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Halloween 2019: The Ghosts and Shadows of The Uninvited (1944)

  • DailyDead
[This Halloween season, we're paying tribute to classic horror cinema by celebrating films released before 1970! Check back on Daily Dead this month for more retrospectives on classic horror films, and visit our online hub to catch up on all of our Halloween 2019 special features!]

The Uninvited is a supernatural film from 1944. Though it has garnered praise both then and now for its stunning cinematography, marvelous cast and effects work used to bring the story’s ghost to the screen, it is a film that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough, and would be very at home on anyone’s October viewing list.

Written by Dodie Smith and Frank Partos (based on a novel by Dorothy Macardle) and directed by Lewis Allen, the film follows siblings Rick (Ray Milland) and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey) on a seaside vacation where they happen upon an old abandoned house. They immediately fall in love with the property, and inquire about buying it. The owner, Commander Beech (Donald Crisp), is more than happy to sell and offers the house at a very low price. His granddaughter, Stella (Gail Russell), is less than thrilled about the sale. The house
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Review: "El Paso" (1949) Starring John Payne; Kino Lorber Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By John M. Whalen

John Payne was one of those “meat and potatoes” kind of actors. Nothing fancy. No complicated method acting style. He just gave good, solid, straight off-the-page performances in dozens of films and television shows over a span of nearly 40 years. I think of him primarily as the guy trapped and fighting for survival in old black and white film noirs of the 1950s-- films like “Kansas City Confidential,” “99 River Street,” and perhaps one of the best noirs ever—“The Crooked Way.”

He made a number of interesting westerns however, including “El Paso” (1949), the first of a several he made for the Pine-Thomas Productions B-movie unit of Paramount. It was notable for the fact that it was the first Pine-Thomas movie to have a decent budget-- $1 million. It was filmed partly in El Paso, but mostly on the Iverson Ranch, which, film historian Toby Roan explains in the audio commentary,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

‘The Uninvited’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

  • Nerdly
Stars: Ruth Hussey, Ray Milland, Gail Russell, Donald Crisp, Barbara Everest | Written by Frank Partos, Dodie Smith | Directed by Lewis Allen

“Be afraid. Be afraid, for heaven’s sake.” This line may have inspired Geena Davis’s famous warning from David Cronenberg’s The Fly. Indeed, this 1944 groundbreaker provides a reference point for many a horror movie since. While The Uninvited may not chill you to the bone, it is a reminder that not everything in the horror genre prior to Jack Clayton’s The Innocents relied on spooky stageplay castles and camp.

Adapted from the novel by Dorothy Macardle and directed by feature debutant Lewis Allen, the narrative is for the most part a vehicle for exposition. In that way it’s more suited to the page or the radio play format; but the plot is intriguing enough, the performances are effective, and there are some creepy images and ideas.
See full article at Nerdly »

Moonrise

Guilt, gloom, weird nightmares of death and persecution — and romance? The wondrous Gail Russell brings a spark of life into Frank Borzage’s weird expressionist masterpiece produced at the seldom-artistic Republic Studio. The bitter, despairing Dane Clark has just committed what a jury will likely call first degree murder, but the night can offer atonement and forgiveness, if he’ll just listen to Russell’s good advice.

Moonrise

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 921

1948 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 90 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date May 8, 2018 / 39.95

Starring: Dane Clark, Gail Russell, Ethel Barrymore, Allyn Joslyn, Rex Ingram, Henry Morgan, Lloyd Bridges, Selena Royle.

Cinematography: John L. Russell

Film Editor: Harry Keller

Original Music: William Lava

From the book by Theodore Strauss

Written and Produced by Charles Haas

Directed by Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage’s 1948 Moonrise is a critic’s delight, especially among aficionados that like to point out the artistic margins of traditional Hollywood filmmaking.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

How Much Shock Can You Stand?

Ghosts are famous for their flexibility, spiraling through keyholes and up from the floorboards in search of their next mark. But movies about ghosts can be flexible too. Three classics of the genre, The Uninvited, House on Haunted Hill and The Innocents, demonstrate that there’s more than one way haunt a house.

