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Secret Beyond the Door... (1947)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 12 April 1948 (Sweden)
When a lovely wife and her new husband, settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers he may want to kill her.



(screenplay), (story)

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Complete credited cast:
Celia Lamphere
Mark Lamphere
Caroline Lamphere
Miss Robey
Edith Potter
Rick Barrett
Intellectual Sub-Deb
Rosa Rey ...
Bob Dwight
Mark Dennis ...
David Lamphere


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 <antigone@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some Men Destroy What They Love Most!


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Release Date:

12 April 1948 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Secret Beyond the Door  »

Box Office


$615,065 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Michael Redgrave's first American film. See more »


Mark Lamphere: There's something in your face that I saw once before in South Dakota. Wheat country. Cyclone weather. Just before the cyclone, the air has a stillness. A flat, gold, shimmering stillness. You have it in your face - the same hush before the storm and when you smile it's like the first breath of wind bending down the wheat.
See more »


Referenced in Merci pour le Chocolat (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

A distractingly-derivative story tarnishes an otherwise entertaining Fritz Lang psychological thriller
5 March 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Fritz Lang's creepy and atmospheric psychological thriller, 'Secret Beyond the Door (1948),' faces just one major obstacle that prevents it from being a completely satisfying film experience: the story is quite obviously derived from Hitchcock's 'Rebecca (1940),' which happens to be a superior film in almost every regard. This is not to question the talents or originality of Lang, since, of course, he was already an established director before Hitchcock ever got his break, but you can just tell how much this particular work was influenced by the Master of Suspense. Borrowing elements from the then-prevalent film noir movement, and adding shades of post-marriage paranoia from the likes of 'Rebecca' and Cukor's 'Gaslight (1944),' Lang also mixes in snippets of Freudian psychoanalysis, not unlike what I witnessed last week in Hitchcock's own 'Spellbound (1945).' The final product is not without its charm, and contains various moments of precisely-articulated suspense, but you can never overcome that niggling feeling that you've seen it all done better.

Joan Bennett plays Celia, a young lady who acquires a large amount of money after her brother's death and decides to take a holiday. It is here that she meets Mark Lamphere (Michael Redgrave), a mysterious and charming gentleman who excites in Celia intense suppressed feelings of rebellion and exhilaration. Following their marriage, a hastily-decided proposition that can only lead to trouble, Celia immediately begins to notice peculiarities in her new husband, and, after her arrival at Mark's extravagant residence, she finds the dwelling haunted by the shadow of his previous wife. Mark, it seems, houses an unhealthy preoccupation with murder, and has made a hobby out of collecting entire rooms in which unspeakable atrocities of passion were committed. But what of the one room that is kept securely locked, never to be opened by anyone? Celia concludes that the secret to unlocking the inner depths of her husband's disturbed mind lies within that single room, beyond the forbidden door. Though Silvia Richards' screenplay, from a story by Rufus King, often seems too incredible to take seriously, Lang's film remains an interesting achievement, and is nothing if not entertaining.

I found the promotional material for 'Secret Beyond the Door' to be grossly misleading. The image of Joan Bennett standing before a significantly-distorted door prompted me to expect a film of extreme German Expressionism, in the same vein as 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).' Fritz Lang, who developed his career in Germany during the 1920s, and having often used elements of the style, would presumably have been very adept at recreating the devilishly-twisted labyrinths of the human mind, but the only scene to even approach my stylistic expectations was the appropriately ambiguous and shadowy dream sequence, in which Michael Redgrave both prosecutes and defends his malevolent tendencies in court {this particular scene may even have influenced Hitchcock's heavily-stylised courtroom trial in 'Dial M for Murder (1954)}. The remainder of the film has the appearance of a typical 1940s film noir, with suitably shadowy cinematography by Stanley Cortez, supplemented by a voice-over by Joan Bennett. Also note the similarity between the character of Miss Robey (Barbara O'Neil) and Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) from 'Rebecca,' most particularly in their respective final actions in each picture.

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