The Unseen Film Details
Overview: A secretive widower hires a governess for his children, a willful boy and impressionable girl. Strange occurrences and the governess’s curiosity lead her to unlock the secrets of the mysterious and uninhabited brownstone next door.
Tagline: AN EERIE STORY OF THE WHISPERING PAST!
Review: Gail Russell was beautiful and sensitive and may have had a long, happy life if she had not become a movie star. She was contentedly working toward a career as a commercial artist when she was discovered at high school and given a Paramount contract. By the time of “The Unseen” she was already developing a drinking habit which was the only thing that could steady her nerves before the cameras. “The Unseen” was obviously designed to be a follow up to her big hit of the year before, “The Uninvited”. The sad, soulful eyes of Gail Russell are put to good use as she plays Elizabeth Howard, who finds a job as a governess in the Fielding household. The blurb on the back of my DVD seems to be the plot for a completely different movie as there is no mention (in the movie) that husband Dave Fielding (Joel McCrea) is suspected of causing his wife’s death. Also the oft repeated comment that this movie was a poor relation of “The Uninvited” is simply not true. Based on a story by the popular Ethel Lina White (her “The Wheel Spins” became “The Lady Vanishes” and “Some Must Watch” became “The Spiral Staircase”) and with the help of Raymond Chandler on the screenplay, it meshed “The Turn of the Screw” with “Gaslight” to produce an eerie mystery. It didn’t have “The Uninvited”‘s production values and it didn’t have the haunting theme of “Stella By Starlight” but it was still a very creepy thriller. Elizabeth finds the children distant – Ellen has a scrapbook containing accounts of the Salem Alley murder, a recent sensational crime that has gripped the neighbourhood and Barney (Richard Lyon, adopted son of Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, gives an excellent performance) has strange phone conversations with “unseen” people. Both children need an understanding friend. Shadows of “The Turn of the Screw” as Elizabeth fights the influence of a governess who was dismissed for being a bad influence on the children. Barney not only collects money off persons unknown, he also communicates with a mysterious stranger who comes and goes from the house at will – thanks to an open door courtesy of Barney. It turns out to be Maxine (Phyllis Brooks) the old governess and boy, is she a toughie!!! It doesn’t take Barney long to realise he has been loyal to the wrong person. Another interwoven plot (ala “Gaslight”) concerns the boarded up house next door that was the scene of a murder 12 years before and now seems to have night wanderers!! As another reviewer remarked, it is pretty clear who the murderer is – it was never going to be Joel McCrea!! There are several characters who pop up – kindly doctor (Herbert Marshall), Isobel Elsom as the woman who owns the house next door, her husband had been the murder victim Elizabeth Risdon as the sour housekeeper and Tom Tully as a red herring. The movie ends abruptly – within 60 seconds of a showdown in the library, the murderer is caught and there is still time for a clinch and jokes on the stairs. It’s like the director is saying “We have 60 seconds to finish this movie guys so sharp’s the word”!!! Recommended.
Duration: 80 min
Genre: Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
Also known as: Talo, missä kauhu asui,The Unseen,Der Tod wohnt nebenan,Nevăzutul,La sombra funesta,Aoratos apeili,Misterio en la noche,Her Heart in Her Throat,Medo Que Domina,L’Invisible Meurtrier,Skuggan,Il fantasma,Fear