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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

The Uninvited (1944)

Starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner
Directed by Lewis Allen
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A composer and his sister move into a charming house in the English countryside, only to discover it's haunted, and try to solve the mystery behind the ghost and her connection to a lovely young woman.

This atmospheric mystery has probably lost some of its power over the years due to consequent ghost films, as it seems neither creepy nor frightening today, but there's a definite beauty to it, with polished cinematography by Charles Lang and a fine screenplay by Dodie Smith and Frank Partos (adapted from Dorothy Macardle's novel).  A romance between Russell and the much older Milland doesn't come off as believable, but the staging of the ghost scenes and special effects are just about perfect, and veterans in the cast like Crisp, Skinner, and Alan Napier lend potency to the story and elegance to the dialogue.  Although I feel Victor Young's music score doesn't quite create a mood quite chilling enough, his "Stella By Starlight" melody representing both Russell's character and the mystery of the house is absolutely beautiful.

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