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>
In 2009 Martin Scorsese placed this film on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time. See more »
The film is set in 1937, but the "going-to-church" sequence features a car with headlights blacked out in the style required due to WWII in the early 1940s. See more »
They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland which rear up against the westward ocean. Mists gather here... and sea fog... and eerie stories...
That's not because there are most ghosts here then other places, mind you. It's just that people who live here about are strangely aware of them. You see, day and night, year in, year out, they listen to the pound and stir of the waves. There's life and death in that restless sound. And eternity ...
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Roderick and his sister Pamela are vacationing along the English seaside when they discover a beautiful old house with which they fall immediately in love. They purchase the home from Commander Beech, an elderly man whose daughter and son-in-law once lived in the house. Almost as soon as Roderick and Pamela move in, the disturbances begin. A woman can be heard sobbing in the early morning hours and the smell of mimosa perfume is everywhere. Soon, Roderick takes a liking to the Commander's granddaughter, a very pretty but solemn and haunted looking girl named Stella. When Stella enters the house, the disturbances increase alarmingly, threatening her life and driving her perilously close to the sea cliffs. The Commander forbids her to set foot in the house, for he knows of the terrible tragedy that occurred there 20 years earlier. But the guilty secret he's been keeping all these years, a secret that involves Stella and her heritage, will not stay secret anymore and Roderick must face a vengeful ghost if he wishes to save the woman he loves.
This is a really great ghost story, a true classic of the genre. Everyone involved turns in a brilliant performance, especially Ray Milland as Roderick the sweet and likable composer and Ruth Massey as his spunky sister. Gail Russell as Stella is perfectly cast, always appearing shaken and fragile. The effects are terrific too! The crying ghost in particular will give you shivers as it echoes down the halls of the dark house and disappears with the dawn breeze. Light and shadow are used to maximum effect and despite the fact that this film was made in 1944, it never feels dated and it's lost none of its power to unsettle, disturb and even downright terrify.
Perfect viewing for a dark and stormy night. This is a flawless ghost story. Highly recommended.
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