The House of the Seven Gables (1940)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The House of the Seven Gables (1940) Poster

Fighting over an inheritance, one Pyncheon brother frames the other for murder.


7/10
957

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30 June 2017 | AlsExGal
7
| A tale of betrayal, time-defying love and revenge
This film bears little resemblance to the 19th century Hawthorne novel (which may be a good thing, since nothing happens for about the first two-thirds of the book). On the other hand, this film could have been a whole lot better. Still, it's a decent way to kill 90 minutes.

George Sanders gives his usual performance as a pompous scumbag trying to cheat brother Vincent Price out of the family fortune, even though the family is bankrupt. When their father suddenly dies during an argument with Price, Sanders accuses his brother of murder. The jury convicts Price without deliberating. Ah, the good old days of law and order. Decades pass and Price's sentence is commuted, all while his fiancée, played by Margaret Lindsay, has changed from a beautiful girl to a sour old crone, teased by passing teenagers, as she locks herself away in her grief and loneliness. This hasn't attenuated Price's love for her, though.

Sanders and Price spend the film trying to out-ham each other, with neither succeeding. Price does get to sing while pretending to play the harpsichord. There is an unnecessary subplot concocted by the screenwriter involving abolition and Sanders making money off the slave trade. I guess somebody felt his character wasn't repulsive enough.

Margaret Lindsay is the most persuasive performer in The House of the Seven Gables. While I know that most film fans will be more interested in the participation of George Sanders and Vincent Price as part of the cast, I think it can be argued that this film may well have been the highlight of her career as an actress. She has a dominant role in a class "A" production and neither of her more illustrious male co-stars dwarf her.

The only way to see this other than a chance showing on Turner Classic Movies and the rare illicit posting on youtube is the Universal Vault MOD, and it really is quite gorgeous. I'd suggest it if you can afford it.

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Genres

Drama | Thriller

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