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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Haunting (1963)

Starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Fay Compton
Directed by Robert Wise
(actor & director credits courtesy

A paranormal researcher invites a pair of women to assist him in studying a genuinely haunted house, but the psychosis of one of the women makes her an attractive target for the ghosts.

Based on Shirley Jackson's famed novel, The Haunting Of Hill House, this is a well-regarded film from Oscar-winning director Robert Wise, and features excellent cinematography from Davis Boulton and an effective score from Humphrey Searle.  It's a well-polished suspenser with very good acting, but it's just not my cup of tea.  Perhaps it's due to the at times overwhelming focus on Harris' character or the reliance on unearthly noises alone to convey the presence of the ghosts.  There are a number of sequences I like, such as doors mysteriously closing, and Johnson's dangerous pursuit of Harris up a rickety staircase, but I just don't find the film all that eerie or nightmarish, which I think is what the cast and crew must have been striving for.

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