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The Secret Cinema (1968)

A woman suspects that someone has clandestinely been filming her life and that her friends and acquaintences are seeing the movies in secret screenings.


Paul Bartel


Paul Bartel


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Credited cast:
Amy Vane Amy Vane ... Jane
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Philip Carlson Philip Carlson ... Dick
Barry Dennen ... Psychiatrist
Connie Ellison Connie Ellison ... Helen
Gordon Felio Gordon Felio ... Mr. Troppogrosso
Camille Fife Camille Fife ... Second Secretary
Glenn Johnson Glenn Johnson ... Disc Jockey (voice)
Mara Lepmanis Mara Lepmanis ... First Secretary
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Jane's Mother
Mimi Randolph Mimi Randolph ... Waitress / Ticket Seller / Nurse


Welcome to the Secret Cinema, now featuring a series of films on the real-life misadventures of Jane, a New York City office secretary. See Jane being sexually harassed by her boss, Mr. Troppogrosso. See Jane get dumped by her boyfriend, Dick. See Jane humiliated in lots of ways. And here's the kicker: Jane doesn't know that her life is being filmed, or that she's being set up by some of the people closest to her. But she's starting to have her suspicions... Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

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Release Date:

1 May 1968 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$5,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


The film was remade as Amazing Stories: Secret Cinema (1986), in which the writer and director Paul Bartel played the psychiatrist Dr. Shreck. See more »


The shadow of the camera is visible during the track into the restaurant. See more »


References The Lovers (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

A Well-Kept `Secret'
21 October 1998 | by genekimSee all my reviews

Three decades ago, a young, up-and-coming movie director named Paul Bartel pulled together a lot of shoestrings to produce this wonderfully resourceful little black comedy (less than 30 minutes long) about Jane, an office secretary who comes to realize that her life is being secretly filmed for a shadowy outfit called The Secret Cinema. Some critics have pointed to what they see as a striking similarity between this film and "The Truman Show." But there's at least one crucial difference: Whereas Truman Burbank's environment is completely fabricated, Jane's life in New York is very real, although it's being manipulated by the filmmakers.

Bartel uses his budgetary and technical limitations to excellent advantage: the cheap-looking black & white photography, the obviously looped dialogue, the stock music and canned sound effects are very much in keeping with this low-budget movie about low-budget moviemaking.

Bartel later remade "The Secret Cinema" as an episode of Steven Spielberg's NBC anthology series "Amazing Stories." The remake starred Penny Peyser as Jane, Griffin Dunne as Dick and Bartel himself as Jane's psychiatrist. The NBC version was, I thought, terrible; it was over-produced, over-written and over-acted, and totally lacking the charm of the original. Worst of all, it failed to adequately convey the story's basic premise that Jane's life was being secretly filmed. (The remake also offers an ending completely different from the darkly humorous resolution of the first film.)

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