out the dark side of
Melanie Wilkes. Cotten is the corrupt ole boy family doctor, Agnes Moorehead the Broomhilda housekeeper and the great Mary Astor (as a favor to Davis) in a swansong cameo.
Davis has some authentic, poignant moments, before all hell breaks loose. She seems to be making up for her lost chances on Tennessee Williams territory (she had wanted MENAGERIE and STREETCAR), and there's one kabuki lioness flip-out on a stairway that's a must-see. She's matched by Moorehead's
perfect, obscure portrayal. The best line goes to de Havilland: "You just can't keep the hogs away from the trough."
Next to this, JANE looks like Masterpiece Theatre--it's the mutilation aspect that saddles the proceedings (both films were from Henry Farrell novels). Victor Buono (who received an Academy Award nomination for BABY JANE) is back for more as young Charlotte's father, and Dern is the lover who gets
the axe. The tacky title song was a camp hit for Patti Page.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A Grand Guignol Southern Gothic cauldron... the next dish proferred by Aldrich and Davis after the success of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? CHARLOTTE was originally planned as Crawford's revenge--Davis is the victim here, a loopy loon living in a moldy m… (more)