Posts Tagged ‘Agnes Moorehead


If You Were In My Movie

If there was ever a movie just screaming to be remade, it is Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Just get a load of the synopsis on Netflix:

After her betrothed died from multiple ax wounds 40 years ago, everyone in town thought Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) was guilty. But with no evidence to convict her, she walked. Since that time, holed up in a crumbling Southern mansion with her devoted servant (Agnes Moorehead), Charlotte’s been a recluse. But when an ambitious cousin (Olivia de Havilland) comes along to get her hands on the plantation, Charlotte has to defend herself.

It is irresistible.

And check out the trailer:

Magnificent. Thunder and lightning! A shameful affair with a married man! Bloody murder! A madwoman hiding away in a decaying mansion! Shattered glass!

Agnes Moorehead is marvelous as the loyal maid with suspicious motives. (I had only ever seen her as Endora on Bewitched, a role I see now she was clearly overqualified to play, but apparently her masterful if not subtle turn in Charlotte is nothing unusual for her.)

Olivia DeHavilland is the perfect villain, a charming and respected city slicker career woman, and eternally jealous.

And of course the inimitable Bette Davis, well into the creepy autumn of her career, is still on top of her game, capable of both the most grotesqueoverreaction and the highest subtlety of movement. Through most of the film, she (actress and character) is a sad case, in an almost humiliating role, getting slapped around and tricked into madness by the people she trusts most. But she utterly carries the climax of the film and has such a satisfying triumph, that all the cliches of mid-’60s psychological melodrama are enthusiastially forgiven.

A remake of this movie with a slightly modernized point of view could be something really dark and gorgeous. So I got to thinking: Hey — fun party game! Load up on mint juleps, pop in Bette Davis’ cultish masterpiece, and go around the room asking everyone who would play each of the characters if the movie were to be remade today.

My picks:
Charlotte Hollis, the protaginist, a recluse, mad with grief after the brutal murder of her married lover 40 years prior. Did she kill him? Did her overprotective father?
Original: Bette Davis
Remake: Susan Sarandon or Sigourney Weaver

Miriam Deering, the jealous cousin with a long memory and a deep grudge, the outsider, the villain.
Original: Olivia de Havilland
Remake: Annette Bening or Marcia Gay Harden

Drew Bayliss, Charlotte’s cousin and trusted doctor — a little too eager to pump her full of sedatives.
Orignal: Joseph Cotten
Remake: Billy Bob Thornton

Velma Cruther, the faithful servant, looking out for Miss Charlotte’s best interests ’til the tragic end.
Original: Agnes Moorehead
Remake: Shirley Maclaine

Harry, a charming, snooping British writer investigating the true story behind Charlotte’s legend.
Original: Cecil Kellaway
Remake: Ian McKellen or Michael Caine

Big Sam, Charlotte’s papa, who sets off this whole murder business in the opening scene.
Original: Victor Buono (Anyone remember him as King Tut in the 1960s Batman series?)
Remake: Tommy Lee Jones

Jewel Mayhew, the wronged widow with the shocking secret around which the entire story turns.
Original: Mary Astor
Remake: Meryl Streep

Luke Standish, the sympathetic sheriff who has been humoring the presumed murderess for far too long.
Original: Wesley Addy
Remake: Peter Coyote (who else?) or maybe, if you want more quirk, Johnny Depp

John Mayhew, Charlotte’s unlucky lover, who gets hacked to pieces early on. (We just need someone forgettable and disposable.)
Original: Bruce Dern
Remake: Keanu Reeves


the untallied hours