What's the Matter with Helen?

1971

Crime / Musical / Mystery

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 55%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 40%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1803

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 09, 2021 at 06:30 AM

Cast

Timothy Carey as The Tramp
Logan Ramsey as Detective Sgt. West
Robbi Morgan as Rosalie Greenbaum
Dennis Weaver as Linc Palmer
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
925.12 MB
1280*682
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 1 / 1
1.68 GB
1920*1024
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 1 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by preppy-3 7 / 10

Great acting helps an uneven horror film

The movie takes place in the 1930s--The mothers (Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters) of two murdering sons run away to Hollywood after their sons are convicted. They change their names and open a dance studio for children. Reynolds quickly adjusts to her new life and falls for a nice guy (Dennis Weaver). However Winters keeps having flashbacks to her husband's bloody accident that killed him--or was it an accident? This film looks fantastic. Curtis Harrington was a very good, underrated director and he did a great job here. The settings and costumes are incredible and perfectly fit the 1930s. However the story doesn't flow smoothly. It runs in fits and starts and comes to a screeching halt for THREE musical numbers with the kids and Reynolds! Also a certain murder at the end was drastically cut to avoid an R rating (the director was not happy about it). But the acting saves it. Reynolds is superb in a very dramatic and hard role. I never thought she could act till I saw this. Winters chews the scenery (as usual) but in a fun way. Also, despite the GP (now PG) rating this is pretty bloody and the shock ending is totally ruined by being on the poster AND the theatrical trailer! Still it's worth catching.

Reviewed by traumatixxx 8 / 10

"Goody, Goody"

The most bizarre of the cinematic sub-genres is the so called "The Great Ladies of the Grand Guignol": camp horror films which combined over-the-top melodrama with gothic thrills and always starred by seasoned and almost forgotten actress from hollywood golden age in unflattering roles of either long suffering victims or screeching evil harpies. This genre provided them with an unusual acting showcase that allowed strut their stuff on the screen once again and win new generations of fans at expense of their glamorous images from yesterday.

"What's the matter with Helen" is the last drop of this sub-genre with stunning performances of both Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as the troubled mothers of two convicted criminals who run away from their past to the sunny California in the 1930s to open a talent school to milk out the eagerly mothers who want their daughters to be the next Shirley Temple. In California, Debbie gets happiness, clients, tango, tap dancing and a new love interest (Dennis Weaver meanwhile Shelley gets wacko with horrible flashbacks, menacing anonymous calls, menacing strangers, menacing Agnes Moorehead as a radio evangelist, cute little rabbits (!) and an unfortunate encounter with an electric fan (ouch!).

The sloppy script (penned by Henry Farrell, the man who started all this genre with "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" along with master director Robert Aldrich, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis) is full of plot holes, red herrings and wasted opportunities that could had made this movie great: the underlying themes of twisted motherhood (with Debbie and Shelley's characters as "failed mothers" and the overbearing mommies of the child stars) and obsessive female bonding (Debbie and Shelley relationship and the fact that the few male characters of this movie are either sinister or sleazy even Dennis Weaver dream boat Texan) are wasted. Instead we get Debbie Reynolds musicals interludes and dancing tots, although fun to watch take too much screen time of what is supposedly to be a psychological chiller. But still this movie is highly entertaining. The two stars and Curtis Harrington stylish direction easily overcomes its flaws. The movie recreation of the 1930's is colorful and elegant (look at Debbie's clothes!) made with a very tight budget. The increasing atmosphere of madness and hysteria is genuinely creepy with a shocking finale that will haunt you for days. And you wouldn't easily forget that silly "Goody, goody" song that runs through the movie either. And seeing an increasingly mad Shelley Winters screw every one of Debbie Reynolds' chances at happiness is a hoot to watch!

8 out of 10.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 9 / 10

One of Curtis Harrington's best horror films

The 1930s. Classy, elegant Adele (marvelously played with dignified resolve by Debbie Reynolds) and batty, frumpy Helen (the magnificent Shelley Winters going full-tilt wacko with her customary histrionic panache) are the mothers of two killers. They leave their seamy pasts in the Midwest behind and move to Hollywood to start their own dance school for aspiring kid starlets. Adele begins dating dashing millionaire Lincoln Palmer (the always fine Dennis Weaver). On the other hand, religious fanatic Helen soon sinks into despair and madness.

Director Curtis ("Night Tide," "Ruby") Harrington, working from a crafty script by Henry Farrell (who wrote the book "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" was based on and co-wrote the screenplay for "Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte"), adeptly concocts a complex and compelling psychological horror thriller about guilt, fear, repression and religious fervor running dangerously amok. The super cast have a ball with their colorful roles: Michael MacLiammoir as a pompous elocution teacher, Agnes Moorehead as a stern fire-and-brimstone radio evangelist, Yvette Vickers as a snippy, overbearing mother of a bratty wannabe child star, Logan Ramsey as a snoopy detective, and Timothy Carey as a creepy bum. An elaborate talent recital set piece with Pamelyn Ferdin (the voice of Lucy in the "Peanuts" TV cartoon specials) serving as emcee and original "Friday the 13th" victim Robbi Morgan doing a wickedly bawdy dead-on Mae West impression qualifies as a definite highlight. David Raskin's spooky score, a fantastic scene with Reynolds performing an incredible tango at a posh restaurant, the flavorsome Depression-era period atmosphere, Lucien Ballard's handsome cinematography, and especially the startling macabre ending are all likewise on the money excellent and effective. MGM presents this terrific gem on a nifty DVD doublebill with "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?;" both pictures are presented in crisp widescreen transfers along with their theatrical trailers.

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