I frankly had not even heard of this week’s selection (What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?) until last week when it was on Turner Classic Movies. Apparently this was the third and final installment in director/producer Robert Aldrich’s ‘trilogy of female terror’ that includes the more well know installments Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. This is also the only film of the three shot in color.
The film stars Geraldine Page as a widow left to fend for herself when upon her husband’s death, she is left penniless. Very early on (pre-title in fact) we find out the drastic (and pathological) lengths Claire Marrable goes to preserve a semblance of (financial) dignity.
In the midst of this frenzy enters Ruth Gordon’s Alice Dimmock (of the title) as the latest in a series of maids/companions to the lonely Mrs. Marrable. Everything seems to be going well with the tandem until it is revealed that Alice has an ulterior motive in being employed by the widow.
Check out the trailer here:
I really enjoyed the previous two films in this ‘trilogy’ (not sure it is an official trilogy, IMO) – from the completely off the wall zaniness of Baby Jane to the Gothically-inspired Charlotte. I always thought these films portrayed ‘interesting’ relationships between its female pro/antagonists. I was also fascinated by the fact that Aldrich (although he did not direct Aunt Alice) used ‘mature’ Hollywood actresses in the lead roles, often turning them into grotesque psychotics. I am not a student of feminist theory, so I will defer to others in the area to bring to light any of these aspects.
There are moments in the film that were admittedly laugh out loud hilarious but that does not make it any less horrific or entertaining.
PLEASE BE SURE TO CHECK OUT TODD MASON’S BLOG SWEET FREEDOM FOR ADDITIONAL OVERLOOKED TITLES.