Lullaby for a corpse

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Lullaby for a corpse
Original title Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1964
length 135 minutes
Age rating FSK 12 (formerly FSK 16)
Director Robert Aldrich
script Henry Farrell
Lukas Heller
production Robert Aldrich
Walter Blake
music Frank De Vol
camera Joseph F. Biroc
cut Michael Luciano

Lullaby for a Corpse is a psychological thriller by director Robert Aldrich from 1964. Lullaby for a Corpse was intended to be the follow-up film to Bette Davis ' and Joan Crawford's 1962 What Really Happened To Baby Jane? first the title of the novel Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? to get. However, during filming, Joan Crawford dropped out of the project. Her role was taken on by Olivia de Havilland .


1927: Young Southern Belle Charlotte Hollis and her married lover John Mayhew plan to run away during a party on the Hollis family's lavish estate. Charlotte's widowed, wealthy father, Big Sam, learns of the affair and threatens John with consequences if he continues the affair with Charlotte. Intimidated John Mayhew promises to end the relationship with Charlotte, which he shares with the disappointed girl at the party. Just minutes later, John is brutally murdered by chopping off his hand and head. When Charlotte is traumatized a little later and comes to the party guests with blood stains on her white dress, the locals suspect her of murder. Charlotte's father dies a year after the murder, dismayed to believe that his only daughter and heiress murdered John, while Charlotte thinks her father was the killer.

37 years later, 1964: Charlotte is a grumpy, elderly, wealthy maid who still lives in seclusion in the almost museum-like family estate. Only the quirky housekeeper Velma takes care of them. Due to the circumstances of the murder, the prevailing opinion among the blasphemous population of the small town is that Charlotte is the murderer, although her guilt has never been proven. The children of the place fear the house. It is considered the greatest test of courage to sneak in secretly. Charlotte's favorite song, Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte , which her murdered lover once sang, the children have rewritten into a mocking song. Charlotte's frozen life begins to move when her beloved mansion is to be demolished in the course of road construction. Charlotte refuses to leave the house, shoots the construction workers with a rifle and ignores the local sheriff's eviction order. In the fight against the eviction of her house, Charlotte calls on her cousin Miriam Deering, who lived with Charlotte and her father during her youth at the time of the murder in 1927.

When she arrives, however, Miriam says that the evacuation of the house can no longer be prevented. At the same time she renews her acquaintance with Charlotte's doctor Drew Bayliss, with whom she once had a relationship. Now mysterious and terrible incidents are happening in the mansion. Charlotte keeps hearing her favorite song on the harpsichord, even though no one else is in the house, the “ghost” of her fiancé appears, a man with no head or hands appears, an eerie voice calls her name and other shocking things happen. Dr. Bayliss explains that Charlotte is starting to go mad and needs help, that she may have to be deprived of authority over her considerable fortune. The housekeeper, Velma, fears that the doctor and Miriam are after Charlotte's fortune. Velma calls on the British ex-newspaper reporter Harry Willis, who also grows suspicious, but cannot do much either. Still interested in the murder, Mr. Willis visits John Mayhew's terminally ill and life-broken widow Jewel, who takes the opportunity to present him with a letter.

Velma is fired by Miriam for her rebellious behavior, but later returns to the house; there she finds Charlotte drugged in bed. The housekeeper tries to free her, but Miriam pushes her down the long stairs to her death. A little later, Charlotte believes, in a trance, Dr. To have shot Bayliss; then Miriam drives with her to the nearby river to remove the body. When Charlotte, who is completely hysterical and abused by Miriam, returns to the house, the dead man comes towards her as a water corpse. Charlotte suffers a nervous breakdown.

In the garden of the house, Miriam and Dr. Bayliss, who staged the events, their further plan: They want to have Charlotte declared insane and take to the madhouse (which would be easy with Dr. Bayliss' testimony as a long-time doctor) so that Miriam as the last remaining heiress could get Charlotte's fortune and herself together with Dr. Bayliss can treat yourself to a good life. Miriam also tells Bayliss that she observed the murder of John Mayhew in 1927: the real perpetrator was not Charlotte, but Mayhew's jealous wife Jewel, who learned of her husband's relationship through Miriam's gossip. With this knowledge Miriam blackmailed and bullied Jewel for many years until she was penniless; at the same time Miriam hungered for Charlotte's fortune for all this time.

