The Uninvited (1944)
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Movie InfoIn this film, Ray Milland and his sister Ruth Hussey buy a house on the Cornish seacoast, never suspecting that it is a "bad" house, subject to haunting. Before long, Milland and Hussey are visited by Gail Russell, whose late mother, it is said, is the house ghost.
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Critic Reviews for The Uninvited
For modern audiences, the movie is more elegantly creepy than truly scary, but it still charms.
'Tthis is the only way I can paint you,' says Milland, at the piano. 'Some black keys, and some white.' The speaker might as well be cinematographer Charles Lang, whose painterly compositions -- some black keys, and some white -- make this a spooky gem.
Its thrills and chills are little frissons that tickle the imagination instead of grabbing by the throat.
This proves to be more than just a ghost story, as the twists turn it into a full-blown mystery that stirs up memories of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca.
a serious-minded, visually elegant chiller with real dramatic weight that was destined to stand apart
The Uninvited was...one of the first films to treat the supernatural seriously, and to play ghosts and hauntings as something other than fodder for comedy.
[T]here's some genuinely spooky stuff here, the wailing sobs that wrack the seaside house on the gloomy cliff and all...
Brilliant! One of the greatest of all ghost stories.
Audience Reviews for The Uninvited
Part ghost story and part who-dunnit mystery, 1944's "The Uninvited" takes the mind into the musty basements and cobwebbed corners of the dark unknown. Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey star as a brother and sister who stumble upon a great, abandoned seaside mansion on the English coast and quickly (or rather impulsively) decide to buy it. The owners, old commander Beech (Donald Crisp) and his granddaughter Stella (Gail Russell) seem to have very differing opinions of the old mansion and it's prospecive buyers, and it becomes all to clear there's more to the situation than meets the eye. The upstairs artist' studio, for example, has an air of depressing dankness in spite of it's great windows and spectacular view. There's also the matter of the mysterious cold draft that sets the hairs on the back of your neck on edge, even as it carries the scent of flowered perfume. It's here that the movie works most effectively, as characters squint and peer into impenetrable darkness, so we too in the audience do likewise, hoping to catch some glint off the tv screen as to what it is that menaces the young Stella and her friends. The Uninvited is very much a film of it's time, in that it never gets too dark or sinister. However, things like ouiji boards and seances are given quite effective use in the film. "The forces at work here are dangerous", and it's true. But what's more dangerous: hauntings and ghosts, or their effect on the human psyche? This film is more along the lines of "The Ghost and Mrs Muir" or perhaps even "The Thin Man" in terms of feeling and quality. Even though there are plenty of light-hearted 1940s moments, I can't deny the eeriness of this film.More
Wonderfully evocative atmosphere. Gail Russell has the perfect dreamy quality to fit the story.More
The Uninvited has been right at the top of my must see list for years now and any film with that amount of build up is liable to disappoint; but that is not the case with this film, as The Uninvited really lives up to it's billing as one of the best ghost stories ever committed to celluloid! The film works because it is not over reliant on any one element of it; there's enough human drama to be interesting but not overbearing while the story is important but doesn't get in the way of the drama and this is all wrapped up in a thoroughly foreboding atmosphere. The plot focuses on an old house by a cliff side. Brother and sister(!) Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald take one look at the house and fall in love with it instantly and after speaking with the house owner, a Commander Beech, agree a price to buy the house. The deal is initially unwelcome by the Commander's granddaughter Stella as it was once her mother's house, who died when she was three years old. However, she soon starts up a friendship with the brother and it's not long before they realise that something is not quite right with the house.
The film is directed by Lewis Allen and he does a really good job with it. Much of the film takes place at night and this allows him to deliver a thoroughly chilling atmosphere and the way that the house is soaked in shadows is creepy in the extreme. The characters walk around with only candles to light the way and this fits in very well with the blood curdling screams of the unseen phantoms! The film stars the great Ray Milland, and he delivers a great performance; owning the screen with a charismatic swagger and helping to keep things interesting. The film also stars the beautiful Gail Russell as the love interest. The ghost plot almost takes a backseat at times to the developing love story between Milland and Russell's characters, but this is not a problem since the film always remains intriguing. The ghost story is not particularly complex but it has more than enough about it to carry along the film and the atmosphere. It all boils down to a suitable ending and overall this really is a brilliant little ghost story and one that should be a must see for all horror fans!
A welcome surprise in my diet of mostly modern and mainstream movies. A simple ghost story that turns out to be one of the best. The film is beautifully shot by Charles Lang. Mostly dark and atmospheric, it gives the film a somewhat dark tone, yet light at the same time. A wonderful score from Victor Young, who subsequently won an Oscar for his work here. A wonderful cast of characters, beginning with Ray Milland, Alan Napier, Ruth Hussey and the beautiful Gail Russell. Everybody does great work here. The film is also very well written, always moving and the dialogue is often witty and charming. While a great deal of exposition is given throughout the course of the latter half of the film, it's always interesting and doesn't lose its value. The film is creepy and fun, but never goes for flat-out scares. A rather romantic tale. All in all, a classic film that I really adore.More
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