27 user 9 critic

The Hidden Room (1949)

Obsession (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 8 January 1950 (USA)
Clive Riordan plans a devilish revenge against his wife's lover.



(book), (screenplay)

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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Phil Brown ...
Sally Gray ...
Storm Riordan
Naunton Wayne ...
Supt. Finsbury
James Harcourt ...
Aitkin (butler)
Betty Cooper ...
Miss Stevens (receptionist)
Michael Balfour ...
American sailor
Roddy Hughes ...
Allan Jeayes ...
Olga Lindo ...
Mrs. Humphries
Russell Waters ...
Flying Squad detective
Lyonel Watts ...
Clubman (as Lionel Watts)
Sam Kydd ...
Club steward
Monty the Dog ...
Monty - Storm's Dog


London psychiatrist Clive Riordan, royally fed up with the repeated affairs of his wife Storm, plots a seemingly 'perfect' revenge against her latest lover, American Bill Kronin. Catching them in the act, he marches Bill off at gunpoint; and from the viewpoint of Storm and the rest of the world, Bill simply vanishes. But there's far more to the meticulously worked out plot than Clive's victims suspect, with the end slowly preparing in his private laboratory. Enter a mild-mannered Scotland Yard man, who seemingly has no clue beyond a missing dog... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hidden LOVE! Hidden HATE! Hidden FEAR! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 January 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hidden Room  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Crew member with folded arms visible in the reflection of the car window when the Superintendant is sending his officers back the station. See more »


Dr. Clive Riordan: Are you married, Mr. Finsbury?
Supt. Finsbury: No... I've often thought about it. Trouble is, I've thought about it so long, I'm afraid I've missed the bus.
Dr. Clive Riordan: Just one of life's little jokes, isn't it?... It points out our mistakes too late for us to profit by them.
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Referenced in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Nifty, well-crafted British suspenser with a noirish edge
25 October 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The British never really "got" noir; the few successes they showed (Night and the City, The Third Man) had American directors or casts to light, or darken, the way for them. Among those directors was Edward Dmytryk, who had started big in the noir cycle with Murder My Sweet, Cornered, and Crossfire but who fled to England in the fallout from the Hollywood witch-hunt -- in which he named names, including Jules Dassin, who directed Night and the City. (Luckily, Dmytryk later returned to Hollywood to helm The Sniper.) Obsession tells the story of a jealous psychiatrist (Robert Newton) with a faithless wife (Sally Gray); he's one of those hyperarticulate verbal sadists whom you want to cosh with a bumbershoot or choke with cucumber tea-sandwiches. He decides to wreak a hellish revenge on the latest of his wife's paramours (the basically harmless Phil Brown; the philandering wife is Sally Gray). He locks the poor Yank in a cellar somewhere in bombed-out London until he fills a bathtub with enough acid to destroy all traces of the corpse (transported daily to the dungeon, along with food and martinis, in hot-water bottles!). Somehow the wife's inquisitive mutt gets mixed up in his plans.... Obsession is very restrained and British in hinting at things that the Americans would shove in our faces, but pulling back in just the nick of time. Dmytryk plays with the conventions expertly, keeping the suspense taut without shocking the bejezus out of us. It's a good thriller that returns to an ordered cosmos with all the laws of fair play observed -- not the anarchic, primal universe of true film noir.

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