Monday, March 7, 2011

The Uninvited (1944).

The Uninvited(1944). Supernatural/ mystery/romance. film directed by Lewis Allen. It is based on the Dorothy Macardle novel Uneasy Freehold. It was nominated for a 1945 Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography. Cast: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Donald Crisp.

The movie begins with a narration by Ray Milland: They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland. Mists gather here and sea fog and ghost stories:

Rick Fitzgerald and his sister Pamela, discover a beautiful, empty, cliff side mansion while walking along the cliffs. They follow their little dog " Bobby" inside the mansion, while chasing a squirrel. Pamela loves the house and convinces her composer, brother Rick, to buy the house as it be a wonderful place for him to work. When they go to see the owner, his granddaughter, Stella Meredith, tells them that the Windward House, is not for sale. Beech, agrees to sell the house only after telling the Fitzgeralds, that there have been complaints about strange occurrences in the house. The next day, a shopkeeper tells Rick that years earlier, Beech's daughter, Mary Meredith, fell from a cliff and died. Later, when Rick runs into Stella, he invites her to go sailing. While out on the boat, Stella tells Rick about how her mother, Mary Meredith, wore mimosa perfume and lived at Windward for three years after Stella was born.

Before he leaves for London on business, Rick asks Stella to visit Pamela at the house for tea, but when Rick returns with his housekeeper, he finds out that Stella did not come over. That night, Rick is awakened by the sound of a woman sobbing and Pamela says that she has also heard crying every night. It soon becomes obvious that the house is haunted and they go on a super natural journey, to solve the mystery of house.

Fun Facts:

Helen Walker and Veronica Lake were tested for the lead roles.

Some of the interior sets of Windwood Manor, such as the main staircase and parlor, were re-dressed sets from the 1942 film, I Married a Witch (1942).

It is a movie you will not soon forget... the house, the sound of the cries and that cliff.... Even with no gore, it will give you the chills. The acting is great and the music helps set the mood. The house was beautiful. It maybe one of your favorite thrillers.

Ruth Hussey (October 30, 1914 – April 19, 2005). While performing in a play in Los Angeles, she was spotted by MGM talent scout, Billy Grady. MGM signed her to a players contract and she made her film debut in 1937. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as, Elizabeth Imbrie, the girlfriend of Jimmy Stewart's character Macaulay Connor in the film, The Philadelphia Story(1940).

Hussey also worked with Robert Taylor in, Flight Command (1940), Robert Young in H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), Van Heflin in, Tennessee Johnson (1942), Ray Milland in The Uninvited (1944) and Alan Ladd in, The Great Gatsby (1949), The Facts of Life(1960) with Bob Hope.

Gail Russell (September 21, 1924 – August 26, 1961) Russell's extraordinary beauty brought her to the attention of Paramount Pictures in 1942. Although she was almost clinically shy and had no acting experience, Paramount had great expectations for her and hired an acting coach to work with her.

At the age of 19 she performed in her first film, Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour (1943). Russell performed in several more films in the early and mid 1940s, the most well known, The Uninvited (1944) with Ray Milland, and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1944). Russell later performed in the more popular films, Calcutta (1947) with Alan Ladd, and two films with John Wayne, Angel and the Badman (1947) and Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

She continued working after 1947, and married actor Guy Madison in 1949, but by 1950, it was well known that she had become a victim of alcoholism and Paramount did not renew her contract. After a five-year absence, she returned to work co-starring with Randolph Scott, in the western, Seven Men from Now (1956) and in the film, The Tattered Dress (1957).


  1. Dawn, The Uninvited is such a favorite of mine. It comes out every Halloween, and 2 or 3 times a year! The atmosphere is perfect, Ray Milland is at his most handsome, humorous and romantic, the house is eerie, and it was such a treat to see stage great Cornelia Otis Skinner play the mad Miss Holliwell.

    Poor Gail Russell, she had such a sad life and a sad death. I believe most of us think great beauty will fix anything, but it does not seem to be true for a lot of movie actresses.

    Good post!

  2. Ooops, how could I forget to mention the movie's gorgeous music -- Stella by Starlight, just one of the best!

  3. Great post Dawn. I've loved "The Uninvited" since childhood and remember when TCM premiered it a few years ago around Halloween. Was thrilled because I knew that meant it was now part of the TCM library and would air again. There are so many good things to highlight in "The Uninvited" - the story, the film's look, the music, the wonderful cast. I've always felt Cornelia Otis Skinner's Miss Holloway must've been a not-too-distant relative of Judith Anderson's Mrs. Danvers. Thanks for more on Gail Russell, she was lovely and perfect as Stella. Btw, sometimes watching "The Univited" I can almost smell the scent of mimosa!

  4. Becky, Thank you. The film, The Uninvited, is going to be on my Halloween, movie list of favorites. I agree.. The beautiful, music is a big part of the film.

    Eve, Thank you. I saw the film, The Uninvited, for the first time last year. I could not believe that I have never seen this beautiful, movie before. I'm going to check to see if it is on DVD.

  5. Eve, I had to look up the pictures of, Cornelia Otis Skinner's Miss Holloway and Judith Anderson's Mrs. Danvers. You are right they do "look alike". I will post up a "looks like" post, soon.


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