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The Inheritance (1947)

Uncle Silas (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 23 April 1948 (Finland)
Following her father's death, a British teen-aged heiress goes to live with her guardian uncle who is broke and scheming to murder his niece for her vast inheritance.


Charles Frank


Sheridan Le Fanu (novel), Ben Travers (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Simmons ... Caroline Ruthyn
Katina Paxinou ... Madame de la Rougierre
Derrick De Marney ... Uncle Silas
Derek Bond ... Lord Richard Ilbury
Sophie Stewart Sophie Stewart ... Lady Monica Waring
Esmond Knight ... Dr. Bryerly
Reginald Tate Reginald Tate ... Austin Ruthyn
Manning Whiley Manning Whiley ... Dudley Ruthyn
Marjorie Rhodes Marjorie Rhodes ... Mrs. Rusk
John Laurie ... Giles
Frederick Burtwell Frederick Burtwell ... Branston
George Curzon George Curzon ... Sleigh
O.B. Clarence O.B. Clarence ... Vicar Clay
Frederick Ranalow Frederick Ranalow ... Rigg
Patricia Glyn Patricia Glyn ... Mary Quince


Caroline Ruthyn is the teen-aged niece of the her uncle Silas, a sickly and at one time unbalanced man who becomes her guardian on the death of her father. The fact that Silas is broke and greedy and young Caroline is the heir to her father's great fortune is reason enough for Caroline to be wary, but her fears escalate when she meets Silas's perverted son and when she discovers that her fearsome former governess, Madame de la Rougierre, is in league with her uncle. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

23 April 1948 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Inheritance See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented USA telecast took place in Los Angeles Monday 27 March 1950, leading off Triple Feature Theatre on KECA (Channel 7), hosted by Art Baker. See more »


Version of Uncle Silas (1989) See more »


My Hat, It Has Three Corners
American traditional song
Played in the background during the scene in the Dover hotel.
See more »

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User Reviews

aka "The Inheritance"
4 November 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

I saw this film years ago as "The Inheritance," and I never forgot it. When I read the description of "Uncle Silas," I thought it sounded suspiciously like "The Inheritance" - after all, did Jean Simmons go around playing one young heir after another? After seeing it again, I'm not surprised I remembered it.

"Uncle Silas" is a Gothic thriller, based on a novel by Sheridan Le Fanu, and directed by Charles Frank, who also directed "So Long at the Fair," another wonderful film. "Uncle Silas" is the story of a young heiress, Caroline Ruthyn (Simmons) who is sent to live with her uncle (Derrick De Marney) in a dark, eerie mansion after her father's death. Her father adored his brother, who was once accused of murder, and has made Carolina a ward of Silas. However, as he's dying, he tries to change this provision, but dies before he can do it. Silas, with the help of Caroline's ex-governess (Katina Paxinou) plan to get rid of Caroline, since the inheritance then passes to him.

The acting of especially DeMarney and Paxinou is fairly over the top, but I believe this was intentional on the part of the director to give it that good old scary Gothic feel. Sinister characters often aren't very subtle in Gothic books. Jean Simmons is lovely as Catherine - vulnerable, sweet, and naive, making her a perfect target of danger.

This story was remade as "The Dark Angel" back in the '80s - I remember the sets being completely overdone, a kind of Gothic version of Liberace's house. I don't remember much else, but I'm sure O'Toole was marvelous as Silas.

As others have pointed out, the British version is recommended.

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