Saturday, May 21, 2016
The Haunted House Overlooking the Cliff
Ray Milland looks so comfortable and at ease in the role of the pianist, a pleasant fellow with an appealing temperament that is refreshing. Too often Milland is bookmarked as a crotchety, barking, griping jerk. He can be much more as seen in this film. Ruth Hussey is much admired and there's a reason why when you watch her in The Uninvited. Wholly appealing and charming to a fault, she can talk her brother, Milland into pretty much anything. Look how Milland folds almost immediately to a convincing sister with just the right words to urge him into buying the Windward with her. To leave behind London and a music critic job to freelance as a pianist, writing his own work instead. She soon charms a country doctor who lives in the area (Batman's Alan Napier, bringing that elegant English voice and tone), and Milland falls for a twenty year old Gail Russell (it was this film that initiated her alcohol addiction which would claim her liver and life at age 36; sigh), the granddaughter of Windward owner, Commander Beech (Donald Crisp). Gail is so fresh faced and young...gah, to know her too soon death ravished such a lovely woman, it is such a bummer.
Restless spirits, one of warmth and another of ice and cold chill, want either to inflict harm to Gail or hug her. The death of Mary who plunged off a cliff while Carmel, a Spanish gypsy, suffered pneumonia which seemingly took her life, have differing effects on Gail. She nearly perishes off Mary's cliff twice, and a séance awakens a Spanish line of dialogue from Gail's voice which could inform us that what has been told throughout her life wasn't altogether accurate. Miss Holloway (Cornelia Skinner), Mary's closest friend (and possible lover) who runs a sanitarium could be heavily involved. I couldn't help but think of Rebecca (1940) as Holloway worships at the giant portrait of Mary. She has built Mary into an idol she holds high above anyone else. The mental breakdown at the end where Holloway's secret is out and she accepts satisfactorily her role in possibly sending Gail's Stella to her doom certainly recalls Hitchcock's Rebecca to me.
I was surprised to see that The Uninvited is available on YouTube if you want to watch it at any given time but I suggest catching it on Turner Classics when it shows the film again. I had the lights off and went for the optimum viewing effect. It was on the other night as TCM was running a Ruth Hussey marathon. I set the DVR for just the right night which was tonight. Always welcome on my television set, indeed.
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Dracula's Daughter ('36)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Mad Love 1935
Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?
Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.
Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.