Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »
Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to ... See full summary »
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 »
Some prints of the film are cut to 100 minutes, and omit, among other scenes, the prologue that turns the story into a flashback, in which Aline MacMahon stands at the edge of a cliff as if looking down at someone who has been killed, and reminisces in voice-over about the events in the story.See more »
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
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
23 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this