Criterion Collection: The UninvitedDirector: Lewis Allen
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The Uninvited is one of the rare Hollywood ghost stories that does not cop out with a "logical" ending. In fact, the film has more in common with British ghost tales of the period, in that the characters calmly accept spectral visitations as though they were everyday occurrences. Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister, Pamela (Ruth Hussey), buy a house on the Cornish seacoast, never suspecting that it is a "bad" house, subject to haunting. Before long, Roderick and Pamela are visited by Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), whose late mother, it is said, is the house ghost. It is further supposed that the ghost means to do Stella harm. Stella's grandfather Commander Beech (Donald Crisp) is close-mouthed on the issue, but it is clear he knows something that he isn't telling. Sure enough, there is a secret to the manor: it is inhabited by not one but two ghosts, one of whom is merely trying to shield Stella from harm. Once the film's deep dark secret is revealed (courtesy of a virtuoso "mad speech" by supporting actress Cornelia Otis Skinner), Roderick is able to single-handedly exorcise the estate and claim Stella as his bride. Based on the novel by Dorothy Macardle (with a few uncredited "lifts" from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca), The Uninvited remains one of the spookiest "old dark house" films ever made, even after years of inundation by computer-generated special effects. Less effective was the 1945 sequel, The Unseen, which starts well but degenerates into a substandard murder mystery.
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Cast & Crew
|Ray Milland||Roderick Fitzgerald|
|Ruth Hussey||Pamela Fitzgerald|
|Donald Crisp||Commander Beech|
|Cornelia Otis Skinner||Miss Holloway|
|Dorothy Stickney||Miss Bird|
|Barbara Everest||Lizzie Flynn|
|Alan Napier||Dr. Scott|
|Gail Russell||Stella Meredith|
|Jessica Newcombe||Miss Ellis|
|John Kiernan||Foreword Narrator|
|Rita Page||Annie, Maid|
|David Clyde||Boot Owner|
|Lynda Grey||Body for Portrait|
|Holmes Herbert||Charlie Jessup|
|Leyland Hodgson||Taxi Driver|
|George Kirby||Gas Station Attendant|
|Queenie Leonard||Mrs. Taylor|
|Moyna MacGill||Mrs. Coatsworthy|
|Ottola Nesmith||Mrs. Carlton|
|Evan Thomas||Col. Carlton|
|Betty Farrington||Mary Meredith|
|Elizabeth Russell||Portrait of Mary Meredith|
|Hans Dreier||Art Director|
|Farciot Edouart||Special Effects|
|Ernst Fegte||Art Director|
|Edith Head||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Charles B. Lang||Cinematographer|
|Stephen Seymour||Set Decoration/Design|
|Victor Young||Score Composer|
1. The Haunted Shores
2. An Offer for Windward House
3. The New Owners
4. Afternoon Sailing
5. Sleeping Beauty Magic
6. "It Comes From Everywhere and Nowhere"
7. "Say a Little Prayer"
8. "To Stella by Starlight"
10. "Are You My Mother?"
11. The Mary Meredith Retreat
12. To The Cliff and the Rocks Below
13. "The Danger is For You!"
1. Color Bars
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Giving Up the Ghost
Screen Guild Theater: August 28, 1944
Screen Director's Playhouse: November 18, 1949
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is one of the best ghost stories on film, one of a kind and truly scary. The atmosphere is suitably creepy and the effects, while minimal to today's standards, are remarkable and well, effective. A ghost story has to have credibility, and less is always more where FX are concerned. This film is never boring, and it will make you think twice about walking down that long hallway when you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. "The Uninvited" was worth the wait, as the Criterion edition gives it the justice this classic rightly deserves. Very highly recommended.
This was an elegant and suspenseful ghost story with a great plot twist. Although this is an older movie, the sound and picture were good quality. People who like violence and gore and sex should give it a miss.