THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES (Joe May, 1940) is typical Golden era studio-bound Hollywood fare. This DVD release has the film in gorgeous black and white and very good sound quality, but no subtitles at all and no extras.
It is based on a classic story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This tale of betrayal, time-defying love and revenge revolves around two brothers of very different character, one joyously romantic (the tall and early Vincent Price in his 6th film credit), one greedy and vile beyond belief (the tall and great George Sanders, of many a classic movie). Sanders, strangely, doesn't seem completely at ease with his part, maybe because the character he plays is quite one-dimensional, with no redeeming feature, exhibiting no charm or wit (Sanders' trademark roles have those two elements). It's Price who shines most here, his part requiring him to display a wide range of emotions, from unabashed romantic love to a doomed sense of fate, from sprightly young musician to revenge seeker to former convict in old age. One interesting side of the story is its psychanalytical use of the curse plaguing the Pyncheon family. The supporting actors are uniformly good, and the musical score is by Hubert J. Salter. 87 minutes of the best B-movie kind, from a time when actors had room to stretch and carry the films on their shoulders, without the help of special effects or fast editing.