Saturday, April 05, 2008

Actress Profiles: Geraldine Page in What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice? (1969)

Geraldine Page in What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice? (1969)

Following in the footsteps of camp horror classics of the time, What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice? has replaced Bette Davis' Baby Jane with an even more daunting prospect (believe me) in Claire Marrable, a character brought to life by the incredible, sinister performance of Geraldine Page. Similar to Aldrich's 1962 flick, Marrable is given cause to feel bitter in the films opening moments, when it is revealed that her husband's apparent wealthiness was a facade, and he has left her in a mountain of debt. Enough cause to get pissed? Certainly. But perhaps going on to coax money out of your housekeepers on the false promise of stock market dividends, and then proceeding to systematically kill them off one by one is taking it a step or ten too far.

Yet Page's Marrable seems to have an extra edge that Baby Jane did not. Driven by necessity her character alters without appearing to: uneasing, pressing, agressing, slowly revelling in power, her cackles a pierce that underline her ecstasy at being in control. Page is the ultimate villain. A woman designed to unsettle. And with the dismissive flick of a sherry glass she can turn the tables on you so quick, delivering gestures of a false hostess and scathing insults of a masked monster (and sometimes both in the same breath) like a ruthless predator who believes herself at the head of the food chain. I daren't deny her that.

Rating: *****


Jason said...

"Actress Profilies" are such a great idea! I may need to borrow that idea for my blog. :p

You've been pimping this film for a while but after reading your review it has become evident that I need to see this one NOW.

Anonymous said...

this is a timeless classic

I think it is a perfect movie; smart dialogues,very good actors and actresses