The Woman in White (1948)

Article 2631 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-18-2008
Posting Date: 10-26-2008
Directed by Peter Godfrey
Featuring Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet
Country: USA

An artist meets the strange characters at an English estate. He begins to suspect that a visiting count has sinister designs on the family fortune. He also encounters a strange woman in white who bears an uncanny resemblance to the daughter at the manor.

“The Motion Picture Guide” classifies this movie as a horror/mystery, but most of my other guides omit this one. I can see why. The horror elements are very slight; there’s certainly a mysterious element to the appearance of the woman in white, but outside of that, the only fantastic genre touches are the presence of the common horror elements of madness and hypnotism, and these are used only slightly if effectively. The movie is also quite entertaining, but, for me, the best thing about watching this one was being able to encounter the great Sydney Greenstreet; the only other movie I’ve seen him in for this series is BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. He’s great here as the menacing and scheming Count Fosco, and, for those who love character actors, he’s married to the character played by Agnes Moorehead, who gives one of her most restrained performances, and is also excellent. John Abbott’s character is similar to Vincent Price’s in HOUSE OF USHER, except he’s played more for comic effect. The story is complex enough that I have a hankering to read the original Wilkie Collins novel on which this is based.


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