Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
The Haunting (1963 film)

The Haunting (1963 film)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'The Haunting (1963 film)'
Start a new discussion about 'The Haunting (1963 film)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Haunting is a 1963 British psychological horror
Psychological horror
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot...

 film by American director Robert Wise
Robert Wise
Robert Earl Wise was an American sound effects editor, film editor, film producer and director...

 and adapted by Nelson Gidding
Nelson Gidding
Nelson Roosevelt Gidding was an American screenwriter specializing in adaptations. A longtime collaboration with director Robert Wise began with Gidding's screenplay for I Want To Live! , which earned him an Oscar nomination...

 from the novel The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House
For the Richard Matheson novel, see Hell House, made into a film titled The Legend of Hell House.The Haunting of Hill House is a 1959 novel by author Shirley Jackson. Finalist for the National Book Award and considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the twentieth century,...

by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson was an American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years...

. It stars Julie Harris
Julie Harris
Julia Ann "Julie" Harris is an American stage, screen, and television actress. She has won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame...

, Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom is an English film and stage actress.-Early life:Bloom was born in the North London suburb of Finchley, the daughter of Elizabeth and Edward Max Blume, who worked in sales...

, Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson (actor)
Richard Johnson is an English actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and has also had a distinguished stage career. He most recently appeared in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.-Life and career:...

, and Russ Tamblyn
Russ Tamblyn
Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn is an American film and television actor, who is arguably best known for his performance in the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang....

. The film centers around the conflict between a team of paranormal
Paranormal
Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure...

 investigators and the house in which they spend several nights. This film was remade in 1999
The Haunting (1999 film)
The Haunting is a 1999 remake of the 1963 horror film of the same name. Both films are based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, published in 1959. The Haunting was directed by Jan de Bont and stars Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor...

.

Plot


Eleanor "Nell" Lance (Julie Harris
Julie Harris
Julia Ann "Julie" Harris is an American stage, screen, and television actress. She has won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame...

), Theodora "Theo" (Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom is an English film and stage actress.-Early life:Bloom was born in the North London suburb of Finchley, the daughter of Elizabeth and Edward Max Blume, who worked in sales...

), and Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn
Russ Tamblyn
Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn is an American film and television actor, who is arguably best known for his performance in the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang....

) accompany Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson (actor)
Richard Johnson is an English actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and has also had a distinguished stage career. He most recently appeared in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.-Life and career:...

) during an investigation into the paranormal
Paranormal
Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure...

. Markway believes that an old mansion with a sinister past called Hill House will provide him with the proof he seeks of the existence of the supernatural. Luke is the next in line to inherit the house, and is volunteered by the current owner to join Markway both as a sceptic and overseer. Nell and Theo are the only responders to an invitation Markway sent out to various people who had come in contact with the supernatural at some point in their lives. After the four meet up in Hill House, strange things begin to happen, most of which seem centered on Nell. She finds that she is both frightened of, and enjoys the attention the house affords her, and becomes drawn deeper and deeper in by the forces within the house.

Cast

  • Julie Harris
    Julie Harris
    Julia Ann "Julie" Harris is an American stage, screen, and television actress. She has won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame...

     as Eleanor "Nell" Lance
  • Claire Bloom
    Claire Bloom
    Claire Bloom is an English film and stage actress.-Early life:Bloom was born in the North London suburb of Finchley, the daughter of Elizabeth and Edward Max Blume, who worked in sales...

     as Theodora "Theo"
  • Richard Johnson
    Richard Johnson (actor)
    Richard Johnson is an English actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and has also had a distinguished stage career. He most recently appeared in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.-Life and career:...

     as Dr. John Markway
  • Russ Tamblyn
    Russ Tamblyn
    Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn is an American film and television actor, who is arguably best known for his performance in the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang....

     as Luke Sanderson
  • Fay Compton
    Fay Compton
    Fay Compton was an English actress from a notable acting lineage; her father was actor/manager Edward Compton; her mother, Virginia Bateman, was a distinguished member of the profession, as were her sister, the actress Viola Compton, and her uncles and aunts. Her grandfather was the 19th-century...

     as Mrs. Sanderson
  • Rosalie Crutchley
    Rosalie Crutchley
    Rosalie Crutchley was an English actress. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Crutchley was best known for her television performances, but had a long and successful career in the theatre and in films, making her stage debut at least as early as 1932 and her screen debut in 1947...

     as Mrs. Dudley
  • Lois Maxwell
    Lois Maxwell
    Lois Maxwell was a Canadian actress.Maxwell began her film career in the late 1940s, and won a Golden Globe Award for the New Actress of the Year for her performance in That Hagen Girl...

     as Grace Markway
  • Valentine Dyall
    Valentine Dyall
    Valentine Dyall was an English character actor, the son of veteran actor Franklin Dyall. Dyall was especially popular as a voice actor, due to his very distinctive sepulchral voice, he was known for many years as "The Man in Black", narrator of the BBC Radio horror series Appointment With Fear.In...

     as Mr. Dudley
  • Diane Clare
    Diane Clare
    -Filmography:* Ice-Cold in Alex * Indiscreet * The Reluctant Debutante * Let's Get Married * The Green Helmet * The Naked Edge * Out of the Shadow * Lunch Hour...

     as Carrie Fredericks
  • Ronald Adam
    Ronald Adam (actor)
    Ronald Adam OBE , born Ronald George Hinings Adams, was a British RAF officer, an actor on stage and screen and a successful theatre manager.-Early life:...

