Movie Review: The Uninvited (1944)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1944 horror/mystery film starring Ray Millard and Ruth Hussey.

Synopsis: A pair of siblings are able to purchase an old house in rural England for a bargain price and quickly learn the reason they were able to get such a good deal was because of the home's tragic history. Their only clue about what really happened are a pair of spirits that seem to be connected to the 20-year-old granddaughter of the man that sold them the property.

Who's In It?


My oldest daughter and I decided to watch this supernatural-themed movie a couple nights ago and, while we weren't able to finish it right away, managed to watch the final half of it this afternoon. When we started watching it, I wasn't really sure what to expect. However, it turned out to be a decent film.

Even though the movie is classified as a horror film, I honestly wouldn't put it in that category. Maybe it was scary when it first came out. However, at least by today's standards, the film is kind of weak in that category, especially since the special effects, while not terrible, were used sparingly.

What I did find, however, was this movie did make an excellent mystery. We knew there was a potential murder involving the former occupant being pushed off of a cliff and the subsequent haunting was related to that and the victim's daughter (Russell). However, while it was clear her mother was one of the ghosts inside the house, the identity/motive behind the other spirit didn't become clear until toward the end.

Adding to the mystery was the fact the young woman's grandfather (Donald Crisp) and the mother's former friend (Cornella Otis Skinner) seemed to know the truth behind the haunting but were quick to hush up about it for their own personal motives (the grandfather wanted to protect his granddaughter and I'm still not 100 percent sure about the friend's motive), making it much more difficult to figure anything out. This definitely kept things interesting and, even though I did correctly guess what was happening, i wasn't sure until it was confirmed toward the end of the film.

My only real complaint about the movie was it did seem to leave some questions unanswered, such as the reason why one of the spirits seemed to hang out in the studio and, once the truth about the young woman's mother was revealed, I couldn't help but wonder if it meant her father was guilty of having an affair or if she had a completely different father. Granted, it wasn't anything that was overly important to the plot, but it would have been nice to have a clearer picture about what really happened.

The Uninvited (Criterion Collection)

A pair of siblings (Ministry of Fear’s Ray Milland and The Philadelphia Story’s Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, ...

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Final Opinion

As I said before, this movie wasn't overly scary. However, the mystery behind the ghosts did keep the film entertaining and my daughter and I definitely enjoyed it. I would recommend the movie as a result of that.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 05/23/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/30/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here has two films entitled The Uninvited amongst its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I look forward to seeing, sometime after the end of Lent, the one that you reviewed.

Would you all happen to have seen the 2009 release, which similarizes the 1944 release but acknowledges a film and a folk tale from Kore, Changhwa, Hongryon?

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