6.4/10
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31 user 23 critic

Experiment Perilous (1944)

In 1903, a doctor suspects murder in the gothic Bederaux family.

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Writers:

Warren Duff (screenplay), Margaret Carpenter (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hedy Lamarr ... Allida Bederaux
George Brent ... Dr. Huntington Bailey
Paul Lukas ... Nick Bederaux
Albert Dekker ... Clag
Carl Esmond ... Maitland
Olive Blakeney ... Cissie
George N. Neise ... Alec
Margaret Wycherly ... Maggie
Stephanie Bachelor ... Elaine
Mary Servoss ... Miss Wilson
Julia Dean ... Deria
William Post Jr. ... District Attorney
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Storyline

In 1903, Dr. Bailey meets a very strange woman on a train, then hears that she has died under mysterious circumstances. Through a friend, he becomes acquainted with the Bederaux family, all of whom seem to be neurotic and secretive; but the beauty of Alida Bederaux draws him into their circle...deeper than he'd planned. Who's in danger from whom? Who's crazy? Who can fathom the obscure motivations? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Perilous to Love!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Noche en el alma See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to contemporary articles in The Hollywood Reporter, Maureen O'Hara and Laraine Day were considered for the female lead in this film. See more »

Goofs

In the long shot when the principals go in to dinner, the butler is seen closing the door. The next shot, a medium, shows the butler closing the door again. See more »

Quotes

Nick Bederaux: Life is short and the art long. Decision difficult, experiment perilous.
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User Reviews

An Eerie and sumptuous period thriller by the great Tourneur
5 April 2003 | by KalamanSee all my reviews

If you are a fan of Jacques Tourneur, "Experiment Perilous" is a must-see. This sinister and beautifully photographed period thriller ranks with Tourneur's supreme masterpieces, "Out of the Past", "Stars in My Crown", "Canyon Passage", "Curse of the Demon", "I Walked with a Zombie", and "Cat People". It is imbued with Tourneur's trademark touch of ambiguity and mystery. One of the reasons "Experiment Perilous" is so underrated is that the story does not flow logically. You have to do a bit of brain work to understand it, but if you are already familiar with Tourneur's cinema, this may come as a revelation. The film has often been compared to Cukor's similar costume thriller "Gaslight" which was also released in 1944 but "Experiment Perilous" is a better and more personal work. The opening chance encounter between Dr. Bailey (George Brent) and Cissie (Olive Blakeney) on the train resembles the mysterious chance meetings of "Cat People" and Tourneur's 1956 film noir "Nightfall". It has been said that the film was set in 1903 as opposed to 1944 because Heddy Lamarr wanted to wear period costumes. Lamarr is undoubtedly beautiful and her scenes with Brent and Lukas are exquisite and sensual.

There is an excellent analysis on the film in Chris Fujiwara's book, JACQUES TOURNEUR: THE CINEMA OF NIGHTFALL (1998).


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