Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969)

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.



  1. Patti Abbott says:

    How over the top it must have been with these two. Both chew scenery with the best of them. I saw the first two but don’t remember anything beyond the title.

  2. I too have not seen this this entry in the Aldrich ‘series’ – fascinating to be reminded of it, thanks. Does seem a most unlikely genre to take off – the arterio sclerotic psycho movie – but there sure were a lot of these in the 60s and 70s!
    Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) recently posted..The Case of the Curious Bride (1935) – Tuesday’s Forgotten FilmMy Profile

  3. I saw WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE once upon a time and that, apparently, was enough for me. I can’t help but think that these sorts of film show very great disrespect to elderly women in general. But maybe that’s just me being age sensitive. Ha!

    Not for me, thanks.
    Yvette recently posted..Tuesday’s Overlooked (or Forgotten) Film: PLAN B (2009) starring Manuel Vignau and Lucas FerraroMy Profile

  4. Great write up! I love Baby Jane so I’m definetly going to check this one out.
    sati recently posted..Michael Fassbender is David, the android in new "Prometheus" viral video.My Profile

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