The Horror Honeys: Music, romance and ghosts: The Uninvited

Music, romance and ghosts: The Uninvited

A Supernatural Honey Classic Review

The Uninvited (1944)

I had heard many wonderful things about The Uninvited before deciding to splurge on it. Let's be clear, this is a film from 1944, NOT that crap-fest remake of A Tale of Two Sisters. It's a classic ghost story, based on a 1942 novel by Dorothy MacArdle, starring Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey and it has nothing to do with the other movie of the same name.

Milland and Hussey star as Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald, siblings, who decide to purchase a cliff side mansion, which just happens to be way too affordable. When inquiring with the current owner, Commander Beech, about the price, all they're told is that the house has a reputation for being haunted. Isn't this always the case? For crying out loud, even the dog ran away the first day! That should be the first red flag.

Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't go in on a pack of gum with my brother, let alone a house, but the Fitzgeralds seem to be on better terms.

Right from the first, Rod is smitten with Commander Beech's granddaughter, Stella Meredith (Gail Russell). She's a lonely girl, kept on a very short leash, and not allowed to go in Rod's house as it was the scene of her mother's death. She begins to spend more time with Rod, totally falling for him. It's Ray Milland, for Christ's sake, who wouldn't be?

Rod and Pam start to hear crying in the house in the hours just before dawn. They don't want to believe they have a ghost, but the local stories and the fact no one has been able to inhabit the house for years, leads Rod on a fact finding mission. Turns out Stella's mother and her father's mistress were both killed there so there are two spirits haunting the home, one sad, the other, vengeful. The problem is they aren’t sure which is which. Things seem to get worse when Stella finally gets her foot in the door. She is comforted by one, while the other tries to get her to jump off the cliff. Mom may not be all she appears, when she appears…

When I read the synopsis on the DVD, it mentions Rod and Pamela get caught up in a love triangle. My jaded little brain immediately assumed there was something sordid between the siblings, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Rod and Pam have a familial bond, but it's supportive and not creepy. Pam encourages Rod to pursue his interest in Stella and does her utmost to include her and make her feel like family, even to the point of entertaining the idea of a séance to get some closure on the haunting.
A world before Cards Against Humanity

The chemistry and flirtation between Milland and Russell is so cute and charming, you can't help but also fall in love with both of them and root for their pairing, despite what's trying to tear them apart. Ray Milland, in a suit, attempting to spontaneously woo his lady on a sailboat? Gold, my friends. Also, Rod is a composer and writes a lovely little song for Stella. SWOON!

The special effects are more about what you don’t see; the crying, the mysterious cold spots, the physical effect on the homeowners, particularly in the “studio” where anyone in the room becomes somber. These lend to a creepy atmosphere. You do see the ghosts on a few occasions, but that is a little dated. However, I’m sure in 1944, it was spectacular.

The climax is a race to save Stella from the clutches of the vengeful spirit. 

This is not a horror film by definition. If you're looking for super scares and gore, don't even bother. However, if you enjoy an intelligently written film with great actors, a little humor and some decent creepy moments, I'd advise giving this a shot.

Supernatural Honey says: I’d give this 3.5 dapper gents out of 5.