6.2/10
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37 user 10 critic

Guest in the House (1944)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 8 December 1944 (USA)
A young manipulative woman moves in with her fiancé's family and turns a happy household against itself.

Directors:

John Brahm, John Cromwell (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

Ketti Frings (screenplay), Hagar Wilde (play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anne Baxter ... Evelyn Heath
Ralph Bellamy ... Douglas Proctor
Aline MacMahon ... Aunt Martha
Ruth Warrick ... Ann Proctor
Scott McKay ... Dr. Dan Proctor
Marie McDonald ... Miriam
Jerome Cowan ... Mr. Hackett
Margaret Hamilton ... Hilda - the Maid
Percy Kilbride ... John - the Butler
Connie Laird Connie Laird ... Lee Proctor
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Man-mad, but always crazy about the other woman's man! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Satan in Skirts See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Version of ITV Television Playhouse: Guest in the House (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Molly Malone
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Marie McDonald
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unhinged house-guest from Hell
11 June 2007 | by melvelvit-1See all my reviews

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

Publicity:

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


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