Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE UNINVITED - "You're Not Welcome" (1944)

It's another Saturday Night Special down in The Dungeon, and tonight's feature is a strange little film that's hard to find for some dang reason!

Made in the year of 1944, it's called "The Uninvited" so I guess that about explains the whole thing, nobody was welcome including me and you! The overly dramatic music by Victor Hugo is not that exciting, so Here's a taste of Ray Milland's opening narrative instead!

A pair of London dwellers happen upon a magnificent but abandoned olde home while out in the country on holiday!

What a great studio! Ray Milland's character is a songwriter so this room is really enticing to him!

One thing though, it seems like some of the neighboring locals might be toting around some extra mental baggage! This wonderful brother and sister team are Dungeon Super Hero Ray Milland as Roderick Fitzgerald, and his sister Pamela played by Ruth Hussey. In an unrelated "un" fact, Ruth was also in an episode of Science Fiction Theatre called "The Unguided Missile!"

Is this a perfect shot or what? That's not really a question, it's a statement!

So the Fitzgerald's buy the joint, and move right in. The neighbor lady's Dad was willing to sell the place for a very cheap price for some reason! This is Stella (By Starlight) Meredith as played by Gail Russell in her first major role! Roderick Fitzgerald is quite smitten with the young lady!

 The house is obviously haunted, and Stella has been banned by her Father from going there, but we all know how that goes! Joined by Alan (Cat People, Isle Of The Dead, House Of Horrors, Unconquered, The Strange Door, etc) Napier as Doctor Scott, the group breaks out the Ouija Board in an attempt to get to the bottom of things!

After the Ouija seance, Stella starts talking in Spanish, and bolts out of the house towards the bluffs overlooking the ocean!

That little stunt lands Stella in the nuthouse named after her Mother!!

The person in charge of "The Mary Meredith Retreat" is an odd gal known as Miss Holloway, an olde acquaintance of Stella's Mom! Miss Holloway has an air about her that says, this is not a nice person! Miss Holloway was played by Cornelia Otis Skinner! Cornelia only has 11 acting credits to her name, but she kept quite busy writing novels!

This lovely portrait of Mary Meredith hangs in Miss Holloway's office!

All I could think about when I saw this shot was this other favorite shot of mine from Mario Bava's "Schock" 33 years later!

"The Uninvited" is not super scary, but it has some pretty cool ghost effects in it!

Whenever something freaks out Stella, she heads off toward the cliffs again!

Literally living life on the edge, Stella is almost done for when the edge caves in underneath her. Lucky for her, Roderick was able to save her!

The ending is a convoluted affair that I'm not even going to try to explain, but I will go so far as to say that the ghost is indeed Stella's Mother, but Stella's Mother is not who you think she is!

I like this shot of Ray Milland pursuing the ghost, and the action stops to perfectly frame the candlestick holder he's carrying!

Gail Russell's real life didn't turn out with anything near the happy ending that this film has. It seems that Gail wasn't really comfortable in front of the camera, so she started drinking to steel her nerves, and she sadly, but literally drank herself to death by the age of 36!! Ray Milland of course went on to do "Panic In Year Zero!," "X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes," "Frogs," and "The Thing With Two Heads," just to mention a few of his many masterful roles!

While this French poster is great to look at, it is less exciting than it's American counterpart, but portrays a more accurate look at what "The Uninvited" is really all about!

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