The Uninvited (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Uninvited1944

The Uninvited (1944)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Uninvited Photos

Movie Info

The Uninvited is one of the rare Hollywood ghost stories that does not cop out with a "logical" ending. In fact, the film has more in common with British ghost tales of the period, in that the characters calmly accept spectral visitations as though they were everyday occurrences. Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister, Pamela (Ruth Hussey), buy a house on the Cornish seacoast, never suspecting that it is a "bad" house, subject to haunting. Before long, Roderick and Pamela are visited by Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), whose late mother, it is said, is the house ghost. It is further supposed that the ghost means to do Stella harm. Stella's grandfather Commander Beech (Donald Crisp) is close-mouthed on the issue, but it is clear he knows something that he isn't telling. Sure enough, there is a secret to the manor: it is inhabited by not one but two ghosts, one of whom is merely trying to shield Stella from harm. Once the film's deep dark secret is revealed (courtesy of a virtuoso "mad speech" by supporting actress Cornelia Otis Skinner), Roderick is able to single-handedly exorcise the estate and claim Stella as his bride. Based on the novel by Dorothy Macardle (with a few uncredited "lifts" from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca), The Uninvited remains one of the spookiest "old dark house" films ever made, even after years of inundation by computer-generated special effects. Less effective was the 1945 sequel, The Unseen, which starts well but degenerates into a substandard murder mystery.

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Ray Milland
as Roderick Fitzgerald
Ruth Hussey
as Pamela Fitzgerald
Gail Russell
as Stella Meredith
Donald Crisp
as Cdr. Bench
Cornelia Otis Skinner
as Miss Holloway
Alan Napier
as Dr. Scott
Barbara Everest
as Lizzie Flynn
Jessica Newcombe
as Miss Ellis
John Kiernan
as Foreword Narrator
John Kieran
as Foreword Narrator
Rita Page
as Annie
David Clyde
as Boot Owner
Norman Ainsley
as Chauffeur
Evan Thomas
as Col. Carlton
Ottola Nesmith
as Mrs. Carlton
Evan P. Simpson
as Will Hardy
Moyna MacGill
as Mrs. Coatsworthy
Queenie Leonard
as Mrs. Taylor
Leyland Hodgson
as Taxi Driver
Holmes Herbert
as Charlie Jessup
Helena Grant
as Servant
George Kirby
as Gas Station Attendant
Betty Farrington
as Mary Meredith
Elizabeth Russell
as Portrait of Mary Meredith
Lynda Grey
as Ghost of Mary Meredith/Body for Portrait
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Critic Reviews for The Uninvited

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

The Uninvited of the first films to treat the supernatural seriously, and to play ghosts and hauntings as something other than fodder for comedy.

October 28, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

For modern audiences, the movie is more elegantly creepy than truly scary, but it still charms.

March 27, 2009 | Full Review…

The one thing -- and the only thing -- about this film is that it sets out to give you the shivers -- and will do so, if you're readily disposed.

March 25, 2006 | Full Review…

The real strength of the film, though, is its atypical stance part way between psychology and the supernatural, achieving a disturbingly serious effect.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

An archetypal 40s ghost story, ambitiously decked out in high studio finery, with billowing curtains and other kinds of hyperromantic kitsch that can put you in mind of death by tuberculosis, though ultimately it's a bit of a letdown.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

It's not just the story that makes The Uninvited so memorable. It's the look and feel, the perfect way it captures encroaching dread, and the ghostly apparitions that take the film to the next level.

October 29, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Uninvited

An large abandoned home on the stormy and mysterious English coast is the setting for this leisurely stroll into the supernatural as a curious team (brother and sister, do ya get that in films much?) stumble into a old unbelievable claim of the house being haunted. It can't be true, it just can't be. And that's just one reason why this is a decent flick, as it begins by embracing the doubt we all feel when the subject of ghosts come up ... before a slow descent into unknown territory. The thing moves right along too, w/o the draggy feel films this old usually have, and though the script is convoluted it ties together at the end okay. Wait for the twist, it's pretty good.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Part ghost story and part who-dunnit mystery, 1944's "The Uninvited" takes the mind into the musty basements and cobwebbed corners of the dark unknown. Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey star as a brother and sister who stumble upon a great, abandoned seaside mansion on the English coast and quickly (or rather impulsively) decide to buy it. The owners, old commander Beech (Donald Crisp) and his granddaughter Stella (Gail Russell) seem to have very differing opinions of the old mansion and it's prospecive buyers, and it becomes all to clear there's more to the situation than meets the eye. The upstairs artist' studio, for example, has an air of depressing dankness in spite of it's great windows and spectacular view. There's also the matter of the mysterious cold draft that sets the hairs on the back of your neck on edge, even as it carries the scent of flowered perfume. It's here that the movie works most effectively, as characters squint and peer into impenetrable darkness, so we too in the audience do likewise, hoping to catch some glint off the tv screen as to what it is that menaces the young Stella and her friends. The Uninvited is very much a film of it's time, in that it never gets too dark or sinister. However, things like ouiji boards and seances are given quite effective use in the film. "The forces at work here are dangerous", and it's true. But what's more dangerous: hauntings and ghosts, or their effect on the human psyche? This film is more along the lines of "The Ghost and Mrs Muir" or perhaps even "The Thin Man" in terms of feeling and quality. Even though there are plenty of light-hearted 1940s moments, I can't deny the eeriness of this film.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


Wonderfully evocative atmosphere. Gail Russell has the perfect dreamy quality to fit the story.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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