On the cliff tops of atmospheric Cornwall, while the sea rages and bursts over the rocks below, a happy-go-lucky brother & sister pair of urbanites stumble upon an isolated house, and they decide to pool their resources and purchase it. And the owner, much to their surprise, lets them have it for a relatively low price. But the ghosts of the past, quite literally, lurk within the house, and all is not as it seems…
Based on Dorothy Macardle's best-selling novel, The Uninvited was one of the first Hollywood films to treat the subject of ghosts and haunting in a serious way, a treatment which, today, seems commonplace. Prior to it, the subject had been treated and exploited by the storylines of Hollywood films as a scam or as an object of derision. And always, in the end, a rational and natural explanation was provided.
For fans of Daphne Du Maurier's book and Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rebecca, the Cornwall setting, the lingering and stifling worship and love of the departed, and the unraveling of a notorious and historied murder mystery will no doubt invite inevitable comparisons. Dedicated fans of the mistress of Manderley will, nevertheless, be in for an enjoyable coda returning to that same story territory.
The film's score, by Victor Young, also gave birth and rise to the American standard song, Stella By Starlight, revered for its haunting and rich harmonies, and recorded numerous times in both instrumental and vocal versions. And the visual experience of the moody, masterful, Academy Award-nominated black and white photography and lighting, the hallmark of a cinematographer at the height of his craft, alone is worth the price of admission.
Packed with judiciously paced and orchestrated jolts, shudders, chills, and tangles of romances, The Uninvited will lend some unique spice to the season’s Halloween festivities. All because of one simple, perhaps overused word: atmosphere.