The Uninvited (1944), directed by Lewis Allen

The_Uninvited_(1944_film)♦♦♦½

Billed as being “from the most popular mystery romance since Rebecca,” this adaptation of Dorothy Macardle’s less-than-thrillingly-titled novel Uneasy Freehold is an atmospheric and suspenseful ghost story that begins when siblings Rick (Ray Milland) and Pamela (Ruth Hussey) buy a house in Cornwall in spite of intimations of its sordid past. The “romance” is a bit too tidy and entirely superficial (unless you enjoy subtext), but this is offset by the strength and determination of its women characters. Stella (Gail Russell), the most determined of them all, is the 20-year-old daughter of the house’s previous occupants, who was only three when her mother died, from falling over a cliff. Of course, as she discovers, there’s much more to the story than that. Listed #3 on Martin Scorsese’s personal list of the 11 scariest films of all time, though it’s doubtful modern audiences will experience the same reaction.

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