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The Spiral Staircase (1945)

Approved  |   |  Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller  |  December 1945 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,168 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 40 critic

A serial killer (circa 1916) is targeting women with 'afflictions'; one night during a thunderstorm, mute Helen feels menaced.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Spiral Staircase (1945)

The Spiral Staircase (1945) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
George Brent ...
...
Kent Smith ...
...
Blanche
Gordon Oliver ...
Steve Warren
...
...
Nurse Barker
...
Mr. Oates
James Bell ...
Constable
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Storyline

Beautiful young mute Helen is a domestic worker for old ailing Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren's two 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


Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Silence of Helen McCord  »

Company Credits

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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

Joan Crawford, after receiving critical praise for her performance in A Woman's Face (1941), at one point campaigned for the role of the mute girl played by Dorothy McGuire. Crawford also owned the rights, but MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer vehemently opposed the idea, telling her "No more cripples or maimed women". See more »

Goofs

SPOILER:Mrs. Warren is presented as bedridden yet, when Helen is searching for the gun she checks the entire room - though this may suggest that she already knows her employer is not such an invalid as she makes out. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Black Stallion (1979) 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Riveting Masterpiece
23 June 2003 | by (Valley Stream, New York) – See all my reviews

The Spiral Staircase is an excellent film.

Dorothy McGuire gives a great performance as a mute woman in a town where disabled women are being killed, I think she deserved an Oscar nomination. She does a lot of emoting with her eyes and her body language.

The technical aspects of this film are amazing. The score is extremely creepy, the camera work is excellent, and the main set is well designed. There are some extreme close-ups of an eye that are very spooky.

This is a movie that Alfred Hitchcock would have made. There is a long and extremely affecting dream sequence that is riveting. Elsa Lanchester is very good as servant, and Ethel Barrymore deserved her Oscar nomination for playing the employer of the mute woman.

An excellent movie that is a must see.


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