Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a ... See full summary »
Roy William Neill
Twenty years after 3 murders occur in a castle's "blue room", three men who each want to marry a beautiful girl decide to spend a night in the room to prove their bravery to her. Written by
First seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1968
1933's "Secret of the Blue Room" was a remake of a 1932 German film titled "Geheimnis des blauen Zimmers," and even uses a few exterior shots from the original, while all interiors were filmed on the same marvelous sets built for James Whale's "The Old Dark House" (1932), also seen in independents such as "The Vampire Bat" and "Strange People." The last of the vintage Universals to utilize Tchaikovsky's serene "Swan Lake" over its opening credits (following "Dracula," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Mummy"), it begins on a suitably blustery midnight, celebrating the 21st birthday of young Irene von Helldorf (Gloria Stuart), along with her father Robert (Lionel Atwill), and three determined suitors, police captain Walter Brink (Paul Lukas), newspaper reporter Frank Faber (Onslow Stevens), and the much younger Thomas Brandt (William Janney), who impulsively proposes marriage to Irene on the spot. Mocked by the others, the young Brandt brings up the locked blue room, where Irene's mother had died 20 years before, with two others falling victim within since the original tragedy, all at the stroke of 1:00AM. Betting each of his rivals that they must all spend a night in the forbidding salon, Brandt seeks to prove his bravery by going first, only to disappear without a trace before morning, the bed not even slept in. Von Helldorf is reluctant to phone the police, until on the second night, a shot rings out from the blue room, and Faber is murdered at 1:00AM. Lionel Atwill heads a superb cast in his Universal debut, and Edward Arnold turns in some solid sleuthing, as he later would in the 1935 James Whale whodunit "Remember Last Night?" Formerly husband and wife in Whale's "The Kiss Before the Mirror," are Paul Lukas and seductive Gloria Stuart (disrobing just as her jealous husband shoots her dead); she would next appear in Whale's "The Invisible Man," while Lukas would turn up in Whale's "By Candlelight." Part of the original SHOCK! package of vintage Universal horror classics released to television in 1957, this remake was itself twice remade by the same studio, in 1938 as "The Missing Guest," and in 1944 as "Murder in the Blue Room," both of which changed the backstory and added different characters (in this 1933 feature, no one solves the 20 year old mystery of the blue room). Neither of the two remakes were included in the SHOCK! package, but all three turned up on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater, with four broadcasts for "Secret of the Blue Room" - May 18 1968 (following 1959's "Terror is a Man"), May 24 1975 (following 1940's "Chamber of Horrors" and 1943's "Calling Dr. Death"), Mar 5 1976 (following 1957's "The Deadly Mantis"), and Sept 10 1983 (solo).
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