7.5/10
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The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 31 May 1946 (Argentina)
In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced.

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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:
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Helen
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...
...
...
Blanche
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...
...
Nurse Barker
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Mr. Oates
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Constable
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Storyline

In 1916, beautiful young mute Helen is a domestic worker for elderly, ailing Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren's two adult sons, Albert (a professor) and womanizing impudent Steven, also live in the Warren mansion. Mrs. Warren becomes concerned for Helen's safety when a rash of murders involving 'women with afflictions' hits the neighborhood. She implores her physician, Dr. Parry, to take Helen away for her own safety. When another murder occurs inside the Warren mansion, it becomes obvious that Helen is in danger. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Approved | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

31 May 1946 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Silence of Helen McCord  »

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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

The close-ups of the killer's eyes and hands actually show those of director Robert Siodmak. See more »

Goofs

As the projectionist hand cranks the projector which is on a shaky tripod, the projector wobbles noticeably but the image on the screen is steady. See more »

Quotes

Constable: She's dead!
Dr. Parry: Well, in that event, Constable, I certainly can't do her any harm.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Spiral Staircase (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz Op. 34 No. 2 in A minor
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played during the scene at the silent movie theater
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Terrific Thriller; Excellent Leading Performance
16 August 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is a terrific thriller, made just the way that thrillers should be done, with nicely crafted tension, atmospheric setting, and plenty of strange and mysterious characters. Adding in the excellent leading performance by Dorothy McGuire makes it a top-notch picture.

From the very beginning, the suspense begins to build, while at the same time McGuire's character Helen immediately attracts and holds the audience's concern and sympathy. The combination works very well, and while you're never sure what else is going on, or which of the other characters can be trusted, you know that Helen is in danger and that you care about her.

The rest of the cast are all nicely matched with their characters, and do a fine job of bringing them to life. Some of the plot developments probably would prove somewhat implausible if analyzed carefully, but the story and atmosphere are crafted so effectively that you never notice while watching.

Anyone who enjoys classic thrillers should make sure to see "The Spiral Staircase".


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