David Von Pein

The Haunting (1963)

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Classic--Movies.blogspot.com / The Haunting (1963)

 

"The original 1963 The Haunting is a masterpiece of suspense. We don't see any floating spirits, and we don't get to see a dozen or so teenagers chopped into mince meat either. And that's the beauty of it. Our imaginations are brought to the forefront throughout this whole movie.

 

Excellent black-and-white photography and some chilling music add to the eerie proceedings, plus some fine acting is on tap as well.

 

A fine, subtle acting performance is turned in by Rosalie Crutchley (as Mrs. Dudley, the housekeeper who refuses to stay in the house after dark -- "I leave before the dark comes ... in the night ... in the dark"). Mrs. Dudley conveys a feeling of dread and fear of the very house she oversees during the daylight hours. The scene where she first meets "Eleanor" and smiles at her briefly is a truly creepy moment. The film is replete with such subtle moments of understated foreboding.

 

I've not been able to figure out, however, just WHO (or WHAT) Mrs. Dudley has been keeping house for (and serving meals to) during all those days and months prior to the visit of Eleanor and company. Because if nobody lives in Hill House, then why is there even a need for a housekeeper and her caretaker husband? Has she been serving only...ghosts...all this time? Supernatural food for thought?"

 

-- David Von Pein; August 2005

 

Amazon.com/DVP Review/R1N2YR1R0JBERX

 

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tcm.com / THE HAUNTING

Edited by David Von Pein

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Even a house void of humans needs a caretaker & groundskeeper, re the Overlook Hotel in THE SHINING. Especially when a home is furnished.

Business can take me away for months at a time and I hire a house sitter. I need someone to occupy my house as a deterrent to burglars and be on top of any accident/disasters like pipes freezing or a tree coming down on the roof. 

 

Sorry if that's not a supernatural answer like you were looking for.

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TikiSoo,

I can understand the need for a groundskeeper (or "caretaker") even when a house has been vacant for years. The grass is going to grow whether anyone is inside the dwelling or not. But the need for a maid or a housekeeper to come to work every day of the week in order to work inside a completely empty house is something that seems totally unnecessary to me.

And although she doesn't expressly come out and say so in the film, I get the distinct impression from the way Mrs. Dudley talks to the ghost hunters in "The Haunting" that she has established a normal routine and habit for serving meals at Hill House and leaving "before the dark comes". "I set dinner on the kitchen sideboard at six. I clean up in the morning," says Mrs. Dudley.

Oh well. Perhaps Mrs. Dudley has been serving meals to Vincent Price and Peter Lorre when she's not cooking for ghost hunters. After all, if she's been coming to work at a totally vacant house every day for years, she needs something to keep her busy. And Vincent was a gourmet cook too. So he can help her with those midnight suppers she's been cooking for Vincent and Peter.  :)

Edited by David Von Pein

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