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Buicks in the movie "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte"


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Yesterday on Fox Movie Channel, I watched (for the umpteenth time!) my favorite movie, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964) with Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, and Agnes Moorhead ('Endora' on 'Bewitched'). It's a guilty pleasure and I am always amazed by the end of the movie how much I still enjoy it. Pretty scary stuff for 1964.

Anyway, the movie shows interior and exterior shots, in great clarity, in a few various parts of the movie, of two different '64 Electra 225 six-window sedans (not hardtops). One appears to be black, and the other a light color (movie is in black and white).

Has anybody seen the movie, have any general comments on it and/or the Electras used?

Bill

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Bill, I like this movie also, but have not seen it in many years. (My wife hates it!) Those Buicks really stood out to me the first time I saw the movie. The '64 225 was such a beautiful, elegant car, and I especially like the scene near the end where Bette Davis is driven away in one of these.

As I recall, there's also a '64 Buick Special in one of the scenes.

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Centurion, you are absolutely right about the '64 Special...light-colored 4-door. It is shown clearly at the end, and in nighttime scenes earlier in the film. It is driven by the character "Mr. Marchand" who is a NYC reporter from a cheesy crime magazine.

I think the last fifteen or so minutes of this movie are among the best ever committed to film!

BTW, the film was released on DVD in fall of '05 and is available at Borders'. I own it, but have loaned it to my sister in PA and she's had it for six months!

Bill

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"<span style="font-weight: bold">Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte</span>" is one of the best Buick films EVER!

Poor spinster Charlotte (Bette Davis), driven into seclusion (and near-madness) after the death of her one true love (Bruce Dern, the husband of Jewell Mayhew), beheaded at a soiree years before, is set upon by; the county, who wants to build a bridge right thru her plantation home, her "evil" cousin Miriam (Olivia DeHavilland, in a role Joan Crawford was originally set to play), and Miriam's lover Dr. Drew (Joseph Cotten). Miriam & Drew are trying to drive her <span style="font-style: italic">totally</span> mad to get all of Charlotte's money.

Mary Astor, (in her last film role) as Jewell Mayhew, rich in name only, sitting years later in her "ruined finery," utters the classic line, "<span style="font-style: italic">You see, I am not a well woman</span>," to a sympathetic Cecil Kellaway. Agnes Moorhead, as Velma, the frumpy housekeeper, plays a role nowhere near her much-more glamorous "Endora."

Buicks abound, notably the two '64 Electra 225 sedans. You MUST screen this film when you can, as it's full of twisted "Southern Charm." I can't type fast enough to say how good it is. At the end, Charlotte, vindicated of her imagined wrong-doings in the past, makes a grand exit in a dark 225 Sedan. It looks just like my own "Black Beauty," which I've attached. Worth watching just for her being

chauffeured away in that <span style="font-weight: bold">Beautious Big Buick</span>.

1964 Buicks (even the Special Sedan) were never lovelier than in this camp classic!

TG

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Miriam, who's blackmailed Jewell into poverty, arrives from Paris to help Charlotte close the house. At dinner, Charlotte asks her what job she's been doing all these years, to which she answers, "Public Relations." Charlotte quickly shoots back,

"Public relations?...sounds <span style="font-style: italic">dirty</span> to me!"

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My wife says I'm addicted to that movie, and it is unintentionally funny in a couple places (!), but I think the story, and most of the cast and acting, is superbly entertaining and by the end I'd even say the movie is poignant! As a kid it scared the daylights out of me, and I have read that it had the most Oscar nominations of any scary movie up until "Silence of the Lambs"!

Man, when I saw the attachment of your "Black Beauty", TG, I swore I could almost see Charlotte in the back seat, and Sherriff Luke Standish standing nearby with his casebook in hand! That is IDENTICAL to the car at the end of the film!

Bill

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Right down to the door edge & gas filler guards! There's something about the car that's soooo darned elegant, almost limousine-like. My Uncle Tommy had a '64 225 6-WP Sedan, baby blue with venetian blinds in the backlight, which I always loved, but the sedans are the ones with the real class, in my humble opinion.

Curiously, "Black Beauty" is black (duh!), with the light green interior...my guess is that it was a funeral parlor car. She's awaiting paint, but the interior is in great shape, has the usual stuff plus PW, P-seat & Tilt. She's also got the then-one-year-old AM/FM radio option, complete with the Buick-issue list of FM stations throughout the country.

TG

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Tom, you keep surprising me! What a beautiful '64 Electra 225! I've always thought that the cornering lamp option was especially nice on the '64 and '65 models.

Looks like you might have a couple more of these beauties lurking in the garage behind Black Beauty?

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I think that six-window design (is that what Buick called it?) is actually more elegant than the four-door hardtop.

I might add, I think the car is more elegantly-styled than the same-year Cadillac (sacrilege?!)

Seeing Olivia deHavilland (always glamorous) and Bette Davis (well... good method actor anyway!) riding in those Electras seemed totally appropriate for the time and setting of that film.

Bill

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Bill, yes, Buick built the six-window design in both pillared and pillarless styles, in addition to the four-window 4-door hardtop.