These films never appeared on any triple bill that I know of, but I’d like to think they did, somewhere in some small town with a theater manager that knew a good scare when he saw it. How could the programmer resist it? Each film is united by a beautiful black and white sheen, eerie locales and their ability to scare the bejeezus out of you. But they’re also alike in their differences, coming at their specters from distinctly different vantage points.

1944’s The Uninvited, a three-hankie haunted house tale with a dysfunctional family subplot,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Comanche Station (Einer Gibt Nicht Auf)

Randolph Scott's final 'Ranown' western is a minimalist masterpiece, an unusually gentle story about a great westerner on a forlorn romantic quest. It's also a showcase for the underrated Nancy Gates and Claude Akins, and a pleasure to watch in wide, wide CinemaScope. Comanche Station All-region Blu-ray Explosive Media / Alive 1960 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 74 min. / Street Date July 22, 2016 / Einer Gibt Nicht Auf / available at Amazon.de/ EUR14,99 Starring Randolph Scott, Nancy Gates, Claude Atkins, Skip Homeier, Richard Rust. Cinematography Charles Lawton Jr. Film Editor Edwin H. Bryant Music supervisor Mischa Balaleinikoff Written by Burt Kennedy Produced and Directed by Budd Boetticher

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

One must be careful when ordering Blu-ray discs of Hollywood films from overseas. Foreign distributors license American movies that the studios won't release here, but sometimes they don't have access to good video masters. In a few cases the films being offered are simply being pirated.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Corman Ahead of Hitchcock: Cult Nature vs. Humankind Sci-Fi Thriller

'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Hardly truth in advertising as there's no million-eyed beast in Roger Corman's micro-budget sci-fi thriller. 'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Alien invasion movie predates Alfred Hitchcock classic Despite the confusing voice-over introduction, David Kramarsky's[1] The Beast with a Million Eyes a.k.a. The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes is one of my favorite 1950s alien invasion films. Set in an ugly, desolate landscape – shot “for wide screen in terror-scope” in Indio and California's Coachella Valley – the screenplay by future novelist Tom Filer (who also played Jack Nicholson's sidekick in the 1966 Western Ride in the Whirlwind) focuses on a dysfunctional family whose members become the first victims of a strange force from another galaxy after a spaceship lands nearby emitting sound vibrations that turn domestic animals into aggressive killers. Killer cow First, the lady-of-the-house is pecked by a flock of chickens and,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Kubrick Actress Gray Pt.2: From The Killing to Leech Woman and Off-Screen School Prayer Amendment Fighter

Coleen Gray in 'The Sleeping City' with Richard Conte. Coleen Gray after Fox: B Westerns and films noirs (See previous post: “Coleen Gray Actress: From Red River to Film Noir 'Good Girls'.”) Regarding the demise of her Fox career (the year after her divorce from Rod Amateau), Coleen Gray would recall for Confessions of a Scream Queen author Matt Beckoff: I thought that was the end of the world and that I was a total failure. I was a mass of insecurity and depended on agents. … Whether it was an 'A' picture or a 'B' picture didn't bother me. It could be a Western movie, a sci-fi film. A job was a job. You did the best with the script that you had. Fox had dropped Gray at a time of dramatic upheavals in the American film industry: fast-dwindling box office receipts as a result of competition from television,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Actress Gray: Underappreciated Film Noir Heroine

Coleen Gray actress ca. 1950. Coleen Gray: Actress in early Stanley Kubrick film noir, destroyer of men in cult horror 'classic' Actress Coleen Gray, best known as the leading lady in Stanley Kubrick's film noir The Killing and – as far as B horror movie aficionados are concerned – for playing the title role in The Leech Woman, died at age 92 in Aug. 2015. This two-part article, which focuses on Gray's film career, is a revised and expanded version of the original post published at the time of her death. Born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Nebraska, at a young age she moved with her parents, strict Lutheran Danish farmers, to Minnesota. After getting a degree from St. Paul's Hamline University, she relocated to Southern California to be with her then fiancé, an army private. At first, she eked out a living as a waitress at a La Jolla hotel
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Actress Gray: Underappreciated Film Noir Heroine

