Ladies in Retirement

1941

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1374

gothic housekeeper film noir

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Director

Top cast

Evelyn Keyes as Lucy
Elsa Lanchester as Emily Creed
Ida Lupino as Ellen Creed

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Doylenf 8 / 10

Highly intriguing Gothic suspense tale with Lupino in fine form...

Here we have a very watchable Gothic suspense tale with IDA LUPINO giving one of her most restrained, yet brilliant performances in the leading role as a woman who is willing to commit murder for the sake of keeping her two dotty sisters out of an insane asylum. ISOBEL ELSOM is the foolish, rich English lady living on the moors with a maid (EVELYN KEYES) and agreeing only to a short visit from Lupino's sisters but soon finding herself in the position of having to order them away after a prolonged stay.

Lupino has a stormy confrontation with Elsom in order to convince her that her siblings must stay, but she loses the argument and decides the next day to settle things her own way. LOUIS HAYWARD is excellent as a charming scoundrel, a young nephew who begins to suspect that something has happened to Elsom and prowls around trying to solve the mystery of her disappearance The storyline bears similarities to NIGHT MUST FALL, the Robert Montgomery/Rosalind Russell/Dame May Witty thriller, another psychological tale involving a psychotic who wins over a rich old lady with his charm. But it is IDA LUPINO and her powerful portrait of a woman in jeopardy of losing everything she has worked for, that really stands out here.

And that's quite a compliment considering she is surrounded by expert actresses like ELSA LANCHESTER, EDITH BARRETT, ISOBEL ELSOM and EVELYN KEYES. She is the pivotal character in the grim tale, perhaps a shade too young to be cast as Louis Hayward's aunt, but she inhabits the role with all the force of her personality. The film is really a showcase for her undeniable talent and it's a shame that she never received an Oscar nomination for her role.

Summing up: Chilling atmosphere, superior B&W art direction, and a good score help make it an engrossing experience.

Reviewed by planktonrules 9 / 10

This family has issues...and mighty serious ones at that!

Ellen Creed (Ida Lupino) is the servant and companion of a well to do older woman, Miss Fiske. However, Ellen has a serious problem...she's the sole support for her two mentally ill sisters...and the sisters have been tossed out of the place that was caring for them. You can understand why, as one of the sisters (Elsa Lanchester) is rather surly and the other is quite out of touch with reality. So Ellen maneuver's her employer into letting the pair stay with them a few days. However, the days turn into weeks and the sisters are almost impossible to live with, so Miss Fiske insists that Ellen make other arrangements. With no easy solution to her dilemma, Ellen does something pretty dreadful. Little does she know that her slimy nephew (Louis Hayward) is about to arrive for a visit...and he's NOT mentally ill....just a conniving sociopath! Slowly he puts the puzzle pieces together and he realizes Ellen has done something even he wouldn't do! And, not surprisingly, he plans on taking full advantage of the situation.

This is an excellent and interesting film. I especially like that the plot is quite unique....and because of this it offers many surprises. The acting by Lupino was excellent and I appreciate how she allowed the makeup folks to make her look unglamorous and 'normal'...many actresses would have resisted this. Even more impressive is Hayward's performance...one of his very best. He is wonderful as the slimy nephew...very convincing and fascinating in every scene. My only complaint in the acting was Edith Barrett as one of the mentally ill sisters...as her performance seemed forced and a bit overdone. Subtle it wasn't. Overall, the good very much outweighs the bad...and it's a film lovers of classic cinema need to see.

Reviewed by whpratt1 7 / 10

Fantastic Classic Film

If you liked seeing Ida Lupino in all her films, this is a must see film with an outstanding director, producer and great acting. Ida Lupino, (Ellen Creed) plays the role of a companion for a rich retired actress who also has a maid named Lucy performed by Evelyn Keyes. The story becomes very complicated when Ellen Creed invites her two sisters to visit with her. However, these two gals are simply loony tunes in their heads and will drive you completely crazy with their great supporting roles. Louis Hayward, (Albert Feather) is a family acquaintance to Ellen Creed and he decides to stay at their home and get away from his banking problems. Elsa Lanchester,(Emily Creed), "Bride of Frankenstein", also gives a great supporting role. This is a great mystery film with a great plot that will keep you guessing just how this film will end. I was also surprised to learn that Ida Lupino and Louis Hayward were husband and wife in real life while this film was being produced.

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