Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Uninvited (1944)

The Uninvited (1944) was directed by Lewis Allen in his feature film debut. It was based on Dorothy Macardle’s novel Uneasy Freehold. Unlike many horror films of it time The Uninvited (1944) was a well-rounded cast of actors including:
Ray Millanad was a Welsh actor and director whose career ran from 1929 to 1985. He is best remembered for his Academy Award–winning role in The Lost Weekend (1945), Reap the Wild Wind (1942) with John Wayne, and Dial M for Murder (1954),
 Ruth Hussey, best known for her Academy Award-nominated role in The Philadelphia Story.
 Donald Crisp, whose career lasted from the early silent film into the 1960s. Crisp won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor his role in How Green Was My Valley (1942)
Gail Russell who would again work with Lewis Allen in The Unseen (1945), a film with a very similar supernatural theme which is considered an unofficial sequel to The Uninvited (1944). She also appeared in Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1944), Calcutta (1947) with Alan Ladd and the two with John Wayne, Angel and the Badman (1947) and Wake of the Red Witch (1948). The onscreen credits list Russell as being 'introduced' in this film, but she actually made her screen debut a year earlier in Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour (1943):
Alan Napier known for portraying Alfred the butler in the 1960s Batman television series gives a fine performance as Dr. Scott. Napier is also known for appearing in a number of other horror films including , The Invisible Man Returns (1940),The House of the Seven Gables (1940), Isle of the Dead (1945), House of Horrors (1946) and The Mole People (1956).

The director Lewis Allen was an English film and television director. Allen worked mainly in the United States, directing 18 feature films between 1944 and 1959. He later moved to television directing many popular television shows in the United States including: Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible and Little House on the Prairie.

The song "Stella By Starlight" was written by Victor Young specifically for The Uninvited (1944). In the movie Roderick Fitzgerald "writes" it for Stella Meredith.”Stella by Starlight" turned into a major hit song in 1947 for Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, and Dennis Day. Unfortunately, Young’s score failed to attain an Oscar nomination in the category of Dramatic Score of 1944. During his career, Young received 22 Academy Award nominations, but he did not win during his lifetime. He received his only Oscar posthumously for his score of Around the World in Eighty Days (1956).
The Uninvited (1944) is unique in that it was among the very first Hollywood feature films to portray a haunting as an authentic supernatural event. Up to this point ghosts had been played for comic relief only to be revealed to be practical joke or as a ploy to hide some sort of illegal activity. The ghost in The Uninvited (1944) are quiet real and very dangerous.
 Paramount added special effects to the film, having decided at the last moment to emphasize its "supernatural premise". However, the British censors would have the effects
removed before allowing the film to be distributed in England. The special effects although unsophisticated by today’s standards were quite impressive at the time of the film’s release.
"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the film on August 28, 1944 with Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey reprising their film roles. Later the "Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast their own 30 minute radio adaptation of the film on November 18, 1949 with Ray Milland reprising his film role.
The Uninvited (1944)  was one of over 700  films Paramount Productions sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, since then The Uninvited (1944)  has  been owned and controlled by Universal.

With its outstanding cast, suspenseful plot and modest special effects The Uninvited (1944) is still considered one of the better ghost films 60 years after its release.


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