Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Uninvited

Aunt Battie here, still substituting for Miss Maven who has family visiting so Auntie gets to pick today's movie!
One of her favorites is The Uninvited, 1944, with Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Dorothy Stickey, Barbara Everett and Alan Napier.
It is discussed in Classics of the Horror Film by William Everson (Citadel Press Book, New York, 1974, page 162):
In any event, the audience acceptance of ghosts on this level [World War II] undoubtedly paved the way for a romantic, but far more serious ghost story, in The Uninvited. . . .
Like so many directorial "first," this initial film by Lewis Allen remains far and away the best film he ever made. It is also quite probably the movies' best ghost story, rivaled certainly by the mirror sequence in Dead of Night, but generally quite superior to The Innocents, The Haunting [1963], The Legend of Hell House and the very few other movies that have had the integrity to take their phantoms seriously without explaining it all away as did this film's followup. The Unseen, an admirable thriller, until its last-reel collapse.
To be sure, there are flaws in the film. In its determination to avoid mere sensation, it wisely underplays, and builds up a genuinely frightening web of intangibles which cannot be explained away. . . . But on the other hand, in avoiding visual horror it avoids most of the other visual elements too; too many things are talked about that could have been shown graphically and excitingly while still keeping the supernatural content to suggestion. . . . (The exception is the eventual materialization of the ghost as a shadowy white mist. Some have felt this to be an unsubtle surrender to a need for at least one special effect, but this seems an unfair criticism.)
Aunt Battie would like to recommend The Uninvited as a gottahave on her niece Maven's Rating System.
Auntie's assistants (Slo, Mo and Larry) would like to watch it for Halloween but they and their fraternity brothers run scared out of the house to go trick-or-treating as soon as she starts the movie!!
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For a good movie for anytime of the year try
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Emails can be sent to Miss Maven, Aunt Battie,
Slo, Mo and Larry at the oldmoviemaven@yahoo.com.

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