In New York city, Ruth Rogan is convicted of killing 3 of her lovers and sentenced to be executed. Meanwhile, lovely Roma Courtenay becomes a millionaire heiress when her brother dies. A spiritualist approaches Roma with an urgent message from her dead brother. He runs a rigged seance that doesn't convince Roma's boyfriend Grant but has Roma confused. Then unexpectedly, the executed Ruth Rogan's spirit takes control of Roma's body. Roma runs off with the fake spiritualist under Ruth Rogan's control. Grant desperately tries to track Roma down and return her soul. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
The headline on Bavian's newspaper is different in the close-up. See more »
Tell me, doctor, was she really crazy?
Dr. Carl Houston:
Grant, I believe she was quite sane but undoubtedly one of the most dangerous women in criminal history,
Well, she's not dangerous any more.
Dr. Carl Houston:
No, she may be more dangerous now than when they had her locked in a cell.
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Unlike a lot of reviewers here, I was quite impressed by this film. Sure it's not scary - I didn't expect it to be - but it effectively builds an unsettling atmosphere without resorting to the usual mood enhancers such as haunted houses, gloomy mansions, isolated islands, etc. Prosaic things such as a spark generated from a railway wheel, the taking of a key, have an edge to them. There are also some very nice touches along the way, eg, the dog bringing the slippers to Carole Lombard's brother.
It is also interesting to see Carole Lombard this early in her career - from my point of view she acquits herself quite well in the part. And H. B Warner is also well suited to his role of Dr Houston. Randolph Scott however is wooden, and the role of Bavian could have done with a more charismatic player than Alan Dinehart. The real scene stealer in this movie however is Beryl Mercer - much better in this than anything else I have seen her in.
I also find this film interesting plot-wise, as I have on occasion come across texts which refer to "The Uninvited" as the first significant Hollywood film to deal with spirit possession when clearly this is not the case. I suppose it depends on what you mean by significant.
Anyway, it is certainly interesting to see what the makers of "White Zombie" came up with when they had the backing of a major studio.
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