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A pair of siblings (Ministry of Fear’s Ray Milland and The Philadelphia Story’s Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price; soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, THE UNINVITED, directed by Lewis Allen (Suddenly), was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young (Written on the Wind). A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night—this gothic Hollywood classic has it all.
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Ray Milland (Rick) is the perfectly suave leading man who falls in love with the beautiful Gail Russell, (Stella) a young 20 year old daughter of the mystery spirit who maybe haunting "Windward House", that sits perched upon a tall cliff on the haunted Cornish coast in England. [Oh, yeah, very Gothic!] Milland and his sister (Ruth Hussey) buy the house while on vacation at a heavily discounted price from the stern Commander Beech (Donald Crisp). His granddaughter, Stella, becomes upset with the sale until she is invited to visit the house, by Rick and his sister. From this point on it's "Katie bar the door!" as the house comes alive with mysterious scents, moans, cold spots, and murderous attempts on the life of young Stella.
The movie was produced by Paramount, based on the novel by Dorothy Macardle. It was directed by Lewis Allen and is in glorious black and white. For an on-the-set, studio produced film, it seems very realistic. (Check out the village scenes and the 1937 headlines of Soviet Airmen flying over the pole.) The suspense is well handled and for one of the first times, Hollywood treats hauntings as actually happening instead of laying it on some human pranks at the end of the movie. The ghost is handled respectfully, and in an almost English cinema type trait, you don't see the spirit until the last 30 minutes of the film. The movie has humor, thrills, and romance, and even hints at a "love that may not speak its own name".
I love this film. Take a chance. Invite your female friends over for the evening, pop some popcorn, turn out the lights, power down your cell phones, and have a few blankets next to the sofa, just in case.