8 user 3 critic

The Frightened Lady (1940)

The Case of the Frightened Lady (original title)
"Mark's Priory". the family seat of the Lebanons, is a house of terror to Ilsa Crane, secretary and niece of Lady Lebanon. The strange behavior of two sinister butlers, Gilder and Brooks, ... See full summary »



(play), (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Video



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A British brain surgeon punishes the murderess of his lover.

Director: Lawrence Huntington
Stars: James Mason, Rosamund John, Pamela Mason
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.

Director: D. Ross Lederman
Stars: Frieda Inescort, Paul Cavanagh, Heather Angel
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When heavy fog prevents all aircraft from leaving London airport, a group of passengers take an airline bus to get them to an alternative airport. However, one among their number is the ... See full summary »

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Marianne Stone, Lionel Murton, Lisa Gastoni
Hue and Cry (1947)
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A gang of street boys foil a master crook who sends commands for robberies by cunningly altering a comic strip's wording each week, unknown to writer and printer. The first of the Ealing ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Alastair Sim, Frederick Piper, Harry Fowler
Action | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On the eve of WWII, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: John Gilling
Stars: Derek Bond, Jane Hylton, Dora Bryan
Spare the Rod (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

It is London in the year 1960 and John Saunders enthusiastically begins his new teaching career at a tough slum-area school. His class are bored pupils in their last term before leaving. Will he handle the grave problems that lie ahead?

Director: Leslie Norman
Stars: Max Bygraves, Geoffrey Keen, Donald Pleasence
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The sister of a famous, but as yet uncaught, criminal named The Hexer is murdered. Inspector Higgins of Scotland Yard believes that The Hexer will surface to take his revenge on his ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred Vohrer
Stars: Joachim Fuchsberger, Heinz Drache, Sophie Hardy
Haunted House (1940)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Teenagers try to clear a friend accused of murder.

Director: Robert F. McGowan
Stars: Jackie Moran, Marcia Mae Jones, George Cleveland
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Stars: George Cross, Terence de Marney, Kenneth Eaves
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Anthony Adam, Archie Angus, John Baker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: Charles Frend
Stars: Rachel Roberts, James Maxwell, Annette Whiteley


Complete credited cast:
Marius Goring ...
Penelope Dudley-Ward ...
Isla Crane (as Penelope Dudley Ward)
Helen Haye ...
Felix Aylmer ...
George Merritt ...
Ronald Shiner ...
Patrick Barr ...
Roy Emerton ...
George Hayes ...
John Warwick ...


"Mark's Priory". the family seat of the Lebanons, is a house of terror to Ilsa Crane, secretary and niece of Lady Lebanon. The strange behavior of two sinister butlers, Gilder and Brooks, adds greatly to her fear and her sole consolation lies in the sympathy extended her by young Lord William "Willie" Lebanon. A young architect, Richard Ferraby, arrives from London to inspect the ancient home in regards to renovations, and he and Isla are immediately attracted to each other. Lady Lebanon tells her son that he must marry Isla to carry on the family name but Lord Willie tells her he has no intentions of marrying. Later, the family physician, Dr. Amersham, arrives and it is evident he has some unrevealed hold over Lady Lebanon. The chauffeur, Studd, hints that he knew Aversham in India and that Aversham was discharged from the Indian Army under unsavory circumstances. Isla and Richard find the chauffeur murdered and the suspicion falls on the gamekeeper, Tilling, whose wife had been more... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 November 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Frightened Lady  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lord Lebanon: How queer - well, we certainly do see life.
Isla Crane: And death!
See more »


Version of The Case of the Frightened Lady (1938) See more »


Portrait of Isla
Music by Jack Beaver
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Really Frightening Movie Experience!
30 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

Originally filmed in 1932 with Emlyn Williams (making his movie debut) and Gordon Harker (as Sergeant Totty), the movie was such a success that Wallace—reversing the usual procedure—turned his script into a stage play in which Williams (as Lord Lebanon) and Harker repeated their screen roles. Also in the 1932 movie, titled The Frightened Lady, were Cathleen Nesbitt as Lady Lebanon, while the lovely Belle Chrystall was Miss Crane, and Norman McKinnel, Inspector Tanner.

A Gothic thriller of the old school, The Case of the Frightened Lady spins an intriguing web of mystery and horror almost from the very first. I must admit I was not impressed by its trick opening which was obviously designed to fool not only the audience but the critics as well. At the conclusion of the under-the-credits sequence, director George King commences the movie proper with an odd scene in which Helen Haye faces the camera, while she and Marius Goring declaim their lines in full-blown theatrical style, their voices raised to reach the back of the gallery. At any second we expect the camera to pull back to reveal that Hayes and Goring are standing on an actual theatre set, as was done, for example, in The Hollywood Stadium Mystery (1938). But no! Before the scene has even concluded, both Haye and Goring suddenly abandon their grease-paint posturing and revert to more natural acting. So this was an expected "surprise" that happily didn't eventuate.

Another critical surprise lies in the writing and acting of Ronald Shiner's part. Although the sergeant is designed as comic relief, Shiner, for once, doesn't over-do the mugging and even plays the role with a degree of intelligence. Needless to say, we expect gifted performances from Haye, Ward and Goring, but at times Shiner even manages to hold his own in this company. However, an even bigger revelation in the acting department lies in the excellent portrayal by minor character actor George Merritt who plays a major role here and even manages to steal scenes from the principals.

King has handled his generous budget in fine style, making splendid use of his sets which, aided by Hone Glendinning's noirish lighting, provide plenty of spooky atmosphere. This brooding, riveting invocation of suspense, allied with rapid pacing and charismatic acting (even from minor players like Warwick, Thatcher and Scott), inexorably plunges us so inescapably into the maelstrom that we don't notice obvious contrivances in the plot and details that simply don't stand up to scrutiny. The script's faults, in fact, are inconsequential. While actually watching the story unfold, it remains a terrifyingly suspenseful movie experience.

In the title role, the charmingly aristocratic yet disarmingly sensitive Penelope Dudley Ward exhibits just the right note of fragile beauty as the imperiled heroine.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Frightened Lady (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page