In this Freudian version of the Bluebeard tale, a young, trust-funded New Yorker goes to Mexico on vacation before marrying an old friend whom she considers a safe choice for a husband. However, there she finds her dream man -- a handsome, mysterious stranger who spots her in a crowd. In a matter of days they marry, honeymoon and move to his mansion, to which he has added a wing full of rooms where famous murders took place. She discovers many secrets about the house and her husband, but what she really wants to know is what is in the room her husband always keeps locked. Written by
Julie van Arcken <email@example.com>
This has been variously called campy, kitsch, rubbish; I think that, along with 'Rancho Notorious', it is Lang's greatest American film (and therefore A great American film). In a decade of male-dominated film noir, Celia Lamphere (loaded name), like the second Mrs. de Winter and Dr. Constance Peterson, must play detective to save her relationship and her life.
Lang uses the trappings of psychoanalysis throughout, promising enlightenment and healing - a large narrative gap, as Mark chases Celia, puts paid to that: this is a pessimistic anti-Freudian film.
It is also one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen - its atmosphere of dream, its cunning use of architecture and space, its complex sexuality, its trance-like narration, its ellipses, angles and shadows, remind me variously of L'Herbier, Dreyer, Resnais, Antonioni, Molly's soliloquy in Strick's 'Ulysses', Perec's 'the Man who Sleeps'. It is a rare Hollywood art-movie, and there's nothing like it.
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