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A brother and sister move into an old seaside house they find abandoned for many years on the English coast. Their original enchantment with the house diminishes as they hear stories of the previous owners and meet their daughter (now a young woman) who now lives as a neighbor with her grandfather. Also heard are unexplained sounds during the night. It becomes obvious that the house is haunted. The reasons for the haunting and how they relate to the daughter whom the brother is falling in love with, prove to be a complex mystery. As they are compelled to solve it, the supernatural activity at the house increases to a frightening level. Written by
Russell West <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This 1944 Paramount film is one of my very favourites. Long hailed as Hollywood's first attempt at a "serious" ghost story, it will no doubt please most all fans of the genre. Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey play Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald who are siblings. They are nearing the end of their seaside holiday in Cornwall, England when they happen to come across a lovely old deserted Georgian house while chasing their terrier, Bobby. The Fitzgeralds meet the dour owner (played by Donald Crisp) and they purchase the small mansion for a surprisingly affordable amount of money. Naturally, the house is haunted. The acting - particularly that of Gail Russell as the luminous, moonstruck Stella Meredith - is effective and charming. The black-and-white cinematography by Charles Lang is exquisite as is Victor Young's hauntingly lovely theme, "Stella by Starlight". The film has a moody, frisson quality which few films of the "ghost genre" can match. In one of her very few film appearances, Cornelia Otis Skinner is memorably sinister as Miss Holloway who was a friend of Stella's mother, the deceased Mary Meredith. A thoroughly enjoyable film with some real jolts and a great atmosphere, ghost fans should be enthralled by this one.
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