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

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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