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

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Ruth Warrick and Anne Baxter
GUEST IN THE HOUSE (1944). Director: John Brahm.

Dr. Dan Butler (Scott McKay) brings his girlfriend and patient Evelyn (Anne Baxter) to his family home for a rest cure, and she manages to bring simmering tensions to the surface. Others in the household include Dan's artist brother Douglas (Ralph Bellamy), his wife Ann (Ruth Warrick), their Aunt Martha (Aline McMahon), their little girl Lee (Connie Laird), the peppery maid Hilda (Margaret Hamilton) and her husband John (Percy Kilbride), as well as Miriam (Marie McDonald), who is Douglas' model and who some suspect is carrying on with the painter. Evelyn sets her cap on Douglas but although she's blamed for the events that transpire they seem precipitated more by the others' suspicions than by her manipulations. The cast makes the movie more interesting than it might have been otherwise, but Leave Her to Heaven the following year made much more of the theme of an emotionally disturbed, selfish woman causing havoc in a household. Baxter gives a typically vivid and appropriate performance, while the others are all on target as well, and there's a pleasant score by Werner Janssen, but this is a half-baked melodrama and little else. Well-directed by Brahm, who also directed The Undying Monster, The Mad Magician, Hangover Square, The Locket, and many episodes of such shows as Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Verdict: At least it isn't predictable. **1/2.

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