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John 'Dusty' King,
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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!
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 »
When Evelyn visits Douglas's studio (from about 31 minutes to about 34 minutes) the life-drawing on the easel is of a completely different pose from that of the model, both at the beginning and at the end of the scene. See more »
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.
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