     as Eldridge Harper

Differences between film and novel



The film contains several deviations from the novel including:
  • Dr. Montague of the novel becomes Dr. Markway.
  • Dr. Markway appears much younger than the Dr. Montague described in the novel.
  • Eleanor Vance's last name becomes Lance.
  • In the film, Eleanor doesn't leave her room after the arrival of Mrs. Montague and begin laughing and knocking on the other's doors, awakening them from their sleep, resulting in the search for her where she is discovered on the spiral staircase in the library.
  • The kitchen and all events which occurred therein, including Mrs. Montague's conversation with Mrs. Dudley, are not present in the film.
  • Dr. Markway rescues Eleanor from the fragile spiral staircase in the Library, whereas Luke does so in the novel.
  • Mrs. Montague is portrayed as an arrogant, flighty mystic in the book, whereas Mrs. Markway is a hard-nosed sceptic who wishes to convince her husband to give up his research and return home.
  • Mrs. Montague doesn't disappear during the course of the novel.
  • Eleanor's confession to Theodora that she is homeless occurs inside Hill House in the film. In the novel, Eleanor reveals this only after she is sitting in her car.
  • Eleanor's ability to "feel" things going on in the house is absent in the film.
  • Eleanor has some affections for Luke in the novel, who appears to favour the company of Theodora. The film version finds Dr. Markway carelessly forgetting to mention that he's married, and consequently Eleanor mistakes his academic interest in her, coupled with his kindness and charm, for genuine affection, which she returns.
  • Dr. Markway has a key to the front gate but Dr. Montague doesn't.
  • No one was to accompany Eleanor during her departure in the novel.
  • In the novel, Theodora moves into Eleanor's room after a message written in blood is found on the wall of Theodora's room. No such event occurs in the film, and Theodora moves into Eleanor's room at Dr. Markway's request.
  • Eleanor does not struggle to regain control of her vehicle in the novel.
  • The novel ends abruptly with Eleanor's implied suicide. The film lingers with the affirmation of Eleanor's death, the reappearance of Mrs. Markway and Dr. Markway's assertion that Hill House is haunted.
  • Mrs. Montague's companion Arthur is not present in the film.

Production


Production began on October 1, 1962 at MGM Borehamwood
Borehamwood
-Film industry:Since the 1920s, the town has been home to several film studios and many shots of its streets are included in final cuts of 20th century British films. This earned it the nickname of the "British Hollywood"...

, England with a budget of $1.4 million. The external shots of the house are of Ettington Hall
Ettington
Ettington is a village in Warwickshire, England. It is located eight kilometres south-east of Stratford upon Avon and is less than a mile west of the Fosse Way...

, near Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, south east of Birmingham and south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers...

 (now the Ettington Park Hotel). Wise used infra-red film for exterior shots to emphasise the "striations of the stone" and make it look "more of a monster house". The film was remade in 1999, also titled The Haunting
The Haunting (1999 film)
The Haunting is a 1999 remake of the 1963 horror film of the same name. Both films are based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, published in 1959. The Haunting was directed by Jan de Bont and stars Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor...

, but with little critical appreciation.

Reception


On the Bravo network television show 100 Scariest Movie Moments
100 Scariest Movie Moments
The 100 Scariest Movie Moments is a television documentary miniseries that first aired in late October 2004 on Bravo. Aired in five 60-minute segments, the miniseries counts down what producer Anthony Timpone, writer Patrick Moses, and director Kevin Kaufman have determined as the 100 most...

, The Haunting was listed at eighteenth on the list. The Haunting opened in 1963 to mostly positive reviews, including Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. Earlier in her career, her work appeared in City Lights, McCall's and The New Republic....

's, who praised it as "elegantly sinister... good fun".

The film's stature and following has grown steadily since its original release.
Director Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

 placed The Haunting first on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time.

In 2010, Cinema Retro magazine hosted a screening of the film at Ettington Hall, where Robert Wise shot the exteriors. Richard Johnson was a special guest at the event and participated in a Q&A prior to the screening. Johnson recalled that Ettington Hall, now an elegant hotel named Ettington Park, was a private residence at the time and that this was the first occasion he had actually been inside the premises.

Pop culture references


The 1988 alternative/dance single "Cruel Lovin'" by studio group A.K.A., a side project by Kurt Larson
Kurt Larson
Kurt Arvin Larson is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League. He played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers . He played at the collegiate level at Michigan State University.-References:...

 and Mithat Konar, contains samples of dialogue from "The Haunting" spoken by Julie Harris, specifically the lines, "The house is coming down around me. The house is destroying itself!"

The 1995 White Zombie single "Super-Charger Heaven
Super-Charger Heaven
"Super-Charger Heaven" is the third and final single off White Zombie's 1995 studio album, Astro-Creep: 2000...

" contains film dialogue spoken by Richard Johnson: "Look, I know the supernatural is something that isn't supposed to happen, but it does happen."

The Misfits released a song called "The Haunting" on their 1997 album American Psycho
American Psycho (album)
American Psycho is an album by the Misfits. Released May 13, 1997, it was the first to be recorded and released without founder and leader Glenn Danzig...

.

Home media


In 2003, Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video is the home video unit of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., itself part of Time Warner. It was founded in 1978 as WCI Home Video . The company launched in the United States with twenty films on VHS and Betamax videocassettes in late 1979...

 released the film on DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

in its original screen format, including voice-over commentary from its director, screenwriter, and four lead actors.