Experiment Perilous

Experiment Perilous

Director: Jacques Tourneur

Cast: Hedy Lamarr, George Brent, Paul Lukas

     
 

Officially based on a novel by Margaret Carpenter, Experiment Perilous would seem to be more inspired by MGM's psychological thriller Gaslight. Set at the turn of the century, the film stars Hedy Lamarr as Allida, the beautiful young wife of an elderly "gentleman" named Nick (Paul Lukas). Treating his wife like a possession, Nick keeps her a virtualSee more details below

Overview

Officially based on a novel by Margaret Carpenter, Experiment Perilous would seem to be more inspired by MGM's psychological thriller Gaslight. Set at the turn of the century, the film stars Hedy Lamarr as Allida, the beautiful young wife of an elderly "gentleman" named Nick (Paul Lukas). Treating his wife like a possession, Nick keeps her a virtual prisoner in their London town house, cutting off all contact with the outside world. The situation is exacting a terrible emotional toll on Allida and her stepson Alec (George N. Neise). Enter kindly psychiatrist Huntington Bailey (George Brent), who takes it upon himself to free Allida and Alec from the despotic control of the insanely jealous Nick. The film's "money scene" is a frenzied gun battle in an aquarium, replete with shattered glass, gushing water and floundering fish; this sequence would be imitated ad nauseum in such future films as Lethal Weapon (1988) and Mission: Impossible (1996).

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although often compared to Gaslight due to the similarity of its subject matter, Experiment Perilous has enough individuality to stand on its own, rather than to be considered an imitator. Where Experiment falls down, however, is in not having as compelling or rewarding a screenplay as its more famous relative. The basic ingredients are there -- a tormented man seeking to destroy the woman he alternately loves and hates (with a son similarly at risk thrown in for good measure), the heroic outsider coming to the rescue, and a heavy dose of psychological underpinnings. Unfortunately, the story gets quite muddled (not because of its heavy use of flashback, but because of its unclear logic), the characters are not given the depth one might wish, and the psychology is heavyhanded and obvious. There are some nice touches here and there, but Experiment succeeds as a moderately entertaining thriller because of the personal stamp of director Jacques Tourneur and the dramatic camerawork of Tony Gaudio. Together, these two men create an atmospheric, moody tale that is both beautiful and chaotic, and create a good deal of suspense and tension along the way. They do this despite the fact that of their trio of xstars, only George Brent turns in an adequate - and just adequate, no more -- performance. Hedy Lamarr, of course, is stunning to look at, but she simply lacks the ability to carry off such an important role. The much more talented Paul Lukas overplays far too much, missing many opportunities to flesh the character out and make him more rounded. Fortunately, the basic story and the work of the director and cinematographer carry Experiment past these flaws; the result is far from a total success, but it does make the film a nice alternative for fans of "women driven mad" sub-genre.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/15/2009
UPC:
0883316205051
Original Release:
1945
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:31:00
Sales rank:
41,824

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hedy Lamarr Allida Bedereaux
George Brent Dr. Huntington Bailey
Paul Lukas Nick Bedereaux
Albert Dekker Claghorne
Carl Esmond John Maitland
Olive Blakeney Cissie Bedereaux
George Neise Alec Gregory
Margaret Wycherly Maggie
Stephanie Bachelor Elaine
Mary Servoss Miss Wilson
Julia Dean Deria
William Post D.A. MacDonald
Billy Ward Alec, age 5
Edward Clark Train Steward
Janet Clark Deria as a Girl
Adrienne D'Ambricourt Voice Instructor
Jack Deery Doorman
John Elliott Telephone Operator
Almeda Fowler Clerk
Joel Friedkin Brakeman
Perc Launders Ambulance Man
Nolan Leary Bellhop
Sam McDaniel Porter
Charles McMurphy Cop
Peggy Miller Cissie, Age 8
John Mylong Nick, Sr.
Broderick O'Farrell Frank
Georges Renavent Actor
Michael Visaroff Ballet Master
Alan Ward Shoes
Lawrence Wheat Caterer
Evelyn Falke Cissie, Age 5

Technical Credits
Jacques Tourneur Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Claude E. Carpenter Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Ralph Dawson Editor
Warren B. Duff Producer,Screenwriter
Robert M. Fellows Executive Producer
Tony Gaudio Cinematographer
Jack Okey Art Director
Leah Rhodes Costumes/Costume Designer
Darrell Silvera Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Dewey Starkey Asst. Director
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer

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