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The House of the Seven Gables (1940)

Approved | | Thriller, Drama | 12 April 1940 (USA)
Fighting over an inheritance, one Pyncheon brother frames the other for murder.

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Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Philip Barton
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Gilbert Emery ...
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Deacon Foster
Charles Trowbridge ...
Judge
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Storyline

In 1828, the bankrupt Pyncheon family fight over Seven Gables, the ancestral mansion. To obtain the house, Jaffrey Pyncheon obtains his brother Clifford's false conviction for murder. Hepzibah, Clifford's sweet fiancée, patiently waits twenty years for his release, whereupon Clifford and his former cellmate, abolitionist Matthew, have a certain scheme in mind. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

AN ANCIENT HOUSE! A MURDER SECRET! A HIDDEN TREASURE! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Thriller | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa das Sete Torres  »

Box Office

Budget:

$178,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vincent Price was brought in at the last minute to substitute for Robert Cummings, who had become indisposed through illness. See more »

Connections

Version of The House of the Seven Gables (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

THE COLOR OF YOUR EYES
(1940)
Music by Frank Skinner
Lyrics by Ralph Freed
Sung by Vincent Price (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Okay adaptation
29 August 2000 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Being a big fan of the book, I was avoiding this film for a LONG time. The first half hour of the film would lead a fan of Hawthorne to conclude that the screenwriter had never even READ the original novel.

However, the screenwriter in this instance simply wanted to spend the first 30 minutes dramatizing the 'back story' that Hawthorne only alludes to in the book. Jaffrey and Clifford are now brothers, not cousins. Clifford and Hepzibah are now lovers, not siblings ... and the details surrounding the murder of Clifford's father (his uncle in the book) are slightly different, but the movie is only 90 minutes long, and the film simplifies the plotline without erasing the POINT.

Some of the acting (Margaret Lindsay as Hepzibah, for example) is so brilliant, it makes you want to cry. The scenes that depict Phoebe's arrival to Seven Gables (Chapter 2 in the book, almost halfway through the film) are incredibly well acted. Other moments in the film are so badly and broadly acted, it's laughable. At the scene of the first murder, the camera actually does a quick pan to Margaret Lindsay in the doorway, biting her knuckle. Oy gevalt.

As is usual, reading the book is more of a challenge (not everyone enjoys Hawthorne's prose), but ultimately a MUCH richer experience. For a product of its time, however ... the film does itself justice.


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