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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:

SCREAM...no one will hear you! RUN...and the silent foosteps will follow, for in Hill House the dead are restless! 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

Overall, the small cast worked very well together throughout production. Julie Harris at times, however, often felt "isolated and unhappy" much like her complicated character Eleanor. She felt like an outsider to the group of other actors. See more »

Goofs

Because the story was filmed in England, but set in the United States, Eleanor passes a house with a sign reading "To Let" instead of "For Rent". 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Forty one years after its release, this movie is still frightening.
4 April 2004 | by jeklvSee all my reviews

ABC broadcast this film as a Sunday Night Movie in, I believe, 1965. I watched it with my best friend at his house, which happened to be next door. After the movie was over I was afraid to walk home. Thirty eight years later, this movie is still the scariest movie I've ever seen.

It's hard to put into words why this movie triggers such an emotional response. There is no blood and gore, no creatures or monsters in plain sight. In fact, there is very little physical presence in this movie that should evoke such a fear reaction. True, there are multiple angle exterior shots of the mansion that make one feel as if the house is watching them all the time. And there are loud unexplained noises, bulging wall panels, and door knobs that turn by themselves. All-in-all, the physical evidence is pretty tame, especially by today's standards.

The fear reaction lies not in the physical form, but in the psychological sense. For example, as Theo and Nell cling to one another as wall pounding draws closer to their room, only to stop and dead silence replaces the noise. Later in the movie, Nell and Theo are again in their room when Nell grabs hold of Theo's hand as noise begins to build outside their bedroom door. Finally, unable to stand the noise any longer, Nell begins to scream which awakens Theo, who happens to be halfway across the room, and thus not close enough to be holding Nell's hand. So the question is "who or what was Nell holding?". There are many scenes that are similar to the above.

This film was directed by Robert Wise who made me believe there was something lurking around every corner, or there was something that was going to happen, but you just didn't know quite when. This is the type of directing that has given this movie the classic status it so richly deserves.

So, if you are more into the physical style of a movie, go see "Texas Chain Saw Massacre", but if you are ready for a genuinely scary movie, go rent or buy the 1963 version of "The Haunting".


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