Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

THE UNINVITED


THE UNINVITED (1944). Director: Lewis Allen.

In 1937 England, brother and sister Roderick (Ray Milland) and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey) come across a lovely deserted manor by the sea and fall in love with it. A young lady, Stella (Gail Russell), grew up in the house and her mother died in it (or near it). Even as Roderick and Stella find themselves increasingly attracted to each other, a sinister presence makes itself felt inside the house. Is it the ghost of Stella's mother, Mary, another woman named Carmel, or someone else? The performances from the stars and supporting cast -- Alan Napier, Donald Crisp, Barbara Everest, Dorothy Stickney, Cornelia Otis Skinner -- are uniformly excellent. This isn't for all tastes, but those who go for it will find it suspenseful and very entertaining. The movie hints at some things that might never have gotten past the production code. Elizabeth Russell of The Seventh Victim and Weird Woman, among others, was the model for the portrait of dead Mary. Composer Victor Young wrote the lovely "Stella by Starlight" for this film. Gail Russell died tragically young at 36. Her bio on imdb.com states that her role in this film was "insignificant," which is hardly the case.

Verdict: Fascinating -- or much ado about nothing. Your call. ***.

1 comment:

The Uninvited said...

I saw this movie many years ago. Every time I knew it was coming on, I would turn off all the lights and make sure I was alone. It scared me to death.