What's the Matter with Helen? is an okay exploitation shocker starring Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as two Hollywood types of the early sound era caught up in mayhem and mutual suspicion. The good red-herring script is hindered from maximum impact by director Curtis Harrington, who raises the interest and excitement level too early and lets the film coast to less-than-tense resolution.
Sammee Lee Jones
What’s the Matter with Helen? is an okay exploitation shocker starring Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as two Hollywood types of the early sound era caught up in mayhem and mutual suspicion. The good red-herring script is hindered from maximum impact by director Curtis Harrington, who raises the interest and excitement level too early and lets the film coast to less-than-tense resolution.
Film opens with an excellent title sequence using period newsreel clips winding with a midwest Loeb-Leopold-type juve murder trial, where the femmes are mothers of the two slayers. Threatening phone calls spur pair to Hollywood, where they open a terp studio for would-be Shirley Temple carbons.
Reynolds finds romance with Dennis Weaver, the father of one of her pupils (Sammee Lee Jones). His Texas millionaire accent is a few feet too thick. Winters, mentally hassled by mysterious strangers across the street and unnerved by friends, turns more to the radio preachings of Agnes Moorehead, excellent in hard-sell evangelist role.
What's the Matter with Helen?
Filmways/Raymax. Director Curtis Harrington; Producer George Edwards; Screenplay Henry Farrell; Camera Lucien Ballard; Editor William H. Reynolds; Music David Raksin; Art Director Eugene Lourie
(Color) Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 101 MIN.
Sammee Lee Jones
Popular on Variety
'Game of Thrones' Cast: Who Should Sit on the Iron Throne?
Met Gala: Best Fashion From Lady Gaga to Kendall and Kylie Jenner
Lady Gaga Rocks Four Outfits at Met Gala
'Avengers: Endgame' Stars Guess What Cast Member Was a Stripper Before an Avenger
'Avengers: Endgame' World Premiere Teases the Next Stage for Marvel
Hasan Minhaj Challenges Jared Kushner at the Time 100 Gala
There are no battlefields in Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” — only those of wheat — no concentration-camp horrors, no dramatic midnight raids. But make no mistake: This is a war movie; it’s just that the fight shown raging here is an internal one, between a Christian and his conscience. A refulgent return to form [...]
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put up a good fight, but John Wick put at end to the three-week box office reign of “Avengers: Endgame.” Propelled by positive reviews, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” beat expectations with a debut of $57 million from 3,850 North American locations. That was enough to nab the box office crown [...]
Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]
Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]
Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]
“The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]
In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]