Secret Beyond the Door
Secret Beyond the Door is a 1947 American film noir psychological thriller and a modern updating of the Bluebeard fairytale, directed by Fritz Lang, produced by Lang's Diana Productions, and released by Universal Pictures. The film stars Joan Bennett and was produced by her husband Walter Wanger. The black-and-white film noir drama is about a woman who suspects her new husband, an architect, plans to kill her.
|Secret Beyond the Door|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fritz Lang|
|Produced by||Fritz Lang|
|Screenplay by||Silvia Richards|
|Story by||Rufus King|
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Edited by||Arthur Hilton|
Walter Wanger Productions
Diana Production Company
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Budget||$1.5 million or $615,065|
The behavior of Mark Lamphere, an architect, turns strange shortly after his honeymoon with bride Celia, who begins finding out that Mark has many secrets.
It turns out he was married before, his wife died suspiciously and they have a son. He also has a fiercely loyal secretary, Miss Robey, whose face is disfigured.
Mark appears to be somewhat delusional and could be intending to murder Celia inside a room he keeps locked. The disturbed Miss Robey ends up setting fire to the house, whereupon Mark redeems himself in Celia's eyes by saving her life.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 54% of 13 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.5/10. When the film was first released, film critic Bosley Crowther, gave the film a mixed review, writing, "If you want to be tough about it—okay, it's a pretty silly yarn and it is played in a manner no less fatuous by the sundry members of the cast. But Mr. Lang is still a director who knows how to turn the obvious, such as locked doors and silent chambers and roving spotlights, into strangely tingling stuff. And that's why, for all its psycho-nonsense, this film has some mildly creepy spots and some occasional faint resemblance to Rebecca which it was obviously aimed to imitate." Variety called it arty and almost surrealistic. The motivations of the characters were described as occasionally murky. Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader called the film's murkiness a strength.
- Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p443.
- Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (1975). "The Economic Imperative: Why Was the B Movie Necessay?". In Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (eds.). Kings of the Bs : working within the Hollywood system : an anthology of film history and criticism. E. P. Dutton. p. 30.
- Jones, Clydefro (November 16, 2011). "Secret Beyond the Door". The Digital Fix. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- Rich, Jamie S. (September 11, 2012). "Secret Beyond the Door". DVD Talk. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- "Secret Beyond the Door (1948)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "'Secret Beyond the Door,' With Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave, Has Premiere", January 16, 1948. Accessed: July 12, 2013.
- "Review: 'Secret Beyond the Door'". Variety. 1947. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Secret Beyond the Door". Chicago Reader. Retrieved February 20, 2015.