Pete and Ellen have reared Meg as their own, ever since she was a baby and her parents took off. Now a teen, Meg convinces her friend Nath to come help with chores on the farm: Pete isn't getting around on his wooden leg like he used to. When Nath insists on using a short cut home through the woods, Pete gets quite agitated and warns him of screams in the night, of terrors associated with the red house. Curious, Meg and Nath ignore his warnings and begin exploring. Meg begins falling in love with Nath, but his girlfriend Tibby has other plans for him. Meanwhile they all get closer to real danger and the dark secret of the red house. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm not sure why this film was entitled The Red House. Not being shot in color the title will mean absolutely nothing to the viewer, especially the viewer of today who won't be dealing with a recent best selling book to compare it with.
The house of whatever color is located by a mill and it contains a terrible secret from the past of Edward G. Robinson. Robinson and his sister have raised young Allene Roberts on their farm since she was an infant and have been like parents to her. They have one standing rule at their place. Under no circumstances is she or anyone else to go to a certain stretch of woods and to enforce that rule Robinson has hired Rory Calhoun to keep trespassers off.
Of course you tell teenagers like Roberts, Lon McCallister, and Julie London not to do something or go somewhere and you know very well what's going to happen in movies and in real life. Their curiosity unravels both a terrible secret from the past and it also unravels Robinson himself who we see degenerate from a loving father figure to a terrible figure of fright and horror.
Robinson of course is his usual outstanding, but it was refreshing to see Judith Anderson for once not playing a baddie. No Mrs. Danvers here or a blackmailing wet nurse like The Ten Commandments. She's a kind loving sister who gave up her own chance at happiness and a marriage to live with Robinson and raise Roberts.
Allene Roberts and Lon McCallister are a pair of nice young people, but they don't stand up against Rory Calhoun and Julie London. Calhoun's part is mysterious and ill defined, but he has plenty of animal magnetism exploding all over the screen and this was his first big break. As for London, I'm still scratching my head why McCallister chooses Roberts when he's got Julie London giving him the come hither glance.
The Red House is a fine thriller a bit dated, but still entertaining. By the way it also has a fine Mikos Rosza score as well.
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