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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Blu-ray)
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Blu-ray)
Twilight Time // Unrated // October 17, 2016 // Region Free
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted November 5, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte:
This black-and-white Southern Gothic potboiler from 1964 is a true 'woman's movie' if ever there were one. Keyed up from moment one, Hush is carried by formidable performances from Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. A little bit of murder, a wilting flower, and corruption to spare make this a fun freak-out for the whole family, as long as your kids don't mind a few brief scenes of decapitation and dismemberment.

At least that's how I was introduced to the crazy world of films like this, and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, on a hot summer's day in the early '70s, when sitting inside watching Davis go batshit insane seemed preferable to braving the out-of-doors. Of course what seemed lurid and creepy then is now mild by comparison to modern horrors, but Hush ... Hush wasn't much meant to be anything more than a little well-crafted, creepy, titillating fun. In it, young Charlotte (Davis) looks to have dispatched her no-good suitor (an early cinematic appearance by Bruce Dern) with a meat cleaver, during a cotillion, ultimately sealing her fate, and herself, in a Louisiana mansion. When it's time to evict, 30-years later, so that new freeway can go through, is when things start hitting the fan.

And what fun it is, with Davis acting the kooky coquette in little girl nightgowns and braids. Her oh-so-cool hot cousin Miriam (hot De Havilland) comes to help get her moved on. But no one is having as much fun as Agnes Moorehead playing Charlotte's maid Velma. Moorehead's slatternly, suspicious character doesn't so much chew up the scenery as simply inject it wholesale straight into her veins, turning an amiable, sick soap opera into a joyful, guilty romp.

Smoothly paced and assuredly directed by Robert Aldrich, and sumptuously shot by Joseph Biroc, Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte trundles along happily for two-hours, never letting up on scandalous material, handled blithely. A few shocks, luscious scenery, Davis conducting a Master Class on how to age disgracefully, and Agnes Moorehead absolutely tearing it up, make this kooky Southern Gothic well worth a look for fans of old-school genre cinema. Highly Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
Twilight Time does an astounding job presenting Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte in an MPEG-4, AVC encoded 1080p High Definition transfer, in a 1.85:1 ratio. The black-and-white photography looks excellent, with solid detail levels throughout the depth-of-field, even in dark corners. Soft, subtle film grain never intrudes, but rather lends the film a lush appearance, while black levels are inky, deep, and free of crush. One look at Davis's aging face lets you know there's no smoothing going on, either. The movie has likely never looked better.

Sound:
English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio and 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio are your sonic selections, both of which sound great, though the 1.0 mix has slightly more 'oomph'. At any rate, dialog is clean, crisp and clear, without any hiss or degradation to be found. The haunting soundtrack is mixed right up front; it doesn't stomp on the dialog, but it is more forceful, for sure. The audio presentation is low on frills but high on fidelity, if you'll excuse the pun.

Extras:
Twilight Time also comes through with the extras for this Limited Edition release. (Only 3000 copies made, so snatch it up quickly!) Starting with the stylish, clear BD case, and Liner Notes, which include a three-page essay by Julie Kirgo, this package gets an Isolated Score Soundtrack, TV Spots and Original Theatrical Trailers. Hush ... Hush, Sweet Joan: The Making of Charlotte, is a 20-minute featurette tackling Joan Crawford's original involvement in the movie, hosted by director Aldrich's daughter Adell. Bruce Dern Remembers grants the thesp 12 minutes to reminisce, while Wizard Work is a four-minute BTS promo-piece narrated by Joseph Cotten. Lastly, but not leastly, you get two tasty Commentary Tracks respectively, from Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros, (entertaining and breezy) and DVD Talk's own resident Film Historian Glenn Erickson, who goes deep into the details.

Final Thoughts:
Smoothly paced and assuredly directed by Robert Aldrich, and sumptuously shot by Joseph Biroc, Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte trundles along happily for two-hours, never letting up on scandalous material, handled blithely. A few shocks, luscious scenery, Davis conducting a Master Class on how to age disgracefully, and Agnes Moorehead absolutely tearing it up, make this kooky Southern Gothic well worth a look for fans of old-school genre cinema. Boasting a wealth of great extras, and a fantastic transfer, Twilight Time's limited to 3000 copies edition is Highly Recommended.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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