For comparison, here's a shot I captured in Oregon of a 4-window hardtop:

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I must agree with you that the Electra 225 surpassed Cadillac for elegance and style during these years. I'll argue that the 225's were more striking than the Cadillacs throughout the 1963 - 1970 period, and I'm inclined to expand the statement to cover the 1959 through 1962 models as well. (I do think that the '61 and '62 Cadillac were very striking, but the other years hold far less appeal for me.)

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Thanks Brian & Bill,

When the Electra 225's six-window hardtop sedans debuted for '61, they called them "Riviera" (their name since '59), then with 1963's intro of the Riviera T-Bird-fighter, they referred to them as 6-Window Pillarless Hardtop Sedans, with the 4-window variant dubbed the Hardtop Sedan.

"Black Beauty" and her ilk were simply Electra 225 Sedans. The two 225's in the garage were a beater '64 225 4-door HT , and a sweet, Autronic-Eyed '64 225 4-door HT, with custom interior, and <span style="font-style: italic">every</span> available option. Didn't get that one, but saw it a few years ago waiting for new upholstery. The former now sits outside at a "resto-rod" shop, sharing space with a variety of clapped out hulks waiting to be "ratted." Wouldn't want it anyway...it had roll-up windows!

Stars in the realm of Misses Davis & DeHavilland should <span style="font-weight: bold">never</span> appear in anything less than a luxury car. Witness this glimpse of Bette (in her Margo Channing era) at a Lambda Car Club Meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway some years ago.

TG

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There's a curious aside to the '64 225's; the brochures & 8x10 factory stills show a taillight bezel with "twin-tower" vertical strips on the bezel. Some early cars were so-equipped, but they were phased out; I spied this NOS example at the '98 BCA Nat'l in Boston...

Shoulda bought the darned thing!

TG

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Roberta, it's a long movie at 2 hrs. 13 min, and it's black and white. But watch the whole thing in one sitting...you'll be glad you did! I never tire of it. Plus, there are two '64 Buicks near the very end of the movie!

Bill

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Roberta, it's a long movie at 2 hrs. 13 min, and it's black and white. But watch the whole thing in one sitting...you'll be glad you did! I never tire of it. Plus, there are two '64 Buicks near the very end of the movie!

Bill </div></div>

Well, it'll be a week or so before I get it, but will do, thAnks, I'll post a pic of the '64 E, I drove and worked on sometime soon. Did a valve job as a summer project when I was 16, took the heads off and took to the Buick Dealer, who had owned the ARCO gas station prior and was friends with my parents, took mom's Kirby with the wirebrush to the top of pistons and block to clean off carbon, then got the heads back, put a rod across where the rocker shaft went, and my mom and I dropped the heads back on and I torqued them up and drove away!

What a summer project, like I said got 16 MPG on the road a couple of years later. on Sunoco 260, that was about $0.76 a gallon!

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Also, pay close attention when they do "The Swamp Thang" with Dr. Drew and a rolled up oriental rug. There are some <span style="font-style: italic">eerie</span>, glowing dashboard shots from the rear seat as they're driving down the road at night to "ditch" the goods!

TG

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Watched it last night, will have to again, cause it's deep!

Attached is one of the last pictures I have of my parent's '64 Big E! My brother took it to Flint around '92 cause he'd found one from TX that needed interior, I think he still has it. Our interior was mint as had clear vinyl seat covers, 5 kids rode in it, till they got the '71 Olds Custom Cruiser in '71. Chris got runner-up at Buick Raceday in '92 at Norwalk Raceway Park, running 15.2 ET all day long, shortly after we pulled the engine, which is in my garage and took the body to the junkyard,frame was too rusty to save, wish I had pics of it racing, that was before digital cameras.

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Yes, when you watch it again you will pick up little "hints" in the movie that you didn't catch the first time! I love it..but then, I like scary movies. Without giving away too much in case anyone here wishes to see it, let's just say that when Charlotte gets her "turnabout is fair play" moment about fifteen minutes from the end (if you know what I mean!), I was just about cheering!

Nice '64 you had!

I think you'll agree that TG's car is a double for the one at the end of the movie!

Bill

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BuickBabe,

It's just not any ol' Bronze color, it's <span style="font-style: italic">Magic Mirror</span> <span style="font-weight: bold">Bronze Mist</span>!

Roberta,

I thought I'd catch a refresher before you got yours from the Ethernet, and realized that when I made my video copy years ago, the tape's only good for two hours, and I missed the entire last scene! <span style="font-weight: bold">Drat!</span>

Stude,

The fact that "Black Beauty" resembles the parting shot Deuce & a Quarter had <span style="font-style: italic">no influence</span>, <span style="font-weight: bold">whatsoever</span>, in the decision to acquire her! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

TG

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TG, I wouldn't think any movie would influence a decision to buy a collector car, now THAT would be obsessive! But that's a great movie and a neat conversation piece for your very lovely Electra 225!

I may have mentioned this earlier, but when I was a kid a friend's family had a '63 Electra 225 six-window sedan. Compared to our cheapo '62 Ford Fairline, it felt positively like a limousine! This friend's Dad was a Buick man through-and-through. What I remember about their Electras over the years is the speed alarm which his Dad would regularly set off (!), and that the radios always said "Sonomatic"!

Bill

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