Picture Mommy Dead (1966)

88 mins | Horror | 2 November 1966

Director:

Bert I. Gordon

Writer:

Robert Sherman

Producer:

Bert I. Gordon

Cinematographer:

Ellsworth Fredricks

Editor:

John Bushelman

Production Company:

Berkeley Productions
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HISTORY

The 3 Dec 1965 LAT announced that veteran actress Gene Tierney would star in the upcoming Bert I. Gordon production, provisionally titled Color Mommy Dead. Filming was scheduled to begin the following month at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. According to the 31 Dec 1965 LAT, Gordon auditioned eighty young actresses before assigning the role of “Susan Shelly” to his daughter, Susan Gordon. The picture was referred to by its official title, Picture Mommy Dead. The 19 Jan 1966 DV reported that Hedy Lamarr was cast in a featured role, marking her return to the screen after an eight-year absence. Gordon stated that Gene Tierney was replaced by Martha Hyer after her character “was changed to a different type.” Principal photography began 24 Jan 1966, according to 28 Jan 1966 DV production charts.
       On 29 Jan 1966, NYT revealed that Lamarr had been arrested two days earlier for shoplifting at the May Company, a Los Angeles, CA, department store. At a press conference held the day after her arrest, Lamarr denied the charges and showed reporters two crumpled checks totaling $14,000, signed by an unidentified film producer, claiming them as evidence that she had no need to shoplift. On 4 Feb 1966, DV announced that Zsa Zsa Gabor was replacing Lamarr, after the latter failed to report to work the previous day, claiming “nervous exhaustion.” Location filming was underway at the Doheny Estate, also known as Greystone Mansion, an historic landmark in Beverly Hills, CA. The 8 Feb 1966 LAT ... More Less

The 3 Dec 1965 LAT announced that veteran actress Gene Tierney would star in the upcoming Bert I. Gordon production, provisionally titled Color Mommy Dead. Filming was scheduled to begin the following month at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. According to the 31 Dec 1965 LAT, Gordon auditioned eighty young actresses before assigning the role of “Susan Shelly” to his daughter, Susan Gordon. The picture was referred to by its official title, Picture Mommy Dead. The 19 Jan 1966 DV reported that Hedy Lamarr was cast in a featured role, marking her return to the screen after an eight-year absence. Gordon stated that Gene Tierney was replaced by Martha Hyer after her character “was changed to a different type.” Principal photography began 24 Jan 1966, according to 28 Jan 1966 DV production charts.
       On 29 Jan 1966, NYT revealed that Lamarr had been arrested two days earlier for shoplifting at the May Company, a Los Angeles, CA, department store. At a press conference held the day after her arrest, Lamarr denied the charges and showed reporters two crumpled checks totaling $14,000, signed by an unidentified film producer, claiming them as evidence that she had no need to shoplift. On 4 Feb 1966, DV announced that Zsa Zsa Gabor was replacing Lamarr, after the latter failed to report to work the previous day, claiming “nervous exhaustion.” Location filming was underway at the Doheny Estate, also known as Greystone Mansion, an historic landmark in Beverly Hills, CA. The 8 Feb 1966 LAT noted that shooting at the estate would be completed within five weeks. Several of the fifty-five rooms were redecorated using furnishings from the Paramount prop department, many of which were purchased from the New York City warehouse of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
       Picture Mommy Dead opened 2 Nov 1966 in New York City to negative reviews. It was released the following month in Los Angeles and did poorly at the box office, according to the 20 Dec 1966 DV. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Jan 1966
p. 12.
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1966
p. 1, 30.
Daily Variety
2 Dec 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1966
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
3 Dec 1965
Section D, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
31 Dec 1965
Section A, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1966
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1966
Section E, p. 24.
New York Times
29 Jan 1966
p. 13.
New York Times
2 Nov 1966
p. 38.
New York Times
3 Nov 1966
p. 45.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Color Mommy Dead
Release Date:
2 November 1966
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 2 November 1966
Los Angeles opening: December 1966
Production Date:
24 January--early March 1966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
PathéColor
Duration(in mins):
88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Young Susan Shelly, suffering from shock and amnesia, is confined to a sanitarium-convent following the death of her mother, Jessica, in a fire. After 3 years Susan returns home to her father, Edward, and his new wife, Francene, Susan's former governess. Francene, who married Edward because she thought he would inherit his wife's total estate, applies pressure on Edward to have Susan recommitted, knowing that her inheritance would revert to Edward should she be declared insane or die before her 25th birthday. Failing this, Francene persuades her lover, Anthony, the caretaker, to help her recover from Susan a valuable necklace once belonging to Jessica and now missing. During a thunderstorm Susan reconstructs the events leading up to the fire in which her mother perished. She realizes that she did steal the necklace and finds it but refuses to give it to Francene, believing in her hysteria that the woman is Jessica. A chase ensues; Francene discovers Anthony calling the police and stabs him to death. Edward joins in the fray and strangles Francene, just as he killed Jessica, and for the same reason, because of her adultery with Anthony. The scene is witnessed by Susan, who, as she did 3 years before, sets fire to the house and departs with her father, happy in the thought that she is the only woman in his ... +


Young Susan Shelly, suffering from shock and amnesia, is confined to a sanitarium-convent following the death of her mother, Jessica, in a fire. After 3 years Susan returns home to her father, Edward, and his new wife, Francene, Susan's former governess. Francene, who married Edward because she thought he would inherit his wife's total estate, applies pressure on Edward to have Susan recommitted, knowing that her inheritance would revert to Edward should she be declared insane or die before her 25th birthday. Failing this, Francene persuades her lover, Anthony, the caretaker, to help her recover from Susan a valuable necklace once belonging to Jessica and now missing. During a thunderstorm Susan reconstructs the events leading up to the fire in which her mother perished. She realizes that she did steal the necklace and finds it but refuses to give it to Francene, believing in her hysteria that the woman is Jessica. A chase ensues; Francene discovers Anthony calling the police and stabs him to death. Edward joins in the fray and strangles Francene, just as he killed Jessica, and for the same reason, because of her adultery with Anthony. The scene is witnessed by Susan, who, as she did 3 years before, sets fire to the house and departs with her father, happy in the thought that she is the only woman in his life. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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