The film begins in a WW II training depot of a British Guards armoured regiment where recruits from many walks of life learn to survive the strict discipline and training together before ... See full summary »
Ana, the Princess of Eboli, wears a black patch over her right eye, where she was blinded as a youth when fighting a duel in defense of her king, the despotic Philip. Thereafter she and the... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
A Norwegian scientist builds a device that can convert sound waves into electrical energy. However, the machine is stolen by the scientist's wife and assistant, who head across the frozen ... See full summary »
Derek Wardell is struck with amnesia, and the last thing he remembers is the beautiful voice of the opera singer Helen Maxwell. When he regains consciousness, Wardell thinks that he's in love with her.
Major Charles Forsythe (Carradine) is a Vietnam veteran U.S. Army officer stationed near Rome. He is a brutal, if effective, commander who was "fragged" by his own men in Vietnam. When he ... See full summary »
Eric Portman sweeps Edana Romney off her feet, for awhile at least
I'd love to see a remastered print of "Corridor of Mirrors", but I cannot complain about seeing a complete VHS print in reasonable condition. A restoration would bring out the contrasts of the grays, blacks and whites, and it would bring out details of the costumes and sets that are obscured in the existing images. I would hope that a restoration could remove some of the noise from the sound track and bring up the voices as against the musical background. Not to complain about the score itself, which is superior work by Georges Auric. The score along with the sets almost define the film by themselves.
Eric Portman gives a beautiful performance that doesn't give any traces of even being acted. He's right into the role of an art critic in 1938 who is living in the past and who thinks he's a reincarnated Venetian from the late 15th century. That man was spurned by the woman he desired and strangled her with her own hair. Portman has a portrait of her and Edana Romney is her image, and so Portman undertakes to remake her as that woman. He lives in a mansion filled with treasures from that Italian era and it has a corridor of doors with mirrored panels that open to closets filled with these items (like jewelry) and with elaborate dresses and gowns that he has had artist Alan Wheatley make.
Ah, if only Portman had been cast with a female lead up to his portrayal, but this was not meant to be. Her part called for subtle changes in her behavior. She's captivated by Portman. She yearns for a sexual episode, but she's disappointed. She almost wallows in his riches. She becomes frightened of him. She falls back on a conventional attraction to Hugh Sinclair. This is a difficult role! To show all these and other changes convincingly is quite a challenge. Who could have done it? Gene Tierney? Linda Darnell? I favor Darnell. But, alas, we have Romney.
The film is often mentioned in the same breath with a number of other movies like "Vertigo" and "Beauty and the Beast". This, I believe, is very misleading because it attaches only to certain plot elements and not to the tone or look or feeling of the film which is more pervasive. This movie is more in tone and feeling like "The Lost Moment" (1947) and to a lesser extent like "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (1948). Even "Queen of Spades" (1949) is a more apt comparison. These are films contemporary to "Corridor of Mirrors" and subject to similar prevailing artistic currents. They show the decided influence of noir in settings that go back to earlier eras, like Victorian. Gothic is the adjective often used.
Mysterious, ambiguous, brooding, with Portman attempting to attain the unattainable, seeking to create his own reality while not running aground on the actual reality of Romney, this is the part of the psychological underpinning of this picture. He's a dreamer. She turns out to be more conventional than he ever imagined.
Let's be glad the film was even made. It's fascinating.
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