Hill House has stood for about 90 years and appears haunted: its inhabitants have always met strange, tragic ends. Now Dr. John Markway has assembled a team of people who he thinks will prove whether or not the house is haunted.
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 <email@example.com>
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. Harris had gone to Bloom after filming and told her she felt isolation was necessary for the role... and they became friends. See more »
After dinner, Luke heads off to his room at the end of the hall and turns left. After the the cold spot is discovered, he turns right for his room at the end of the hall. See more »
Dr. John Markway:
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.
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The 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. Sanderson 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 Sanderson and Markway but in this version, it is Sanderson 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 its place is a scene where Theo throws her lover out her apartment 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, who requires the excess postage to be paid. Theo already knows this is to be paid and there is humorous exchange concerning her ESP or her 'gift.'
There are several extended scenes involving Eleanor's 'inner thoughts' - most of which tie into her thoughts on her possible relationship with Markway. The scene showing her traveling to Hill house is extended with more 'inner monologue' 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."
This movie is a genuine Hitchcock-esque classic. Predating modern special effects, this movie subtly maneuvers the viewer into a crescendo of paranoia. My mother introduced me to this movie when I was still very young (and since the terror is of the psychological variety, it is a strangely age-appropriate movie for youngsters who wish to see scary movies).
I think that the casting, concept, and script are all brilliant. This movie does not need the glitz of Hollywood effects because there is enough cranial content to more than compensate for what most people nowadays consider necessary visual enhancements.
The cast has an amazing chemistry and plausibility. I don't recommend this movie to effects-addicts. If you appreciate well-executed theatre, believable acting, using your OWN imagination, then... see for yourself!
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