Saturday, October 10, 2009
Secret Beyond the Door… (1948)
Mark has already shown signs of sudden emotional switches, but in the overheated and rather gothic atmosphere of this mansion, this emotional instability becomes more and more alarming.
The presence of Mark’s sister and the mysterious Mrs Robie, an employee with a hold over Mark, complicated matters. Mark clearly has issues with women, staring with his mother (who died in slightly odd circumstances) and continuing with his first wife (who died in very odd circumstances indeed). There’s also Mark’s son, who appears to have even more mental health issues than his father! He’s a very disturbing young man indeed.
Michael Redgrave had already demonstrated his gift for portraying individuals who were disturbed to the point of being positively deranged in the excellent British 1945 horror movie Dead of Night. His performance in Secret Beyond the Door… is equally good. Joan Bennett is, as always, superb. It’s difficult in this day and age to take psychoanalytical thrillers all that seriously, with their somewhat half-baked Freudian ideas, but they’re always entertaining and this one is no exception. It’s a well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable film. Highly recommended.