Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1944. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Dodie Smith, Frank Partos, based on the novel Uneasy Freehold by Dorothy Macardle. Cinematography by Charles Lang. Produced by Charles Brackett. Music by Victor Young. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Doane Harrison. Academy Awards 1944.
Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey are siblings who decide to buy an abandoned mansion at the top of a hill in an English village, completely unaware of its miserable history. The man they buy the house from (Donald Crisp) is more than willing to let it go, while his daughter (Gail Russell) longs to hold on to it as it was the place her mother once lived with her cad of a father who has long decamped. Renovations are made and settling in is accomplished, and then the voice of an old woman crying is heard every night before dawn. Where it goes from there is the investigation of a romantic past involving players both living and dead. The impression of the gorgeous cinematography and surprisingly effective special effects will linger with you long after the film is over in this terrific ghost story, one that still manages to be very chilling after so many decades.