What’s The Matter With Helen?
(out of 5)
Delightfully campy indulgence in horror stars Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as two complete opposites united by their sons; it’s the 1930s and at the beginning of this film both men have been sent to prison for murdering a woman. Threats start to come by phone and mail to their mothers until the ladies, one a glamorous wannabe starlet and the other a dowdy religious marm, move to California, change their names and open a dance school. Pretty soon the threats start to come again, or is it just Helen (Winters) being paranoid? There’s lots of fun to be had, from the juicy story (including the shocking ending) to the performances by both stars and the gorgeous array of Oscar-nominated costumes that recreate the period with surprising skill. Imagine if The Day Of the Locust didn’t take itself so seriously and you have sort of an idea of what you’ll find here.
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Screenplay by Henry Farrell
Cinematography by Lucien Ballard
Produced by George Edwards
Music by David Raksin
Production Design by Eugène Lourié
Costume Design by Morton Haack
Film Editing by William Reynolds
Cast Tags: Agnes Moorehead, Allen Pinson, Bambi Meyers, Debbie Reynolds, Debbie Van Den Houten, Dennis Weaver, Helene Winston, James Dobson,Keri Shuttleton, Logan Ramsey, Madelon Tupper, Marcia Garcia, Micheál MacLiammóir, Molly Dodd, Pamelyn Ferdin, Paulle Clark, Peggy Rea, Robbi Morgan, Rocky Bonifield, Sadie Delfino, Samee Lee Jones, Sharann Hisamoto, Shawn Steinman, Shelley Winters, Sian Winship, Stacey Hollow, Swen Swenson,Tammy Lee, Teresa De Rose, Timothy Carey, Vicki Schreck, Yvette Vickers
Academy Award Nomination
Best Costume Design (Morton Haack)