Friday, July 23, 2010

Hush Hush & Houmas House

Recently, on an otherwise boring afternoon, I was delighted to find one of my all-time favorite movies on TV: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte. I've watched this film many times since I first saw it in a Texas movie theater in 1964, and it hooked me again this year.

This old movie has everything going for it:  a great cast (Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland,  Joseph Cotten, and Agnes Moorehead), a clever plot twist, and a lavish Louisiana setting.  It's that setting that holds particular interest for me these days.  Here are a couple of examples (images captured from my television set):

The movie was filmed in Burnside, Louisiana, about half an hour from my home, at Houmas House Plantation. This is one of the most beautiful places I've personally experienced. My most recent visit there was with my younger daughter, Kelli, in 2008 (unfortunately during my non-posting period). We spent an early-fall afternoon touring the gardens. At the end of our tour, we had two peaceful souls and a couple hundred gorgeous pictures to show for it.

Here are a couple of photos that remind me of the scenery in the movie:

If you compare the house in the recent photo to the house in the movie shot, you'll notice that a widow's walk (belvedere) has been added on top of the roof. The Houmas House website states that this change was part of a restoration begun in 2003 by the current owner of the property, so I'm guessing it was part of the mansion as it existed at some point in time before the movie was made.

If you've never seen "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," you really should. And if you have seen it, then I know you'll remember its hauntingly beautiful theme song:

The song is "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" by Patti Page.
Click here to read the lyrics.
Thanks to TheNewFormat for posting this video on YouTube.


  1. I haven't seen that movie but it looks good.

    I too adore the old plantations. There is nothing like spending the day there getting lost in another time. For years, my cousin in Gonzales and I would go to the Christmas party at Texcuco. It is so much fun to be there at night!

  2. Holly, my granddaughter worked as a tour guide at Tezcuco Plantation when she was in high-school. I remember helping her modify some thrift-store prom gowns into antebellum dresses.

    Did you know that Tezcuco burned down a few years back? Sad.

  3. velvet, my knees have hurt me so bad for 3 months, did a doctor tell you to use the walker? if so do you think it would help heal your knees. mine, I think is probably arthritic at least i think so.
    I sleep on my left side but not now the only way I can get relieve to sleep is on my back.

  4. Patsy, I don't think the walker helps heal arthritic knees, but it helps keep some of the pressure off of them when I need to move around. My right knee has stiffened into a slightly bent position, which makes that leg a little shorter than the other, and it really, really hurts to put my body weight on it when the arthritis flares up. I do know that exercising the joints helps keep them from stiffening so much. No, the doctor didn't say to use a walker; it's just a temporary solution for especially bad flare-ups.

    I know it's difficult to sleep when your legs hurt, so I can sympathize there. I find that rubbing Aspercreme on the achy parts of my knees at bedtime seems to provide a little relief.

    Hope you'll feel better soon.

  5. Velvet, I am in tears reading the news of Tezcuco... It will forever be one of those magical places in my memory! My cousin and I had some wonderful times there. Then one Christmas, she got the bright idea to bring her mother in law...which was fine... and my mom should come along to keep the other lady company. Mom complained the entire night and made everyone miserable. We never went back.

    I am so sad so a wonderful peaceful place burned.

  6. Oh I had forgotten this...I will have to rent it somewhere...Thank you for a rememberance

  7. I loved the movie, as well, and I believe it was because of the plantation where it was filmed. For years, everytime I thought of southern US, that plantation floated through my mind.

    Thank you for the amazing photos and for the video, which gives such haunting images of the movie!

  8. 4th Sister, I don't know if you get the AMC channel as part of your cable package, but they've shown this movie several times recently.

    Marion, it's a trip back in time to walk around the grounds of these old plantations. Life seems to slow down there.

  9. I love this movie! Had no idea it was made in LA. I love all of Bette Davis' movies! I even love the song
    Bette Davie Eyes.

  10. Oh yes, I love that movie too! I was rooting for Bette through the whole movie. How nice that you're able to visit the place it was made at! I wonder if anyone's tempted to push that planter off the balcony, like Bette did in the movie.

  11. Sister-Three, Bette Davis's characters always gave moviegoers something to talk about. They either loved her or hated her. My second-favorite film of hers is "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."

    Janet, I noticed there are no longer any big planters on the balcony at Houmas House. Don't know if anybody ever pushed one off, but I imagine the temptation would be there if planters were present.


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