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Guest in the House (1944)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 8 December 1944 (USA)
A young manipulative woman moves in with her fiances family and turns a happy household against itself.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

(screenplay), (play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Evelyn Heath
...
Douglas Proctor
...
Aunt Martha
...
Ann Proctor
Scott McKay ...
Dr. Dan Proctor
...
Miriam
...
Mr. Hackett
...
Hilda - the Maid
...
John - the Butler
Connie Laird ...
Lee Proctor
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Storyline

A young manipulative woman moves in with her fiances family and turns a happy household against itself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the famous Broadway stage play! (rerelease) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 December 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Satan in Skirts  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Lewis Milestone started the film, but after extensive rehearsals and preparation he fell ill and was replaced by John Brahm, who reshot some of the early scenes. See more »

Goofs

When young Lee enters the house after playing with the boy on the swing, her face and dress are clean. However when she enters her mother's room, she has chocolate smudged on her face and dress. See more »

Connections

Version of ITV Television Playhouse: Guest in the House (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Molly Malone
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Marie McDonald
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unhinged house-guest from Hell
11 June 2007 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

A naive psychiatrist brings his former patient, Evelyn Heath (Anne Baxter), to his cliff-side country home to meet the family before they tie the knot. The good doctor's Aunt Martha (Aline MacMahon), his artist brother, Douglas (Ralph Bellamy), Douglas' wife (Ruth Warrick) and daughter do everything they can to make the mentally unstable Evelyn feel at home but underneath her fragile exterior lurks a manipulative minx who wants the home for herself. Evelyn sets her romantically obsessive sights on Douglas, running off his model (Marie McDonald) and taking her place before tearing the household apart until one member takes matters into their own hands...

Told in flashback (with brief voice-over narration) this slightly stagy Hunt Stromberg-produced "domestic noir" was one of the first of a spate of films reflecting the era's budding fascination with psychiatry. Adapted from a hit Broadway play and directed with style by German-born John Brahm, there's a claustrophobic mansion, thunderstorms, a crashing sea below, and ever-present shadows all moodily photographed by Lee Garmes to an Oscar-nominated score. Anne Baxter, in a forerunner to ALL ABOUT EVE, is effective as a pathologically neurotic snake-in-the-grass with solid support from character actors Margaret "Wizard Of Oz" Hamilton and Percy "Pa Kettle" Kilbride as the household help. There's also a bit of wartime-liness as the story can be seen as metaphor for "fighting fire with fire" when an enemy threatens hearth and home. Director John Brahm, who fled Nazi Germany in 1937, helmed this film for United Artists between his two 20th Century Fox Period Noirs, THE LODGER (1944) and HANGOVER SQUARE (1945). Sexy Marie McDonald got her nickname "The Body" during production and eventually killed herself. GUEST IN THE HOUSE, with its dark and rather drastic ending, is a little seen and rarely discussed early noir that should be more accessible.

Noirometer: Although only semi-satisfying for some reason, this moody melodrama boasts a deceptively destructive femme fatale, some unhinged histrionics, a German-trained director, daytime shadows on restricted wartime sets, poetic retribution, and a bit of Freud. A house-guest-from-Hell plot line was later given another workout in Nicolas Ray's camp-noir BORN TO BE BAD (1950). 7/10

Publicity:

The Boldest Love Story Ever Told!

From the daring Broadway stage hit... Hunt Stromberg has made a daring picture

The story of a lovely girl driven by strange desires... and the emotions she unleashes in the lives of gay and charming people


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