The Red House (1947)

“Do you think there’s a man on earth without something to conceal.” Based on a 1943 novel of the same name by George Agnew Chamberlain, The Red House was directed by Delmer Daves (Dark Passage) and features Edward G. Robinson at his creepiest as an old reclusive farmer named “Pete Morgan” with a wooden leg who goes to extraordinary lengths to keep his adopted teenage daughter “Meg” (Allene Roberts) from discovering a dark secret involving an abandoned red farmhouse nestled deep in the woods. Pete and his sister “Ellen” (Judith Anderson) hire one of Meg’s friends, “Nath Storm” (Lon McCallister) as a farmhand and before you know it Nath and Meg are out exploring the woods and looking for the fabled “Red House,” much to Pete’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Nath’s beautiful girlfriend, “Tibby” (Julie London) gets jealous that he’s spending all of his time in the woods with Meg. Adding fuel to the fire is “Teller” (Rory Calhoun) who has been hired by Pete to keep trespassers out of the woods by any means necessary. Oh yeah, Teller also has the hots for Tibby! The Red House is an entertaining, atmospheric psychological thriller with solid performances that builds tension slowly but managed to hold my interest throughout its 100-minute running time. One of the film’s taglines read, “What I cannot have … I’ll destroy.” The Red House features a great score by Miklos Rozsa. London portrayed nurse “Dixie McCall” on the TV medical drama Emergency! (1972-79).

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