What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

R   |    |  Crime, Musical, Mystery


What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) Poster

Two middle-aged women move to Hollywood, California after their sons are convicted of a notorious murder and open a dance school for children eager to tap their way to stardom.


6.4/10
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Director:

Curtis Harrington

Writer:

Henry Farrell

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14 February 2007 | tonybolger
10
| Fine, eerie black comedy with a superb Reynolds turn.
A vastly underrated black comedy, the finest in a series of grand guignol movies to follow 'Baby Jane'. Reynolds and Winters are mothers of young convicted murderers (a nod to 'Compulsion') who run away to hide in Hollywood. They run a school for would-be movie tots, a bunch of hilariously untalented kids attended by awful stage moms. Debbie, in her blonde wig ('I'm a Harlow, you're more a Marion Davies' she tells Winters) leads the tots at their concert and wins a rich dad, Weaver. She also does a deliciously funny tango and, over all, gives an outstanding performance, unlike anything she'd done before. The atmosphere is a fine mix of comic and eerie. It looks wonderful with great period detail (30's). Lots of lovely swipes at Hollywood and the terrifying movie tot. Micheal MacLiammoir has a ball as the drama coach: 'Hamilton Starr', he purrs, 'two r's but prophetic nonetheless'. See it and love it.

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