Saturday, April 18, 2015

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? - Malneck & Mercer "Goody Goody" (1971)

Time for another Saturday Night At The Movies Special in The Dungeon! The poster for "What's The Matter With Helen?" doesn't leave much to the imagination, no matter what language it is in! Shelley Winters as Helen looks crazy as Hell, and Debbie Reynolds as Adelle looks equally dead!

So what the F is the matter with Helen? She's a 100% bonifide nut case!
Pretty simple concept really!

Here's a rare shot of Adelle and Helen without much makeup on! 

After both their sons are convicted of a grisly murder, Adelle and Helen move to Los Angeles to open a dance studio!

Debbie Reynolds is both beautiful and talented, and this is probably the freakiest movie she has ever been in! It's definitely not a sequel to "Tammy And The Bachelor!"

Speaking of freaky, am I the only one who gets creeped out by weird dolls like this?

In an effort to perk Helen up a bit, Adelle cuts her long hair!

Since this movie is about a couple of women, there's more than a few scenes of weird guys hanging out in the shadows!

"What's The Matter With Helen" could just also almost be considered a musical! It's the 1930's and Shirley Temple is all the rage! One of the songs that is strung throughout the film is the 1936 hit "Goody Goody" written by Matty Malneck and Johnny Mercer. This song has been recorded by countless artists, and went to #20 on the Billboard charts as a recording by Frankie Lymon in 1957! If you really want to do yourself a favor, go check out this version by Marie Adams & The Three Tons of Joy recorded live on The Johnny Otis Show! Whoa!!!

Dennis Weaver is Linc Palmer, the super wealthy Father of one of those little girls! To me, he comes across as a sleazy weasel, but he really turns out to be a nice guy! No matter what Dennis did in his career, in my book he'll always be remembered as Chester on "Gunsmoke!" I don't know why, it only ran for 290 episodes!

Here's another shot of a massive and mysterious shadow of a man!

"What's The Matter With Helen?" has got a pretty star-studded cast! Dungeon hero Timothy Carey even makes a brief appearance as an annoying bum, the figure that was at the door!

Linc takes Adelle out to a floating casino, and she gets a chance to show off her Tango skills!

Helen is a stay at home Christian, but Adelle wants to, and does enjoy some of the finer things in life!

Time for a recital, and since Linc's daughter is one of the stars of the show, he doesn't have a problem paying for a theatre and some sets like this! Pretty wild for a small dance studio! This performance was titled "Animal Crackers In My Soup!"

The Mother of the little girl doing the bawdiest of the acts, "Oh You Nasty Man," goes through the motions backstage!

What do you think about this stage setup? Debbie gets to show off her tap dancing skills!

Wow! What an outfit!!

One of the guys hanging out in the shadows was this dude who was just trying to let Helen know she had inherited some money! He walks up the stairs to tell her the good news and she gives him a shove, and down the stairs he goes, and cracks his head wide open! The bottom still is a quick flash hidden horror rearing it's ugly little head from Helen's past!

Always awesome Agnes (Endora) Moorehead is great as the evangelist Sister Alma that Helen is always listening to on the radio!

"What's The Matter With Helen" is an MGM Shelly Winters twofer that also includes another questionable film "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?" and it's available from Amazon Prime for $4.48 with free shipping! You wanna talk about a deal?


Grant said...

Another clever thing about this one is how it gives you fictional versions of a lot of "period" things. Along with the girls hoping to be the next Shirley Temple, the two women's sons are a kind of Leopold and Loeb (although that story is from the ' 20s not the ' 30s), and the Agnes Moorehead character is a kind of Amie MacPherson.

Eegah!! said...

Good historical perspective! Thanx Grant!

Greg Goodsell said...

Director Curtis Harrington was reportedly very bitter with director John Schlesinger for stapling in an Aimee Semple McPherson radio evangelist in THE DAY OF THE LOCUST in 1975. He thought Schlesinger was being a plagiarist.

Grant said...

I couldn't help laughing at the "Tammy" reference, because it underlines just how much of a departure this one is for Debbie Reynolds.

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