Status: Released in 1963 (Role portrayed by Olivia de Havilland)
Character: "Mrs. Hilyard"
Character summary: After recently breaking her hip, Mrs. Hilyard installs a free-standing elevator in her palatial house, and becomes trapped in it when the power to her house is suddenly severed by a faulty powerline. Afterword, several psychotic thugs stumble upon her situation and use the opportunity to rob the house and torment the trapped Mrs. Hilyard before they plan to kill her.
Joan's involvement in the production:
In January 1962, Joan signed on to play the lead in producer Luther Davis' "Lady In A Cage," with filming scheduled to begin in March 1962.
Later, filming was postponed, and rescheduled to begin in the summer of 1962, with Ralph Nelson directing after he completed work on "The Dupont Show of the Week" episode "The Richest Man in Bogota." Actress Elizabeth Montgomery was slated to also star in the film during this time period. However, again filming was postponed due to scheduling conflicts with Joan's May 1962 Pepsi-Cola schedule, which included a tour in Italy on behalf of Pepsi-Cola, and her filming "The Caretakers" in June and "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" in July and August 1962.
In July of 1962, Joan recorded voice-over television advertisements for Ralph Nelson's recently completed film "Requiem For A Heavyweight," stating her reason for doing so is "I just think it is such a beautiful picture.”
In July 1962, the film was scheduled to begin filming on the Producers Studio sound stage on September 17, 1962, following Joan completing work on "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" However, following the revised filming schedule, the financing on the film began to fall through, and director Ralph Nelson left the production in August to begin work producing and directing "Lilies In The Field. Joan also left the production shortly afterword when producer Luther Davis could no longer pay her agreed-upon salary for the film.
Joan publicly reported her reason for turning down the film was because the role was too similar to her character in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" and she feared being type-casted.
Webmaster's note: While it is possible that Joan feared being type-casted, her public explanation for turning down this role is odd considering she was preparing for this film at the same time she was in negotiations to film "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?". Joan would have had full knowledge of the similarities of both characters. According to this webmaster's research, Joan left the production in late 1962, following the film's financials become unstable, but more importantly, due to the loss of the film's original director Ralph Nelson. These elements, no doubt, made Joan lose confidence in the production.
After Joan left the production, Rosalind Russell was Luther Davis' first choice to replace her, however, Russell declined the role.
In December 1962, Olivia de Havilland agreed to do the film in exchange for a very minimal up-front salary and a percentage of the film's profits. Furthermore, several elements in the film had to be altered before de Havilland agreed to the film. This included "toning down" some of the film's violence. Filming began with de Havilland on January 30th 1963, and was completed in March 1963.
The house exterior used in the film was reportedly once the home of silent film star Mary Miles Minter.