Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Uninvited (1944)

Brother and Sisters (Ray Miland and Ruth Hussey) purchase a beautiful mansion on the seacoast for great price. It's cheap because it's haunted.

What follows is a mystery punctuated with some genuinely spooky scenes. The former owner's granddaughter desperately wants to visit the house even though grandpa says it's dangerous. The history of the house, slowly pieced together, helps explain the occurrences and direct the course of action.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz pointed out that the golden age of Hollywood produced few quality Ghost/Haunted House movies. Most that they did were comedies. The Uninvited stands alone as a quality, serious ghost movie.

Batman's Alfred has a key role. Remember him from The Mole People? The IMDB entry includes the keywords closeted and suspected Lesbian. I presume they are referring to the Ruth Hussey character, but I think they are reading too much into the unmarried sister angle.

What does come off as odd is when 40ish Miland starts hitting on 20ish granddaughter. Pretty-pretty Gail Russell battled a few ghosts of her own. Alcoholism gripped her life and she succumbed to a heart attack at age 36.

Atmospheric, well acted, and a complex story, The Uninvited is a very well crafted film. The story creeps without relying on jump-scares or feeling manipulative. It has the feel of a costume drama-period piece, without actually being one, but I don't hold that against it. I wouldn't object to a second viewing, but I'll settle on AMRU 3.5
"We will do nothing tonight that the priest wouldn't approve of."

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