The Haunting (1963)

112 mins | Horror | 18 September 1963

Director:

Robert Wise

Writer:

Nelson Gidding

Producer:

Robert Wise

Cinematographer:

Davis Boulton

Editor:

Ernest Walter

Production Designer:

Elliot Scott

Production Company:

Argyle Enterprises
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HISTORY

The 8 Mar 1961 Var referred to the project as The Haunting of Hill House, the title of the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson upon which it was based. Ten months later, the 19 Jan 1962 DV noted that the title was shortened to The Haunting. A news item in the 3 Apr 1962 LAT reported that Eva Marie Saint would star in the film. Producer-director Robert Wise was scheduled to leave 5 May 1966 for location shooting in England, according to the 26 Apr 1962 DV. On 4 Jun 1962, LAT announced Julie Harris as the star of the picture. However, the 12 Sep 1962 DV reported that production was postponed, due to Harris’s commitment to appear in A Shot in the Dark on Broadway through 15 Sep 1962. Filming began 4 Oct 1962, as stated in 5 Oct 1962 DV production charts. An article in the 29 Nov 1962 DV noted that the film was the first to be photographed with a newly-developed Panavision lens, “the widest anamorphic lens in existence” at the time.
       In an open letter to the 11 Dec 1962 LAT , Robert Wise commended the cast, and especially Harris, who memorized the entire script before the start of production. He also mentioned actress Claire Bloom’s concern over whether she would be able to return to New York City for Christmas. A column in the 8 Feb 1963 LAT stated that Bloom’s obligation to the film was completed, ... More Less

The 8 Mar 1961 Var referred to the project as The Haunting of Hill House, the title of the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson upon which it was based. Ten months later, the 19 Jan 1962 DV noted that the title was shortened to The Haunting. A news item in the 3 Apr 1962 LAT reported that Eva Marie Saint would star in the film. Producer-director Robert Wise was scheduled to leave 5 May 1966 for location shooting in England, according to the 26 Apr 1962 DV. On 4 Jun 1962, LAT announced Julie Harris as the star of the picture. However, the 12 Sep 1962 DV reported that production was postponed, due to Harris’s commitment to appear in A Shot in the Dark on Broadway through 15 Sep 1962. Filming began 4 Oct 1962, as stated in 5 Oct 1962 DV production charts. An article in the 29 Nov 1962 DV noted that the film was the first to be photographed with a newly-developed Panavision lens, “the widest anamorphic lens in existence” at the time.
       In an open letter to the 11 Dec 1962 LAT , Robert Wise commended the cast, and especially Harris, who memorized the entire script before the start of production. He also mentioned actress Claire Bloom’s concern over whether she would be able to return to New York City for Christmas. A column in the 8 Feb 1963 LAT stated that Bloom’s obligation to the film was completed, but she was remaining in London for another production. According to the 23 Jul 1963 DV, Wise spent ten months on the project.
       The 8 Mar 1963 DV reported that Wise intended to finish post-production within the next three weeks. The 19 Mar 1963 DV added that an answer print would be available for previews the following month.
       The Haunting opened in New York City and Los Angeles, CA, on 18 Sep 1963. The 24 Sep 1963 noted that it was on a double bill with The Square of Violence (1963, see entry). Critical notices were lukewarm, with the 19 Sep 1963 NYT commenting that the plot “makes more goose pimples than sense.” Parents magazine disagreed, naming it “Picture of the Month” for its Sep 1963 issue. Opening week receipts were also encouraging, with totals of $29,000 and $27,000 from single locations in New York City and Chicago, respectively.
       Distributor MGM publicized the film with its “search for the supernatural,” soliciting accounts of the paranormal through classified newspaper advertising. On behalf of the studio, parapsychologist Dr. Nandor Fodor embarked on a tour of the Midwestern and southern states, in which he publicly evaluated the responses.
       The 13 Sep 1963 LAT identified a female stunt player who performed two death scenes as Connie Tilton.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1962
p. 8.
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1963
p. 12.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1963
p. 6.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Sep 1963
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1963
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1962
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jun 1962
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1962
Section E, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1963
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1963
Section C, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
24 Sep 1963
Section D, p. 11.
New York Times
30 Jan 1962
p. 20.
New York Times
19 Dec 1963
p. 23.
Variety
8 Mar 1961
p. 3, 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Wise Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Sketch artist
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Claire bloom's clothes
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Rec supv
Dub ed
Dub mix
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (New York, 1959).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Haunting of Hill House
Release Date:
18 September 1963
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 September 1963
Production Date:
4 October 1962--early 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Argyle Enterprises
Copyright Date:
21 June 1963
Copyright Number:
LP26096
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
112
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Dr. John Markway, an anthropologist with an interest in psychic research, learns that Hill House, an old mansion in New England, has a reputation for evil and supposedly is filled with supernatural powers; and he decides to conduct an experiment there. Assisting him are two women he has carefully selected: Eleanor Vance, a lonely, withdrawn woman who supposedly had a supernatural experience at the age of 10 and has devoted her life to caring for her invalid mother; and Theodora, a bohemian of lesbian leanings and remarkable extrasensory perception. Luke Sannerson, a skeptic who stands to inherit the house, accompanies them. Almost immediately the quartet are subjected to thunderous poundings, hideous screeching, and other terrifying phenomena for which Markway can find no rational explanation. Eleanor feels that the house is calling to her; and she begins to treat it as a living object. At this point Dr. Markway's skeptical wife, Grace, arrives and, defying the ghost, tries to persuade her husband to give up his experiments. Eleanor, who has fallen in love with Markway, now loses all touch with reality; and the other members of the group decide that for her own safety she must leave. As she drives away she feels a force tugging at the steering wheel; then, suddenly, Grace appears in the road, and Eleanor, in attempting to avoid hitting her, swerves off the road and is killed by crashing into the same tree under which the first mistress of Hill House ... +


Dr. John Markway, an anthropologist with an interest in psychic research, learns that Hill House, an old mansion in New England, has a reputation for evil and supposedly is filled with supernatural powers; and he decides to conduct an experiment there. Assisting him are two women he has carefully selected: Eleanor Vance, a lonely, withdrawn woman who supposedly had a supernatural experience at the age of 10 and has devoted her life to caring for her invalid mother; and Theodora, a bohemian of lesbian leanings and remarkable extrasensory perception. Luke Sannerson, a skeptic who stands to inherit the house, accompanies them. Almost immediately the quartet are subjected to thunderous poundings, hideous screeching, and other terrifying phenomena for which Markway can find no rational explanation. Eleanor feels that the house is calling to her; and she begins to treat it as a living object. At this point Dr. Markway's skeptical wife, Grace, arrives and, defying the ghost, tries to persuade her husband to give up his experiments. Eleanor, who has fallen in love with Markway, now loses all touch with reality; and the other members of the group decide that for her own safety she must leave. As she drives away she feels a force tugging at the steering wheel; then, suddenly, Grace appears in the road, and Eleanor, in attempting to avoid hitting her, swerves off the road and is killed by crashing into the same tree under which the first mistress of Hill House died. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.