Bette Davis was an indomitable presence on screen. In a career which spanned over sixty years she became one of the most recognisable faces of cinema. She is undoubtedly one of the Hollywood greats and an actress who is still celebrated today. Her formidable talent was rewarded with a raft of awards including two Oscars (Dangerous and Jezebel) and nine further nominations (Of Human Bondage, Dark Victory, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Now, Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve, The Star and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?). Davis was in the twilight of her acting days when she made Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte but still dominates every scene.

Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) and her married lover John Mayhew (Bruce Dern) plan to elope. When he’s confronted by her powerful father (Victor Buono) he soon has a change of heart. After his brutal murder suspicion falls on the jealous lover but she’s shipped off to England. Fast forward almost forty years and Charlotte is still living as a wealthy spinster on the plantation tended to by a housekeeper (Agnes Moorehead). Half-crazed and isolated, she refuses to move despite the Louisiana Highway Commission planning to demolish the house. Her poor cousin (Olivia de Havilland) and a local doctor (Joseph Cotten) are called in to help.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte plays up to the classic Hollywood cliché of the older matriarch before throwing in a surprise or two. Davis delivers a performance which flits between regal and harridan. The supporting cast are also superb, keeping you wondering exactly what is going on and helping Robert Aldrich’s film to continually defy expectations. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte spans several genres with each twist and turn opening yet another door or window of opportunity.

Extras:

  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • LPCM 2.0 Audio (on Blu-ray)
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • New and exclusive feature length audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Audio commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson
  • Hush…Hush, Sweet Joan: The Making of Charlotte [22 mins]
  • Bruce Dern Remembers [13 mins]
  • Wizard Work [5 mins] – an archival behind-the-scenes look at the film, narrated by Joseph Cotten
  • Trailer & TV spots
  • PLUS: A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Lee Gambin, archival imagery and more!

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte is released by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Master of Cinema collection on 21 January.