What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
|What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?|
Original promotional poster
|Directed by||Lee H. Katzin|
|Produced by||Robert Aldrich|
|Written by||Theodore Apstein
Ursula Curtiss (novel)
|Music by||Gerald Fried|
|Cinematography||Joseph F. Biroc|
|Edited by||Frank J. Urioste|
Palomar Pictures Corporation
The Associates & Aldrich Company
|Distributed by||Cinerama Releasing Corporation (1969, original)
MGM (2004, DVD)
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? is a 1969 American thriller film directed by Lee H. Katzin with Bernard Girard (uncredited), and starring Geraldine Page, Ruth Gordon, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Fuller and Mildred Dunnock. The screenplay by Theodore Apstein, based on the novel The Forbidden Garden by Ursula Curtiss focuses on an aging Arizona widow who hires elderly female housekeepers and cons them out of their money before murdering them.
The music score was by Gerald Fried and the cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc. The film was funded by American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Palomar Pictures Corporation, and The Associates & Aldrich Company, and distributed by Cinerama Releasing Corporation.
At her husband's funeral, Claire Marrable (Page) frantically removes flowers from her husband's coffin, while eerie music plays in the background. A few days later, Claire learns from the will that her husband made bad investments and left nothing to her except a briefcase, a butterfly collection and a stamp collection; his house, and the furnishings in it, do not belong to Claire. With nothing left, Claire moves into the home of her distant nephew in Tucson, Arizona.
In Tucson, Claire finds a penchant for successfully growing pine trees in the hot desert. The trees mark the graves of a string of live-in housekeepers whom Claire has murdered; we see her kill the fifth housekeeper, Miss Tinsley, after she asked about stocks she has purchased through Claire. Alice Dimmock (Gordon) arrives at the estate and investigates the Miss Tinsley's appearance under the guise of being Claire's newest housekeeper. After much intrigue and suspense, and three more murders, Claire is exposed and the enormous value of the stamp collection left to her is inadvertently revealed.
- Geraldine Page as Claire Marrable
- Ruth Gordon as Alice Dimmock
- Rosemary Forsyth as Harriet Vaughn
- Robert Fuller as Mike Darrah
- Mildred Dunnock as Edna Tinsley
- Joan Huntington as Julia Lawson
- Peter Brandon as George Lawson
- Michael Barbera as Jim Vaughn
- Peter Bonerz as Mr. Bentley
- Richard Angarola as Sheriff Armijo
- Claire Kelly as Elva
- Valerie Allen as Dottie
- Martin Garralaga as Juan
- Jack Bannon as Olin
- Seth Riggs as Warren
The film is the third in a trilogy of Robert Aldrich-produced films (following What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) to feature two female leads. He directed the first two. All three films dealt with aged women who become scheming or demented, resorting to violence and murder.
It was shot on location in Tucson, Arizona, as well as at Aldrich Studios in Los Angeles, California.
Release and reception
The film earned rentals of $2,025,000 in North America and $1.2 million in other countries. After all costs were deducted, it recorded a loss of $860,000.
- 1969 in film
- List of American films of 1969
- List of films shot in Arizona
- List of horror films of 1969
- List of thriller films of the 1960s
- "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
- "Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?: Geraldine Page". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-05-10.