Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Rather dull and predictable ...but the last 2 or 3 minutes added 2 stars to my rating. Apart from Anne Baxter's 'crazy as a bag of hammers' performance the rest of the cast bored me.
Dan Proctor, a doctor, arrives at the home of his brother with an emotionally vulnerable and unstable woman, Evelyn, who he seems to be smitten for. At the house, Evelyn becomes obsessed with Dan's brother Douglas, who is happily married. This sets off a chain of events that will push towards tragedy. Guest in the House is a noirish, brooding melodrama which is really centered around Evelyn Heath. Much of the film follows Evelyn's ability to manipulate the home situation between Douglas and his wife, as well as the housekeepers as she connives to have Douglas all to herself. Anne Baxter really is fantastic as the emotionally unstable Evelyn Heath. Everything about her performance feels volatile, yet conniving as I just found myself waiting for her to completely snap. She plays the part perfectly capturing the child-like emotional puppy love, as well as the subtle rage which exists in Evelyn. It's really a complicated character that showcases fragility, rage, naivety and cunning which Ann Baxter really captures perfectly. Brahm does use some internal dialogue to better show the personality disorder and internal affliction which Anne suffers, but its only used a few times as a way to show her pure thoughts to the viewer. Almost every scene in the film takes place in the house, creating this claustrophobic feeling which aids the film. Brahm pulls out all the stops from the lightning and thunder, lamps piercing the dark rooms and looming shadows to create an atmospheric setting for which the film to unfold in.
This could have been a good movie, if not for the fact that the audience knows that a doctor keeping a woman at his house to treat her is ridiculous, this could have been a good movie. I mean, why wasn't she kept at the hospital? That's weird.
Yes, the worst houseguest is the one who tries to steal your husband.
Guest in the House (aka "Satan in Skirts")
Starring: Anne Baxter and Ralph Bellamy
Director: John Brahm
Douglas (Bellamy) invites the ill fiance (Baxter) of his brother to spend the summer with him and his family at their house on the New England coast, so the fresh air and relaxation can speed her recovery. The twisted, mentally unstable woman is soon secretly manipulating everyone in the household, turning them against one another, all so she may possess the house and Douglas for herself.
"Guest in the House" is a slow-burn melodrama where the viewers watch one evil, mentally deranged woman gradually destroy the love between members of a happy home (where even the servants and employees are treated as though they are part of the family). Although some of her manipulations are so clumsy and should have been easy for the other characters to see through (and thus the believability of the story is strained a bit), it is engrossing to watch Baxter's character gradually poison the mood in the house and increasingly isolate Douglas from everyone else by sowing doubts and suspicion.
I did find myself wondering, however, if Anne Baxter had more than one facial expression and vocal intonation in her bag of acting tools. It seemed like she wore same expression for most of the film (except for teh occisonal smile) and it wasn't until the final scenes that she seemed to be doing anything but running lines.
Anne Baxter aside (and it's a big thing to set aside, as she's the film's co-star), the rest of the cast performed nicely. Bellamy seemed slightly miscast, but he played the part as the kindhearted, somewhat oblivious artist, husband, and father. The staging and lighting of the scenes was also nicely done. In fact, it's only the entirely too slow of the movie's first hour that lands the film at the low end of average as far as my rating goes.
Moody and atmospheric, nice cast, but Ralph Bellamy is miscast. Excellent score. A bit overlong, but it was never boring. Great lighting.