A secretive widower hires a governess for his children, a willful boy and impressionable girl. Strange occurrences and the governess's curiosity lead her to unlock the secrets of the mysterious and uninhabited brownstone next door.
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Governess Elizabeth Howard fears that David, both her widowed employer and the man she loves, could be the strangler that's stalking women in the small New England town where they live. So does the police. His little son Barnaby knows who the killer is but won't tell. Elizabeth becomes convinced that the killer is now stalking her as well.
The Unseen is directed by Lewis Allen and collectively written by Hagar Wilde, Ken Englund and Raymond Chandler. It's adapted from Ethel Lina White's novel "Her Heart in Her Throat". It stars Joel McCrea, Gail Russell, Herbert Marshall, Phyllis Brooks and Isobel Elsom. Music is by Ernst Toch and cinematography by John F. Seitz.
Elizabeth Howard (Russell) is hired as a governess for David Fielding's (McCrea) two children. With David being secretive and strange occurrences happening, she begins to unravel the mystery of the empty house next door.
Foolishly seen as a follow up to the far superior The Uninvited (1944), The Unseen is efficient without really rising to thrilling heights. Taken as a mood piece it scores favourably, lots of shadows, cobbled streets, darkened rooms and plenty of suspicious goings on, but as a mystery it falls flat. It gets off to a mixed start, with a grisly murder bogged down by a clumsy narration, from there we are on board with Russell's governess who gets more than she bargained for in her new employment. A number of characters drift in and out of proceedings, but the villain of the piece is evident from the get go, and it builds to a disappointingly flat finale.
A sort of weak companion piece to Gaslight (original and remake) and The Innocents, it's not recommended with any great confidence. Those looking for better and similar tonal fare from Lewis Allen are advised to seek out the aforementioned The Uninvited and So Evil My Love (1948). 5/10
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