The Red House (1947)

THE RED HOUSE (1947)
Article #1044 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-23-2004
Posting Date: 6-21-2004
Directed by Delmer Daves
Featuring Edward G. Robinson, Lon McCallister, Judith Anderson

A teenage boy takes a job on a remote farm, but crosses swords with the wooden-legged owner when he tries to take a shortcut through the local woods.

Edward G. Robinson is one of my very favorite actors, but since he only occasionally worked in movies that belong to the genres I’m covering, I haven’t been able to talk about his work near enough. Here he is riveting as a man who is haunted by a past he can’t forget and who is eaten up by fear. The movie starts out with some real horror content and features the scariest walk in the woods this side of I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF, but gives every indication as it goes along of being one of those movies in which the horror has a mundane explanation. It does shift back into horror towards the end, though of a more psychological variety, and there are moments that may well make you think of PSYCHO before it’s all through. On top of the excellent performance by Robinson, there is also a fine one from Allene Roberts as the adopted daughter bent on unravelling the mystery. It’s not perfect; it’s a little too long, so you end up figuring some of the final revelations before you should, and it gets a little repetitive at times, but the strong acting and some memorable images make it worth the investment.

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