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The Haunting

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The Haunting (1963) starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Johnson
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The Haunting (1963) starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Johnson

In The Haunting, four people go into an old mansion that’s supposedly haunted — Hill House. They arrive as psychic investigators, since the house has a long history of death. They slowly discover that the horrific tales about the place may have some truth in them …

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Cast of characters

  • Julie Harris (Requiem for a Heavyweight) as Eleanor “Nell” Lance. A nice, quiet, withdrawn lady. As a child, she experienced poltergeist activity. As an adult, she spent her life taking care of her invalid mother, who recently died. She feels friendless, alone, and unloved. Oddly, she feels an affinity for Hill House.
  • Claire Bloom (Limelight) as Theodora “Theo”. The psychic, who gets frightened after their second night in the mansion. She moves into Eleanor’s room. They’re not quite friendly to each other, but Theo’s not hostile, either.
  • Richard Johnson (Cat Girl) as Dr. John Markway. The doctor, investigating the paranormal actives he suspects at Hill House.
  • Lois Maxwell (Dr. No) as Grace Parkway. The doctor’s wife, who unexpectedly arrives at the mansion.
  • Russ Tamblyn (The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm; As Young As You Feel) as Luke Sanderson. The nephew of the current owner of the house. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural occurrences, at first.


  • Directed and produced by Robert Wise.
  • Dr. Markaway says early on, “makes you expect to find a disembodied hand in the sauce.” Eleanor later holds a disembodied hand while sleeping, then cries “Who’s hand was I holding?” Later still, Dr. Markaway forcibly leads Eleanor by the hand down the spiral staircase. 

Editorial review of The Haunting courtesy of

In an old New England house believed to be haunted, an ESP researcher enlists the help of two mediums to join the skeptical owner in the hopes they can learn more about the source of the house’s evil reputation. From the moment they walk through the door, things take a turn for the worse. Make sure your seat is comfortable because you’ll be spending most of this nail-biting movie seated on its edge. Starring Emmy and Tony-winner Julie Harris (TV’s “Knots Landing,” “Gorillas in the Mist“), Claire Bloom (“Crimes and Misdemeanors“) and Oscar-nominee Russ Tamblyn (“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Peyton Place“). Directed by Academy Award-winner Robert Wise (“The Sound of Music,” “West Side Story,” “Star Trek: The Motion Picture“). Leonard Maltin gives it 3 1/2 stars and warns, “Don’t see this one alone!”

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