|Ruth Gordon and Geraldine Page|
Newly widowed Claire Marrabel (Geraldine Page) discovers that her husband left her with virtually no assets and a lot of debts, so what's a poor woman to do? She kills her housekeepers (we learn this even before the opening credits) at her Arizona dwelling and takes their assets for herself. But she has a formidable adversary in her new companion and potential victim, Alice (Ruth Gordon), who is there, unbeknownst to her employer, to find out what happened to a friend of hers who disappeared. With adept and amusing performances from the two leads, as well as a lively physical fight between the two, it's a shame that they are wasted in a movie as mediocre as Aunt Alice? The film was produced by Robert Aldrich, co-produced by his company, and was filmed at the Aldrich studios, but the role Aldrich most needed to play was as director, as Lee H. Katzin fails to imbue the film with much tension or suspense. The climax occurs nearly fifteen minutes before the comparatively flat wind-up. A dull sub-plot concerning a burgeoning relationship between duller characters played by Robert Fuller [The Brain from Planet Arous] and Rosemary Forsyth only pads out the running time. Anyone expecting another What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte will be sorely disappointed.
Verdict: Even "aging actresses" deserve better than this. **.