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  • Strait-Jacket
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118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Movie queen Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce) gives a terrific performance in this chiller from pioneer horror movie producer William Castle (House on Haunted Hill). Crawford plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who goes berserk when she finds her husband in bed with another woman. With her three-year-old daughter accidentally witnessing the grisly act, Lucy axes the couple to death then spends twenty years in a mental institution for the double murder. After she is released, she moves in with her brother (Leif Erickson, On the Waterfront), his wife and her own daughter (Diane Baker, The Silence of the Lambs), now twenty-three. Her nightmare is over...or is it? When a series of ax murders suddenly starts occurring in the neighborhood, police think Lucy has reverted to her old ways. The truth is finally revealed in a rousing, blood-chilling finale.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John, John Anthony Hayes
  • Directors: William Castle
  • Writers: Robert Bloch
  • Producers: William Castle, Dona Holloway
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Spanish, English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005V4XD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Strait-Jacket" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Mark Norvell on September 15, 2002
Format: DVD
I gave this movie 5 stars for two reasons: William Castle and Joan Crawford. What a combo! And the movie's pretty good too. 20 years ago, Lucy Harbin caught her husband with another woman and chopped them up with an axe. She gets committed to an asylum for the criminally insane. Now, she's released in her daughter's (Diane Baker) care on a farm with other relatives and wouldn't you just know it---someone's at it again, chopping up the extra characters. Poor Joan tries to please her daughter in every way to make up for lost time---but daughter dearest still wants her to look like she did 20 yrs ago---like Sadie Thompson! Well things just get downright messy and there's more murders and screaming and then it all blows open. Someone's crazy alright but it's not our Joan. The extras on this DVD are great. There's a telling interview with Diane Baker and a costume test for Crawford that's hysterical. But wait till you see the "axe test"!..."Strait-Jacket" is a must have for fans. Joan (as Lucy) gets all dolled up like an aging hooker, jangling her bracelets and vamping it up while she wonders if she's going off her rocker again. Her portrayal is strong and she seems to be having a good time. Highly recommended for Crawford fans and William Castle afficianados. Get it and enjoy it.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ilona Novotny on January 12, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Joan Crawford plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who has been institutionalized for 20 years, after having hacked her unfaithful husband and his girlfriend to pieces with an axe. She is reunited with her estranged daughter, Carol (played by Diane Baker, who specialized in playing devious females at the time). Carol encourages her mother to dress like she did 20 years earlier,i.e. flower-printed dresses, jingly charm bracelets, and a black, 40s-style wig. Lucy does, and watch out! In what is my favorite scene in the film, Joan, looking like the world's oldest hooker, comes on to her daughter's handsome YOUNG fiance. It is almost obscene to watch this, but try and take your eyes off the screen! Mysterious axe-murders begin to take place. Joan's psychiatrist, (played by Mitchell Cox, Vice-President of Pepsi!)sleazy farmhand Leonard Kraus, played by George Kennedy, and then Carol's future father-in-law, played by Howard St. John. Naturally, we assume it's Joan, right? Wrong! I won't tell who the real murderer is, but I DID drop a clue earlier on. William Castle directed this Robert "Psycho" Bloch- scripted opus, and it is just what you'd expect from Castle-low-budget, full of cheap shocks, and just plain FUN. Miss Crawford is a hoot to watch, especially in her later films, such as this one. The film also has an entertaining cast, which includes Rochelle Hudson, Leif Ericson, and Edith Atwater, as Carol's bitchy future mother-in-law.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By tmp VINE VOICE on March 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a stunner. From the opening when we see Joan's Lucy "all woman, and very much aware of the fact" Hardin hacks up her two-timing hubby (Lee Majors!) and his girlfriend, to the very end where we find out who is committing all of those pesky axe murders after Joan gets sprung from the institution, this is a Crawford tour-de-force. She looks as if she crancked her own personal acting switch up to 11, and let 'er rip. She also alternates between wearing a grey wig and a frumpy muu-muu to a tight dress, black wig and about forty pounds of bangle bracelets (How could she have snuck up on anyone who was not in a coma making all that noise?), all of which succeeds in making her look twenty years older than she looks as an old woman!
Wildly inappropriate line readings were a hallmark of Joan's performances in later years- but these are the best. The scene where she tells her prospective son-in-law's parents about her incarceration is a corker- she alternates between mewling terror and screaming demented harpy from moment to moment. And though other reviewers have mentioned it, the scene where she comes on to said son-in-law is jaw dropping; she starts out downing about a milk jug full of bourbon, drags the poor boy over to the sofa and sits him down by shoving him with her hips- while having him in a death-grip- drawling "I wouldn't want my daughter to think I was moving in on her fella" then proceeds to stand across the room from him and give him a pick-up look more appropriate to the leather bar scenes in "Cruising" than to an early 60's B movie. The rest of the cast just sit there, visibly aghast at the spectacle. So will you.
I demand that this movie be released on DVD right this second!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JGC on April 10, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"This is Joan Crawford, I urge you to see my new motion picture Strait-Jacket, from the beginning."

...Lucy Harbin took an axe
She gave her husband 40 whacks
And when she saw what he had done
She gave his girlfriend 41

This movie is so incredibly over-the-top. I love how, in the beginning they just have to say that Lucy is "7 years older than her husband."

"Strait-Jacket " was one of the very first movies that I ever saw with Joan so there's a special place in my heart for it. When I first saw this movie I knew very little about Joan and just assumed that it was one of her movies from her MGM days. And of course it didn't help that the picture on the DVD was one of Joan's Lucy Harbin dressed up with that "Mildred Pierce" looking wig. I also loved that bangle bracelet that Joan wore. Didn't she look like such a sexy mama? It totally reminded me of the way Joan looked as Sadie Thompson. Although, I don't think Lucy had any tricks up her sleeve!

I still love this movie though. Much like the ever-strong and powerful Joan, "Strait-Jacket" has totally withstood the test of time. Yes, it's a ludicrous story that would never have seen the light of day if Joan weren't in it but I can't get enough of it. The story is so dramatic and theatrical, not to mention over-the-top and incredibly foolish.

The tagline for this movie was: HER HUSBAND...HER ROOM... ......AND ANOTHER WOMAN. That really describes the beginning but it also leaves a lot to be desired because this is not a love story, at all. Joan plays Lucy Harbin, an axe murderer, who paid her dues and is now released in the care of her brother. Unfortunately once Lucy gets out murder still seems to follow her!
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old movie where woman is stabbed in the back in a beauty parlor?
I believe I saw the same movie. The woman appeared, reaching in vain for the knife in her back. However, I don't know the name of the movie. If you find out please let me know.
Oct 11, 2008 by Mark R. Cannedy |  See all 4 posts
B/W Thriller where psychopath uses hatpins to murder innocents Be the first to reply
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