Coleen Gray actress ca. 1950. Coleen Gray: Actress in early Stanley Kubrick film noir, destroyer of men in cult horror 'classic' Actress Coleen Gray, best known as the leading lady in Stanley Kubrick's film noir The Killing and – as far as B horror movie aficionados are concerned – for playing the title role in The Leech Woman, died at age 92 in Aug. 2015. This two-part article, which focuses on Gray's film career, is a revised and expanded version of the original post published at the time of her death. Born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Nebraska, at a young age she moved with her parents, strict Lutheran Danish farmers, to Minnesota. After getting a degree from St. Paul's Hamline University, she relocated to Southern California to be with her then fiancé, an army private. At first, she eked out a living as a waitress at a La Jolla hotel
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Nasty Politics and Eyebrow-Raising Gossip During Hollywood's Golden Age: Brackett's Must-Read Diaries

Charles Brackett ca. 1945: Hollywood diarist and Billy Wilder's co-screenwriter (1936–1949) and producer (1945–1949). Q&A with 'Charles Brackett Diaries' editor Anthony Slide: Billy Wilder's screenwriter-producer partner in his own words Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He is renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in the whole story. That's one key reason why the Charles Brackett diaries are such a great read. Through Brackett's vantage point, they offer a welcome – and unique – glimpse into the collaborative efforts that resulted in
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Top Screenwriting Team from the Golden Age of Hollywood: List of Movies and Academy Award nominations

Billy Wilder directed Sunset Blvd. with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). More detailed information further below. Post-split years Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as the classic comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), the Best Picture Oscar winner The Apartment (1960), and One Two Three (1961), notable as James Cagney's last film (until a brief comeback in Milos Forman's Ragtime two decades later). Although some of these movies were quite well received, Wilder's later efforts – which also included The Seven Year Itch
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Watch: 'The Uninvited' Was a Creepy Dysfunctional Family Ghost Tale

Directed by Lewis Allen, this elegant ghost story from 1944 is a consistently creepy yet surprisingly moving study of a dysfunctional family whose problems extend into the afterlife. Ray Milland is the skeptical but good-humored leading man and sad-eyed Gail Russell plays the troubled young woman whose mother may (or may not be) haunting her. Stella By Starlight, written especially for this film, went on to become a jazz standard, even showing up as the theme song for The Nutty Professor in 1963.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Uninvited

Directed by Lewis Allen, this elegant ghost story from 1944 is a consistently creepy yet surprisingly moving study of a dysfunctional family whose problems extend into the afterlife. Ray Milland is the skeptical but good-humored leading man and sad-eyed Gail Russell plays the troubled young woman whose mother may (or may not be) haunting her. Stella By Starlight, written especially for this film, went on to become a jazz standard, even showing up as the theme song for The Nutty Professor in 1963.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Review: "The Uninvited" (1944) Criterion Blu-ray Review

  • CinemaRetro
By Raymond Benson

It’s not a title that readily pops into one’s head when recalling the great horror films throughout the decades. A British production released when Universal Pictures’ line of horror franchises had declined and Val Lewton’s minimalist Rko productions had reached their height, The Uninvited has remained fairly obscure, in the U.S. anyway, but has also consistently maintained a solid reputation as one of the great, classic haunted house pictures. In fact, The Uninvited could be the first film to treat ghosts seriously rather than as an instrument for humor.

