Stoic and unemotional, Juror 4 (E. G. Marshall) voices his opinions well and with a seemingly calm exterior. While some other Jurors may rely on their personal feelings to debunk or back up Juror 8’s point of view, Juror 4 is completely unfazed throughout the entire film. And though this might be a good strategy in general, it is important to remember that there needs to be a balance between the two. This is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the film’s ability to showcase the many facets of the human condition through these twelve characters. In the film’s climax, Juror 4 is one of the last jurors to change his mind, but significantly, he is convinced purely based on facts.
James Ashmore Creelman’s tragic death came after a short, yet prolific career in Hollywood as the screenwriter behind some of the most iconic horror films of the 1930s, so it seemed fitting that he should be featured in Horror Month’s edition of SCREENPLAY BY. The son of journalist James Creelman, James Ashmore Creelman was born in Marietta, Ohio in 1894. He graduated from Yale University, where he served as the editor of the humorous magazine The Yale Record, before moving to Hollywood in 1924. His film credits include Grit (1924, dir. Frank Tuttle), High Hat (1927), which he also directed, King Kong (1933, dir. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack) and The Most Dangerous Game (1932, dir. Irving Pichel and Schoedsack), which I covered here. In September 1941, he jumped off a building to his death in New York City, at the age of 46.
Horror Month is here! I say this every year, don’t I? But that’s only because I adore classic horror (imagine…) and I love talking about it. So let’s get right into it! Here’s The Uninvited (1944, dir. Lewis Allen).
Rick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) fall head over heels in love with Windward House, a beautiful abandoned Cornish house that is just perfect for a break from the hoo-ha that is London. Upon meeting the owners, Commander Beech (Donald Crisp) and his granddaughter Stella (Gail Russell), they discover that there is much more to the house than meets the eye…
The original ‘are you telling us the house is haunted?’ movie, The Uninvited, based on Dorothy Macardle’s novel, manages to make you forget its now all too familiar tropes by being a badass of a psychological horror fest. The love child of Rebecca (1940, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) and The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz), The Uninvited reels us in with its charm – the dog and squirrel moment being one of the cutest things ever on film -, and makes us stay with its powerful message about the past, life, family and what it all means. Like so many horror flicks of the era, The Uninvited relies on its ability to effectively tell its story through suggestion, with the help of its stunning cinematography by the great (and Oscar-nominated) Charles Lang. As a result, Lewis Allen’s directorial debut went almost entirely the way he intented, had it not been for one scene, which makes use of a very real ghost. Other than that, it’s all in your head – a horror trope which will never, ever go out of style.