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The Haunting (1963)

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A scientist doing research on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion. One of the participants soon starts losing her mind.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Nelson Gidding (screenplay), Shirley Jackson (based on the novel: "The Haunting of Hill House")
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Julie Harris ... Eleanor Lance
Claire Bloom ... Theodora
Richard Johnson ... Dr. John Markway
Russ Tamblyn ... Luke Sanderson
Fay Compton ... Mrs. Sanderson
Rosalie Crutchley ... Mrs. Dudley
Lois Maxwell ... Grace Markway
Valentine Dyall ... Mr. Dudley
Diane Clare ... Carrie Fredericks
Ronald Adam ... Eldridge Harper
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Storyline

Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1963 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Haunting See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,616,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argyle Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The other cast members enjoyed working with Julie Harris, but they believed her sense of isolation was self-imposed. Claire Bloom said that Harris "wouldn't" talk to her, and Russ Tamblyn found Harris "aloof." Bloom, Tamblyn and Richard Johnson would spend time together during breaks from shooting and have dinner together often, but Harris rarely joined them. Bloom said later that she eventually realized that this was simply Harris's way of approaching the part to make her performance more effective, and she didn't take Harris's standoffishness personally. See more »

Goofs

Mrs. Dudley says she sets out dinner at 6 p.m. and leaves soon afterward, when it begins to get dark. Another scene establishes the date as being October 21. Most of the northeastern US observed Daylight Savings Time through late October even before the Uniform Time Act of 1966; nevertheless, sunset in Boston that time of year is around 5:50 p.m. and could not be more than a few minutes later anywhere in New England. Mrs. Dudley might leave right after serving dinner, but it would already be twilight, and quite dark in such a heavily forested area. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. John Markway: [voice-over] An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there... walked alone.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original cut of movie (shown 24/9/03 at Filmhouse, Edinburgh) has several differences from the general release print -
  • Alternate opening with voice-over by the Mrs Sannerson character in place of the Markway monologue.The titles prior to this scene are slightly different. The 'History of Hill house' scene continues into the meeting with Mrs Sannerson and Markway but in this version, it is Sannerson who is doing most of talking.
  • The following scene from the general release print of Markway listing his subjects on a blackboard is missing. In it's place is a scene where Theo throws her lover out her appartment and, next to a photo of her lover, writes "I Hate You!" on a mirror in lipstick, looks at her reflection and mutters "I hate you too...". She then receives her invitation from Markway. This is delivered to her by her landlady how requires the excess postage to be paid. Theo already knows this is to be paid and there is humourous exchange concerning her ESP or her 'gift'.
  • There are several extened scenes involving Eleanor's 'inner thoughts' - most of which tie into her thoughts on her possible relationship with Markway. The scene showing her travelling to Hill house is extended with more 'inner monlogue' material including a couple of shots of her turning onto 'route 238' and commenting on "Journey's end in lovers meeting...".
  • The Morning/Harp scene runs longer and contains more dialogue from both Eleanor and Markway. This print had a title card prior to the MGM logo - "This print is on loan from the National Film and Television Archive"
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema: Horror (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of my all-time favorite horror flicks
23 October 2005 | by HolmesisterSee all my reviews

I saw this movie the summer I got out of high school. I went with a date and he about dug a hole in the arm of my sweater, it scared him that much. What makes the movie really scary is the fact that it does not have any slashers, monsters, blood and/or gore. Robert Wise scared you with camera angles, the unknown "presences" that seemed to be always lurking behind every door, and the sound effects were very effective. Filming it in black and white also made it creepier. The audiences imaginations and their own personal fears make the movie very effective. We have all experienced a frightening event at some time in our lives (dark closets, what's under the bed, what's outside the window after dark, did you hear that?, etc.) This movie plays on those feelings as you watch it. The remake was disappointing at the least. It had a great cast, but the producers/directors were trying too hard. These days, it seems that special effects can sometimes ruin a movie. There's nothing to play on ones imagination. That's why the book is usually much better than the movie. I purchased this movie on VHS a few years ago and I watch it every once in awhile in the dark (of course) when my husband is here. I don't think I could watch it alone - in the dark - in the night....


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