The Uninvited Reviews
Brother and sister duo Roderick (Ray Milland) and Pamela (Ruth Hussey) Fitzgerald are closer than most siblings, and during a trip to the seaside they discover a beautiful but rusty manor looming on top of a hillside with gothic elegance. On a whim (which is code for Pamela's insistence), they buy the home at a relatively cheap price. However, it isn't cheap because there is mold growing in the ceiling; it isn't cheap because the second floor is about to collapse - it's cheap because it is rumored that the house is, in fact, haunted.
Roderick and Pamela are sensible, but it isn't long before they begin to notice strange occurrences in the night, including ghost movie co-stars like moaning, candles suddenly going out, and a mist that looks a little bit too much like a woman in a dress. Their neighbor, lovely ingenue Stella (Gail Russell) has a close relation with the manor - her late mother may actually be the one who is moaning, blowing out candles, and appearing in a swirling mist.
While the plot sounds compelling on paper, it's treated too light-heartedly. Early scenes in the film include the previously mentioned moaning and a slamming of a door, but neither is clothed in terror but instead, playfulness, as it is accompanied with music that sounds as if it should be playing during a scene where Betty Grable gets herself into a bit of a pickle. And considering Betty Grable isn't starring and this isn't a Technicolor musical, we know we're in trouble.
Certainly, there are many well-lit scenes of ghastly paranormal activity. The seance scene and the thrilling climax of the film all send chills up the spine - but most are cut short, only to be followed by uninteresting romantic angles and drama that's a bit too paltry for its own good. When it's discovered that there are not one but two ghosts later on in the film, the focus is less on fright and more about Russell's wide-eyes questioning which one is her mother. Sigh.
The star of the film though, is not the actors (although the cast is excellent, particularly Russell, who's innocent beauty is put to good use), but the cinematography. Without it, the film would be a complete failure, but Charles Lang's sumptuous black-and-white stylings are immersed in shadows that hold enigma that is unsettling even when the ghosts aren't around to wreak havoc. Once the spirits themselves are revealed, it's the icing on the cake, the vanilla ice cream to the cherry pie. The scenes that take place at night are filled with dread, and are so well shot that once daylight comes around, the atmosphere set is thrown away and is replaced by forgettable drama.
So many moments of "The Uninvited" are masterful - why must there be so many mediocre things in the meantime to deter it? It provides many of the ghost movie clichés that are laughable today, but it certainly isn't as unnerving as it hopes to be.
The story was the first to actually feature a serious ghost and ghost story,
A brother and sister come across an empty house by the sea, and trace the owners to buy it,The owners grand daughter objects as she once to live in the house before her mother died there,Eventually she falls for the brother, Ray Milland, but things start to happen at the house, and the story unfolds from there. It really is a very good horror for its time, The ending has a great climax, but I won't spoil it.
I'm sure the squirrel at the beginning must have been someone's pet though!