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Guest in the House (1944)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  8 December 1944 (USA)
6.2
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 388 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 6 critic

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), 3 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
Aline MacMahon ...
Aunt Martha
...
Ann Proctor
Scott McKay ...
Dr. Dan Proctor
Marie McDonald ...
Miriam
Jerome Cowan ...
Mr. Hackett
...
Hilda - the Maid
Percy Kilbride ...
John - the Butler
Connie Laird ...
Lee Proctor
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No girl has ever been called more names! That's Evelyn...the guest...who manages to throw her pretty shadow around where any man near must see it - and when it comes to a man she grants no rights to anyone but herself!

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
See  »
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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

Liebesträume
(uncredited)
Written by Franz Liszt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A forgotten gem
4 June 2008 | by (the rock) – See all my reviews

I saw GUEST IN THE HOUSE one late night and I was surprised by how good this forgotten film was. The story is classic story of a stranger entering the lives of a family or closely knit group living under one roof and how their lives are changed by the ways of this newcomer. TEOREMA is a modern example of such a story. In GITH, Evelyn is the new guest who nearly destroys the idyllic existence of a group's mundane lives, including a married couple and their precocious girl. Evelyn specifically has eyes on the husband, who happens to be the brother of her boyfriend, a man she doesn't really love but who helped when she had a nervous breakdown. Evelyn is, needless to say, neurotic with a capital N. She also has a bizarre phobia of birds. Eventually the people living in the house slowly realize what's going on and how Evelyn is manipulating everyone, which leads to a truly memorable and tragic ending.

Some have criticized GITH for the cast of characters being so blind to Evelyn's ways but for me it's the opposite. The film or script's slow methodical built-up was very mature and not over-the-top melodramatic as most films were in those days. I'm not saying the film is not melodramatic. It is but I enjoyed seeing the way everything slowly unraveled. During a big chunk of the film, Evelyn is not even present. In other words, the film is not just an "Evelyn the Neurotic Bitch" show but an ensemble cast, with Evelyn being the most memorable character.

What's really great about GUEST IN THE HOUSE is that it's filmed like a fevered dream: the low ceilings, the tight quarters of the house, the claustrophobic quality of the direction, the way Evelyn reads her diary, the atmospheric cinematography and music, all add to an entertaining quasi-Gothic film.

The actors are all excellent, including Anne Baxter, whom I usually do not like, and one of the reasons why I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. What's also striking about her role in GUEST IN THE HOUSE is that it's oddly identical to the Eve Harrington character Anne played 7 years later in ALL ABOUT EVE. In my opinion, Anne is much better here and creates a truly memorable character. In ALL ABOUT EVE, Anne was too robotic and monotonous, she lacked the passion and strive she displayed in GUEST OF THE HOUSE. As Evelyn, Anne shamelessly overacts and slithers about like a panther but always staying in character of a neurotic woman, which, thankfully, is never played to the point of being politically incorrect.

All in all, I highly recommend this hidden gem. Because the film is in public domain, finding a good DVD transfer is almost impossible. But even the terrible version I viewed didn't diminish its entertaining qualities.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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