What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?

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"A horrific tale...with grave consequences!"
  • M/PG
  • 1969
  • 6.8  (2,752)

What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? is a psychological thriller movie released in 1969, directed by Lee H. Katzin and adapted by Theodore Apstein from a novel by Ursula Curtiss. The movie portrays the unsettling events that take place in the life of Clare Marrable (played by Geraldine Page), a widowed woman in her late 50s who moves to Arizona after the death of her husband. While adjusting to her new surroundings and trying to make ends meet, Clare becomes increasingly suspicious of her live-in maid, Harriet Vaughn (played by Ruth Gordon).

The movie begins with a scene where a group of women attends a funeral, where we learn that Alice Dimmock, a wealthy widow, has died under mysterious circumstances. Clare Marrable is among the attendees, and we later learn that she was a close friend of Alice. After the funeral, Clare is stunned to learn that Alice's lavish mansion and fortune are gone, and so she sets out to investigate what happened to her friend's wealth.

Clare, who is struggling to make ends meet, decides to hire a maid to help her with household chores. She comes across Harriet Vaughn, a middle-aged woman who seems to be perfect for the job. However, soon after Harriet starts working for Clare, strange things start happening around the house. Clare's valuable possessions go missing, and Harriet's behavior becomes increasingly erratic.

As Clare delves deeper into Harriet's past, she discovers that her maid has a history of befriending wealthy women, stealing their fortunes and disposing them of one way or another. She also learns that Harriet's latest victim is her friend, Alice Dimmock. Clare is determined to expose Harriet's scheme and reclaim Alice's fortune, but Harriet is equally determined to stop her.

What follows next is a gripping tale of suspense, deceit, and betrayal that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The movie boasts of exceptional performances by its cast, especially Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon, who deliver powerhouse performances as the two central characters. Page plays the role of Clare Marrable with remarkable subtlety and nuance, bringing to life a woman who is both vulnerable and tough. Gordon, on the other hand, is spectacular as the cunning, manipulative, and unpredictable Harriet Vaughn.

The movie is notable for how it subverts gender expectations and stereotypes. It portrays two women in their late 50s as complex characters who are not defined by their age or gender. Clare and Harriet are both flawed, capable, and driven by their own motives, making them intriguing and well-rounded characters.

Apart from the exceptional performances, the movie's cinematography and direction are noteworthy. Lee H. Katzin's direction is precise and effective, building a palpable tension that sustains throughout the movie. The Arizona landscape and Alice's mansion are captured beautifully by cinematographer Joseph F. Biroc, adding a visual flair to the movie.

In conclusion, What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? is a gripping psychological thriller that features the exceptional performances of its cast, skillful direction, and stunning cinematography. It's a must-watch for fans of the genre and those who appreciate strong characterizations and engaging plots.

What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
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    6.8  (2,752)