Directed by Lewis Allen and starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and gorgeous Gail Russell in her first film role, the motion picture was released by Paramount in early 1944. Milland was a minor star at the time who would shoot to super-status the following year by winning a Best Actor Oscar for The Lost Weekend.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

'The Uninvited' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

I enjoyed watching Lewis Allen's 1944 haunted house feature The Uninvited for the first time on Criterion Blu-ray as much as I raised my eyebrows. Considered one of the first supernatural films to take the idea of ghosts seriously rather than as a punchline, it undoubtedly has an effective level of atmosphere and while it successfully takes its ghost story seriously, it also knows to balance any tension with some humorous beats and moments of romance. That said, I wasn't really buying the romance angle and making this a tale of cohabitating siblings also seemed a little... weird to me. We're introduced to Rick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) on holiday in Cornwall, England where they stumble upon a cliffside house. After their dog chases a squirrel through an open window, they ultimately barge in to fetch him, realizing the house has been empty for some time.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Don't Let the U.S. Government Shut Down! Quality Halloween Movies in October, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The Cat and the Canary’ 1939: Paulette Goddard / Bob Hope haunted house comedy among Halloween 2013 movies at Packard Theater There’s much to recommend among the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus and State Theater screenings in Culpeper, Virginia, in October 2013, including the until recently super-rare Bob Hope / Paulette Goddard haunted house comedy The Cat and the Canary (1939). And that’s one more reason to hope that the Republican Party’s foaming-at-the-mouth extremists (and their voters and supporters), ever bent on destroying the economic and sociopolitical fabric of the United States (and of the rest of the world), will not succeed in shutting down the federal government and thus potentially wreak havoc throughout the U.S. and beyond. (Photo: Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard in The Cat and the Canary.) Screening on Thursday, October 31, at the Packard Theater, Elliott Nugent’s The Cat and the Canary is a remake of Paul Leni
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

‘The Uninvited,’ more than just Paramount’s ‘Rebecca’ styled ghost story

The Uninvited

Directed by Lewis Allen

Written by Dodie Smith and Frank Partos

Starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp & Gail Russell

USA , 99 min – 1944.

“If you listen to it long enough, all your senses are sharpened. You come by strange instincts. You get to recognize a peculiar cold that is the first warning. A cold which is no mere matter of degrees Fahrenheit, but a draining of warmth from the vital centers of the living.”

The Uninvited is a supernatural film that is more mysterious than it is horrific. Spirits are taken to be a real possibility in the film, which after the success of Hitchcock & Selznick’s haunting, Rebecca (1940), must have been a necessity. The people who laugh at the notion of the supernatural are quickly proved wrong (as the early voice over suggests) and the film introduces ghosts with both kind and malicious intentions. Ultimately, The Uninvited’s
See full article at SoundOnSight »

DVD Release: The Lawless

DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

Price: DVD $24.95

Studio: Olive Films

The classic 1950 film drama The Lawless starring Macdonald Carey (The Great Missouri Raid) and Gail Russell (Angel and the Badman) takes on the issues of immigrant workers and racial discrimination, subjects that were rarely covered in mainstream movies at that time.

Carey plays a crusading newspaperman who seemingly is the only person willing to champion the rights of a group of oppressed Mexican-American fruit-pickers, just he tries to stop a lynch mob’s manhunt of a Latino fugitive accused of fomenting a riot.

Tackling a controversial issue in an honest, no-nonsense fashion, director Joseph Losey (The Romantic Englishwoman), helming his second feature, was later blacklisted in the United States and moved to Europe where he made the remainder of his films, mostly in the United Kingdom.

The Lawless also stars John Sands, Lee Patrick, John Hoyt and Lalo Rios.

The film
See full article at Disc Dish »

Fight for Horror Supremacy Week 2

For the horror buff, Fall is the best time of the year. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling and a feeling of death hangs on the air. Here at Sound on Sight we have some of the biggest horror fans you can find. We are continually showcasing the best of genre cinema, so we’ve decided to put our horror knowledge and passion to the test in a horror watching contest. Each week in October, Ricky D, James Merolla and Justine Smith will post a list of the horror films they have watched. By the end of the month, the person who has seen the most films wins. Prize Tbd.

Ricky D (15 Viewings) Total of 29 Viewings

Purchase

Thirst (1979)

Directed by Rod Hardy

The film is best described as one long dream sequence with nods to David Cronenberg, Rosemary’s Baby and perhaps even Solyent Green. Thirst features some superb in-camera visual effects,
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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