|I’ve just watched The Haunting, the original 1963 version directed by Robert Wise that starred Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Thomas and Russ Tamblyn.
When I saw it for the first time, I was ten-years-old. And I didn't sleep for weeks, I was so terrified. It haunted me until I saw it again recently.
In viewing the The Haunting this time around, I focused on the fashion, exterior life and food as if I had been cast in the part of Theodora. I suppose my acting experience had something to do with me watching the movie from that angle.
What initially struck me is how much I loved the grandeur of Hill House. Were it not haunted, I would have loved to live in this gargoyle-laden Victorian palace!
Entering the house first are Julie Harris (Eleanor) and Claire Bloom (Theo). Julie is dressed rather dowdy with a natural, no-makeup look. But Claire looks stunning…"gorgeous" would be the more appropriate word.
Claire’s clothes were designed for the film by Mary Quant. [Quant was costume designer for several movies in the 60's such as Georgy Girl with Lynn Redgrave.]
I wanted all of the outfits she had on in The Haunting. I just hoped that the leopard print jacket she was wearing was a fake. Okay, maybe I can do without the fake leopard jacket. But I imagined what I would look like in the rest of Claire's dreamy clothes. That timeless style is still fashionable today.
Her hair and makeup are breathtaking as well, especially when she had a softer appearance with her hair falling down to her shoulders. It seemed to me that Claire approached the role of Theo as if she were playing a cat. There's a feline aura about her.
I also noticed how chic the characters' breakfast was in the morning...very health and weight conscious too. Julie had one boiled egg, half a grapefruit and one cup of coffee. The lifestyle at Hill House was quite elegant. Everyone was thin.
But this is still a horror picture after all. And for me, the scariest scene was at the end, when a woman - an apparition in white - runs behind the tree where Julie's Nell is killed by her car crashing into it. That was truly frightening.
Thank goodness I revisited The Haunting, because I'm no longer afraid of the film anymore. I had fun, and even laughed at the rubber door. And I so enjoyed the fashion statements...