What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
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I agree with most other reviewers in that "Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice" is a black comedy rather than a thriller, and it succeeds thanks to the bravura performances of Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon, particularly Page as the villain Claire Marrabel, who really carries the whole film. Her very first scene shows us just the sort of woman she is, when her barely concealed excitement at the reading of her late husband's will turns to rage and bitterness when it turns out he had sunk all their assets into huge debts without ever telling her. Page plays the role magnificently, really throwing herself into the part, and continues in a vein of scarcely controlled wildness throughout the rest of the film. Two scenes stood out for me; firstly when she commits her very first murder, she is required to bury the body in a hole and plant a sapling pine tree over the top of this (this ever growing row of new trees becomes a visual gag for the rest of the movie). Page launches herself into the task with vigour, seemingly doing the full job while the camera and credits roll over the top of the scene. The second great moment is much later on in the movie when Claire has drugged two potential victims and tries to set their house on fire. It is Page we see (not a stand-in) crazily flinging a lighted cushion around the house trying to get the rest of the furniture to catch on fire.Read more ›
But in "Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice?" we have something that none of those other movies had: a lack of Legend and a sense of Cult Following, and next-to-no expectations when viewing the movie for the first time. And so what we see when we sit down to watch it is something fresh, exciting and very, very good indeed.
"Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice?" stars the very wonderful Geraldine Page as the recently widowed Claire Marrable, who, in the wake of being left destitute by the financial wasteland that is her late husband's estate, moves to an isolated part of rural Arizona, and takes on a succession of tight-lipped, downtrodden housekeepers. The reason for the succession soon becomes apparent: Mrs. Marrable is murdering these women in short order, after they've signed their life savings over to her, and using them as fertiliser for what must be said is a remarkably verdant desert garden.
Enter the seemingly innocuous Alice Dimmock (the equally wonderful Ruth Gordon), who, after the briefest of introductory periods, sets about working to her own agenda: discovering the whereabouts of Mrs. Marrable's last housekeeper.
Performances are incredibly, incredibly good: Geraldine Page is a delight to watch in almost all of her movie roles, and this proves no different: she's a magnetic, charismatic powerhouse who breathes a pathos and a kind of twisted empathy into the murderous role of Mrs. Marrable.Read more ›
Page plays an older women who has essentially been driven mad with rage after her husband dies and leaves her only his debts and .the contents of his briefcase. She moves to the desert and lives very comfortably by dispatching a series of live-in housekeepers who have turned over their life savings to her. Katzin tells the story mostly from the POV of Page's character so that after a while the audience is actually identifying with her.
Ruth Gordon is essentially wasted in a very straight role. Rosemary Forsyth and Robert Fuller make an appealing couple but are very minor to story.
Page is absolutely brilliant and plays the ironic twist at the end of the film beautifully. At the same time that she is found out, she finds out that her husband actually made a provision for her to live comfortably after his death. She plays this final scene in such a way that we understand that discovering he actually loved her is far more important to her than getting away with murder.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Miss page never got the credit she deserved was great actress steals this movie totally was robed of an Oscar in sweet bird of youth and the beguiled where she held her own against... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Oscar R. Gonzalez
I saw this one while I was stationed in Long Beach California. With the exception of Ruth Gordon and Mildred Dunnock, the cast was mostly unknown. Robert Fuller was a T.V. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Gary Gilfoy
This is a great movie. I enjoyed it very much. It has my favorite star in it and he was great!! The DVD is in great shape and arrived on time. Thanks.Published 13 months ago by Di Shel
This is dark and bewitching in a very old fashioned kind of horrific way. I bought it because of Ruth Gordon who killed in Rosemary's Baby and Harold & Maude. Read morePublished 13 months ago by BRIANNA
I am very disapointed because there was no warning that aunt alice can only be played in americaPublished 16 months ago by bill launt
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