Home by the Sea: Ray Milland Welcomes The Uninvited

Dr. Scott (Alan Napier), Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland), Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey, from left to right) try to find out what the supernatural events in the haunted house are all about.
Dr. Scott (Alan Napier), Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland), Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey, from left to right) try to find out what the supernatural events in the haunted house are all about.

Horror films were popular in the United States in the 1940s, in spite of the Second World War and the feel-good stories Hollywood brought to the silver screen to distract the people. Russian-born writer and producer Val Lewton, in particular, managed to attract a cult following with masterful B-movies such as Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie, or Isle Of The Dead, but other greats like Alfred Hitchcock also dabbled with the genre when arriving stateside. Some of these films from that era also featured A-level talent and not just Boris Karloff and other genre-specific stars. The Uninvited by director Lewis Allen based on a bestselling novel by Dorothy Macardle belongs to that category.

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Private Investigations: The Birth of the Hard-boiled Detective in John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart, right) uses his very own investigative methods on the sneaky Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre, left).

Nowadays, devious investigators must be considered an integral part of the Hollywood repertoire. That wasn’t always the case. Their archetype is a guy named Sam Spade, who first appeared on the big screen in 1941. At the time, the character created by writer Dashiell Hammett had already been immensely popular as the hero of the crime novel The Maltese Falcon.

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The (Not So) Simple Art of Murder: Seamless Editing and Friedrich Nietzsche Revisited in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope

Teacher Rupert Cadell (James Stewart, center) 'interrogates' his students Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger, left) and Brandon Shaw (John Dall, right).

Everybody knows – or has at least heard of – Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpieces. Rear Window, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds, these names ring a bell with anybody who’s at least somewhat interested in cinema. Yet the English ‘Master of Suspense’ has created so many more wonderful movies, and film buffs still love to discuss his work, even more than three decades after his death. One of the smaller pictures but certainly underrated gems in his illustrious career is Rope, a rather black comedy meets closed chamber mystery peppered with all sorts of finesses.

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Sanada (Takashi Shimura, left) treats Matsanuga (Toshirô Mifune, right).

Ray of Hope: The Bleak Postwar Universe of Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel

Sanada (Takashi Shimura, left) treats Matsanuga (Toshirô Mifune, right).

Japanese master Akira Kurosawa is arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Yet he seems to have been largely forgotten by modern cinemagoers – despite the fact that he produced a string of great movies that have influenced so many Hollywood and foreign classics. We’ve all heard of John Sturges’s The Magnificent Seven, Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars, and, of course, George Lucas’s epic Star Wars, right? Not many people know that none of them would have been possible without Kurosawa.

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