Ladies in Retirement (1941)

Ida Lupino Makes the Show

I'm not sure why I loved this movie so much, it's a bit stark, but there's a certain charm to it. Of course it stars Ida Lupino, so that just might explain it all! It also starred Evelyn Keyes and Elsa Lanchester who also appeared in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Bishop's Wife.

From Huggo on IDb:  In the late nineteenth century, Ellen Creed works as the live-in companion to Miss Leonora Fiske, a retired actress who lives in the English countryside and who still retains her theatrical mannerisms. Ellen receives notice that the landlady of her two sisters, Emily Creed and Louisa Creed, who currently live in London, is threatening to call the police to haul them away to an asylum because of their disruptive behavior due to their mentally deranged state. Ellen will not allow her sisters to be institutionalized, and convinces Miss Fiske to allow them to stay with them for a couple of days. Miss Fiske was unaware of their deranged mental state when she agreed and is also unaware that Ellen hopes to make their stay permanent. Both issues eventually become apparent to Miss Fiske, who cannot tolerate how Emily and Louisa disrupt her home life. However, Ellen "convinces" Miss Fiske to take an extended leave from the house, while Ellen tells her sisters that she bought the house from Miss Fiske, which the sisters are not to tell anyone else. The secrets that Ellen is keeping about the situation threatens to bring her and her sisters' lives down when they receive a visit from their distant nephew Albert Feather, a cad who has his own financial well being as his main priority.

REVIEWS:  The November 7, 1941 New York Times says the movie "is an exercise in slowly accumulating terror with all the psychological trappings of a Victorian thriller. (And) has been painstakingly done, beautifully photographed and tautly played, especially in its central role, and for the most part it catches all the script's nuances of horror quite as effectively as did the original play version. Here and there, through the suggestive play of the camera, it has even been heightened into breathtaking melodrama."  I'm not familiar with the play, but I agree that this is an excellent psychological thriller!

Ellen Creed: It takes a lot of courage to kill for the first time, Albert. Once you've sold your soul to the devil, it becomes easier. Much easier.

RATED: Very enjoyable movie.
DO I WANNA OWN IT?:'s on YouTube:

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