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Secret Beyond the Door

Overview

Even star Joan Bennett and director Fritz Lang regarded The Secret Beyond the Door as the weakest of their collaborative efforts. Bennett plays spoiled socialite Celia, who falls recklessly in love with the handsome but emotionally complex Mark Lamphere Michael Redgrave, in his first American film. After their wedding, Celia becomes uncomfortably aware that Mark's mild distrust of women is actually a deep-set, and potentially dangerous, hatred. Even when facing the possibility that she'll be murdered in her ...
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Overview

Even star Joan Bennett and director Fritz Lang regarded The Secret Beyond the Door as the weakest of their collaborative efforts. Bennett plays spoiled socialite Celia, who falls recklessly in love with the handsome but emotionally complex Mark Lamphere Michael Redgrave, in his first American film. After their wedding, Celia becomes uncomfortably aware that Mark's mild distrust of women is actually a deep-set, and potentially dangerous, hatred. Even when facing the possibility that she'll be murdered in her sleep, Celia remains loyal to her unbalanced husband. The slowly mounting tension is enhanced by the mood-drenched cinematography of Stanley Cortez and the feverish musical score by Miklos Rozsa. But when it's all over, The Secret Beyond the Door fails to linger in the memory in the manner of such earlier Lang-Bennett efforts as The Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The opening of The Secret Beyond the Door promises a most unusual and intriguing cinematic experience. It's a strangely engrossing dream sequence that's beautifully shot and seems to indicate that Secret will be an illuminating psychological excursion. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to that promise; while director Fritz Lang and cinematographer Stanley Cortez continue to present a film that is visually stunning, the weak, contrived, and unresolved screenplay keeps the film from being the special creation that it could have been. The script's biggest flaws are, unfortunately, considerable: there are too many echoes of Rebecca and Suspicion, it doesn't make credible the heroine's devotion to her husband and decision to stay with him even at the risk of her own life, the husband's failings are not all explained away by the explanation of his psychological problems, and the pop psychology used herein is dated and laughable. The writing does have some saving graces, including some good dialogue interchanges and several supporting characters who are nicely drawn. While these don't outweigh the flaws, Lang, Cortez, and such other assets as the cast and Miklos Rozsa's atmospheric score do. Michael Redgrave is very convincing as the husband, and Joan Bennett works so hard to make up for the shortcomings in her character's execution that one is willing to forgive the film a great deal. Bennett is impressive throughout, taking full advantage of the "big emotion" scenes in the latter part of the film; but pay special attention to her quieter work, especially in the beginning. The erotic charge she feels during the street fight scene and the way in which she works with Redgrave prior to their wedding deserve note. If Secret disappoints, it still has much in it worth recommending.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/4/2012
  • UPC: 887090046206
  • Original Release: 1948
  • Rating:

  • Source: Olive Films
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Academy Aperture (1.37:1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 41,011

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joan Bennett Celia Lamphere
Michael Redgrave Mark Lamphere
Anne Revere Caroline Lamphere
Barbara O'Neil Miss Robey
Natalie Schafer Edith Potter
Anabel Shaw Intellectual Sub-Deb
Rosa Rey Paquita
James Seay Bob Dwight
Mark Dennis David
Virginia Brissac Sarah
Tom Chatterton Judge
David Cota Knife Fighter
Frank Dae Country Squire
Harry Denny College President
Watson Downs Conductor
Danny Duncan Ferret-Faced Man
Virginia Farmer Lavender Falls Couple
Paul Fierro Fighter
Jesse Graves Porter
Marie Harmon
Donald Kerr Ticket Man
Nolan Leary Station Agent
Ralph Littlefield Gothic Man
Donna Martell Young Mexican Girl
Kay Morley Sub-Debs
Pedro Regas Waiter
Julian Rivero Proprietor
Paul Scardon Owl Eyes
Houseley Stevenson Sr. Andy
Lucio Villegas Priest
Eddy Waller Lem
Crane Whitley
Wayne Treadway Beefy Man
Robert Espinosa
Peggy Remington Dean of Women
Paul Cavanagh Rick Barrett
Technical Credits
Fritz Lang Director, Producer
John P. Austin Set Decoration/Design
Stanley Cortez Cinematographer
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Arthur D. Hilton Editor
Max Parker Production Designer
Silvia Richards Screenwriter
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
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