Charlotte found out about this by chance when she overheard the two standing directly under her balcony. In anger, she pushes a heavy stone flower bowl from the parapet; Both can take one last look at Charlotte before they are killed by the flower bowl. The next morning, Charlotte is taken away by officials in front of the gawking population - where to remains unclear. As Miriams' Jewel Mayhew and Dr. Bayliss' death hears, dies the terminally ill. The old reporter Harry Willis hands Charlotte a letter from Jewel Mayhew, who kept her murder secret until her death and now confesses it to Charlotte in a final letter. When Charlotte is driven away in a car, she takes one last look at the house about to be demolished; then she turns her gaze forward.


The Houmas mansion served as the backdrop for the film

Initially, the role of Miriam was planned for Joan Crawford , which was directed by Aldrich and alongside Bette Davis with What Happened Really to Baby Jane? had landed a surprise success. Joan Crawford fell ill shortly after filming began and was unable to continue playing the role. Other sources say she and Bette Davis had a conflict on the set and Crawford accused the director of preferring Bette Davis. Before Olivia de Havilland took on the role of Miriam, she was also offered to Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh . Leigh knocked her out with the words, “ No thanks. I can just bear to see Joan Crawford's face at 6 a.m., but not Bette Davis' face. "

For Bruce Dern in the role of the murder victim, this was his first significant film role. For his film wife Mary Astor , however, it was her last role. She then retired from the acting business. Victor Buono - who played Charlotte's father in film reviews - had an important role as the clumsy and greedy piano player in What Really Happened To Baby Jane? inside. He was 26 years old at the time, around two decades younger than his role.

The setting for the mansion was The Houmas in Louisiana , also known as Burnside Plantation , which is listed as a monument on the National Register of Historic Places . Recordings were also made here for the films Mandingo and Fletch - The Jack of all trades .


The theme song Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte is sung by singer Al Martino in the credits . In the opening credits, however, the following mocking song can be heard, which the children in the neighborhood sing:

Chop chop, sweet Charlotte
Chop chop till he's dead
Chop chop, sweet Charlotte
Chop off his hand and head
To meet your lover you ran - chop chop
Now everyone understands
Just why you went to meet your love - chop chop
To chop off his head and hand


The German dubbed version was created for the German cinema premiere in 1964.

role actor German Dubbing voice
Charlotte Bette Davis Eva Eras
Miriam Olivia de Havilland Marianne Wischmann
Dr. Drew Joseph Cotten Heinz Engelmann
Harry Cecil Kellaway Robert Klupp
Sheriff Luke Standish Wesley Addy Friedrich Schoenfelder
John Mayhew Bruce Dern Reinhard Glemnitz
Foreman at construction site George Kennedy Horst Niendorf


"Hard, psychologically disguised thriller with blatant shudder and horror effects for the time it was made."

“Sick people driven by complexes, delusions and thirst for revenge unleash a game rich in abnormalities that only arouses disgust. Also not advisable to adults. "


  • Seven Oscar nominations in 1965: for Agnes Moorehead for best supporting actress, William Glasgow and Raphael Bretton for artistic direction, Joseph F. Biroc for camera work, Norma Koch (costumes), Michael Luciano (film editing), Frank De Vol for film music and again for Frank De Vol (music) and Mack David (lyrics) for the song Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte .
  • 1965 - The Edgar of the " Edgar Allan Poe Award " for Henry Farrell and Lukas Heller for the best film.
  • 1965 - Agnes Moorehead awarded a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
  • 1965 - the "Golden Laurel" of the Laurel Awards for Bette Davis for best actress, for Agnes Moorehead for best supporting actress (2nd place) and for Frank De Vol and Mack David (3rd place) for the song Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for lullaby for a corpse . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , September 2005 (PDF; test number: 33 729 V / DVD).
  2. Tony Reeves: Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte film locations. In: web presence The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, accessed November 17, 2013 .
  3. ^ "Lullaby for a corpse" in the synchronized files
  4. Lullaby for a corpse. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. Evangelical Press Association, Munich, Review No. 187/1965