Now let me see... what is it you call your job? Oh, yes. Public relations. Sounds like something pretty dirty to me.
|A rare publicity shot of|
Crawford and Davis
Joseph Cotten was cast as Dr. Drew Bayliss—a long-time friend of the family. The cast was further completed with Cecil Kellaway as an insurance investigator, Anges Moorehead as Charlotte’s cranky but loyal maid, a young Bruce Dern as Charlotte’s girl-hood lover, Victor Buono as Charlotte’s father, and Mary Astor as Charlotte’s former rival. Davis had specifically asked for Astor to play the role of Jewel Mayhew. Astor was one of the few female stars that Bette Davis actually liked. They had been friends and had worked well together on The Great Lie. When Bette Davis liked you, she really liked you. When she didn’t, she really didn’t.
Shooting began with both Davis and Crawford on location at Houmas House in Darrow Louisiana which would serve as the exteriors for Charlotte’s family home. However, soon, Miss Crawford developed one of her famous “Joan Crawford Colds” and was consistently absent—only appearing for four days of filming. Rumor had it that she couldn’t face working with Bette Davis again. While relations between them had been frosty on “Baby Jane,” they did manage to maintain a somewhat professional attitude. This time, however, Crawford wasn’t cooperating and she withdrew from the picture.
|Olivia de Havilland as "Miriam"|
|Davis and Moorhead|
|Mary Astor in her final film role.|
The result of their collaboration was an excellent Southern Gothic thriller with plenty of chilling moments despite the obviously fake severed body parts. The three leads deliver excellent performances which are relatively restrained given the material. And, it’s interesting to see Olivia de Havilland in a “bad girl” part. With Halloween around the corner, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte should certainly be on your play-list.