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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fritz Lang's attempt to do his version of Rebecca (1940) was a project fraught with disaster. It ran over budget and over schedule, while Lang was at constant loggerheads with his leading lady, Joan Bennett. The first preview of the film attracted comments like "beyond human endurance" and "it stinks". Bennett herself referred to the film as "an unqualified disaster". See more »
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.
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An above average offering from the great Fritz Lang
The Secret Beyond the Door is Fritz Lang's melodramatic suspense tale that seems to have taken more than it's fair share of influence from Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. Before the story even starts, we're waiting to find out one thing - what's the secret? This somewhat puts the movie on the back foot from the start, as all that we see is build up to the big finale, which basically means that the pay off has to be pretty good otherwise the whole film will fall apart. The final twist, in fact, doesn't really do the build up justice; but it's not absolutely terrible, and I would still rate this film as at least 'good', but just don't tune in expecting anything brilliant. This is certainly no 'M', for example. The plot follows a young woman that goes on holiday and meets a charming middle-aged man. The two later get married and she accompanies him back to his house where she meets his son, and finds his collection of rooms, one of which is kept locked up. What is the secret beyond the door...?
Fritz Lang's bleak cinematography and haunting use of music help to create the atmosphere that a story of this nature needs in order to work effectively. The focus on the door helps to create the tension as to what the secret is throughout the movie, and Fritz Lang seems keen to capitalise on that as we see Joan Bennett's narration change from how she feels personally to driving herself crazy as she tries to decipher what's behind the door. The characters in the story are interesting, and they need to be as this film is mostly character based. We follow Celia Lamphere, and we are given her thoughts by way of the aforementioned narration. Narration is often found in scripts that have been written by people that don't know how to write good scripts. However, in this case it actually helps the film to move along. In order for the story to work, we need to know what the character is feeling, so in this case narration is helpful to the story.
As I've mentioned, the ending isn't all that good, but the suspense builds nicely and there's much to like about this film. If you're new to Fritz Lang, though, I certainly recommend the classics 'M' and 'Metropolis' before this, and also from his American films; 'Fury', 'Scarlet Street', 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' and 'While the City Sleeps' get my thumbs up.
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