Guest in the House
|Guest in the House|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Brahm
Lewis Milestone (uncredited)
|Produced by||Hunt Stromberg|
|Screenplay by||Ketti Frings|
|Story by||Katherine Albert|
|Based on||the play Guest in the House
by Hagar Wilde
|Music by||Werner Janssen|
|Edited by||Walter Hannemann
James E. Newcom
Hunt Stromberg Productions
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|December 8, 1944|
Martha Proctor believes something evil has come to her home. Her nephew Dr. Dan Proctor arrives with his betrothed, Evelyn Heath, who is a frail invalid. Evelyn is introduced to Aunt Martha as well as Dan's older brother, Douglas, an illustrator, along with Douglas's wife Ann and his model, Miriam.
The women sympathize with Evelyn, knowing of the hard life she has had. Evelyn has bouts of hysteria, involving her fear of birds, and also keeps a secret diary in which she mocks her fiancé Dan and expresses a desire for Douglas instead.
While plotting to seduce Douglas, and accusing Dan of jealousy to make him leave, Evelyn next sets out to rid the house of Miriam, whom she sees as a rival. Her gossip succeeds in getting back to Aunt Martha and turning everyone's suspicions to Miriam, who departs.
Douglas then quarrels with Ann, driven apart by Evelyn's diabolical schemes. Evelyn goes so far as to destroy the goodbye note Ann has written to him. By the time everyone realizes who's behind all this and decide to commit Evelyn to an asylum, a hysterical Evelyn flees from the house, screaming, and plunges to her death.
- Anne Baxter as Evelyn Heath
- Ralph Bellamy as Douglas Proctor
- Aline MacMahon as Aunt Martha
- Ruth Warrick as Ann Proctor
- Scott McKay as Dr. Dan Proctor
- Marie McDonald as Miriam
- Jerome Cowan as Mr. Hackett
- Margaret Hamilton as Hilda, the Maid
- Percy Kilbride as John, the Butler
- Connie Laird as Lee Proctor
Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, gave the film a mixed review when it first opened, writing, "For a more cracked and incredible tale than this quaint one of a mischief-making female has not lately disturbed the screen. As a play by Hagar Wilde and Dale Eunson, it had a moderate run, we understand, but as a film it is openly in peril of being laughed into a quick decline. The fault is as much in the story as it is in the handling by all concerned, for the story is cheaply synthetic and about as logical as a crooner's song...Nor is any help rendered by Anne Baxter, who plays the wrecker with so much coyness that anyone, shy of a blind man, could see that she was up to tricks. And Ralph Bellamy is equally ridiculous as a middle-aged Byronic beau who tries to be boyish and amorous and also solemn and wise. Miss MacMahon remains in the background, which is a happy place for one in this film, while Ruth Warwick, Scott McKay and Jerome Cowan get entwined with the torturings up front. Mr. Stromberg is an eminent producer, but his grip certainly slipped on this job."
- Guest in the House at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 339
- Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3. p203
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, February 16, 1945. Last accessed: February 9, 2010.
- Guest in the House at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Guest in the House at the Internet Movie Database
- Guest in the House at AllMovie
- Guest in the House at the TCM Movie Database
- Guest in the House is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- on YouTube (Classics movie online)