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Experiment Perilous (1944)

In 1903, a doctor suspects murder in the gothic Bederaux family.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Allida Bederaux
...
Dr. Huntington Bailey
...
Nick Bederaux
...
Clag
...
Maitland
...
Cissie Bederaux
...
Alec
...
Maggie
...
Elaine
Mary Servoss ...
Miss Wilson
...
Deria
William Post Jr. ...
District Attorney
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Storyline

In 1903, Dr. Bailey meets a very strange woman on a train, then hears that she has died under mysterious circumstances. Through a friend, he becomes acquainted with the Bederaux family, all of whom seem to be neurotic and secretive; but the beauty of Alida Bederaux draws him into their circle...deeper than he'd planned. Who's in danger from whom? Who's crazy? Who can fathom the obscure motivations? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Noche en el alma  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hedy Lamarr's singing voice was dubbed by Paula Raymond. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, when Dr. Bailey attacks Nick and the two briefly fight, it's very obvious that the people seen fighting are stunt doubles. Nick's stunt double doesn't even have the same hair color. See more »

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User Reviews

An Eerie and sumptuous period thriller by the great Tourneur
5 April 2003 | by (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

If you are a fan of Jacques Tourneur, "Experiment Perilous" is a must-see. This sinister and beautifully photographed period thriller ranks with Tourneur's supreme masterpieces, "Out of the Past", "Stars in My Crown", "Canyon Passage", "Curse of the Demon", "I Walked with a Zombie", and "Cat People". It is imbued with Tourneur's trademark touch of ambiguity and mystery. One of the reasons "Experiment Perilous" is so underrated is that the story does not flow logically. You have to do a bit of brain work to understand it, but if you are already familiar with Tourneur's cinema, this may come as a revelation. The film has often been compared to Cukor's similar costume thriller "Gaslight" which was also released in 1944 but "Experiment Perilous" is a better and more personal work. The opening chance encounter between Dr. Bailey (George Brent) and Cissie (Olive Blakeney) on the train resembles the mysterious chance meetings of "Cat People" and Tourneur's 1956 film noir "Nightfall". It has been said that the film was set in 1903 as opposed to 1944 because Heddy Lamarr wanted to wear period costumes. Lamarr is undoubtedly beautiful and her scenes with Brent and Lukas are exquisite and sensual.

There is an excellent analysis on the film in Chris Fujiwara's book, JACQUES TOURNEUR: THE CINEMA OF NIGHTFALL (1998).


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