Customer Review

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gothic, Noirish, Hitchcockian Masterpiece., 23 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Spiral Staircase [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Helen Capel was rendered mute in childhood due to a family trauma, now she acts as a companion to the bed ridden Mrs Warren. She's currently fretful because a serial killer is on the loose and he preys on women with afflictions...

Based on Ethel White's novel "Some Must Watch," The Spiral Staircase harks back to the days of the "old dark house" thrillers and encompasses a German expressionist sheen. The setting is an old Gothic mansion in New England at the turn of the century. Directed by Robert Siodmak, not one spooky house thriller genre convention has been neglected here. The tension builds amid creaking doors and gates, whistling winds, flickering candles, blowing curtains and cut-aways to the eyes of the unseen lurking madman waiting to add poor Helen to his roll call of victims. Mirrors, windows and shadows feature prominently as craftsman Siodmak spins his uneasy expressionistic web.

The cast are uniformly strong. Dorothy McGuire gives one of her best and most convincing performances as the under threat Helen. While Ethel Barrymore (nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Elsa Lanchester and George Brent all turn in brilliant performances. But perhaps it's not unfair to say that the real stars here are the technical staff? Siodmak expands his talent and knowing from his work at Universal Pictures (Son Of Dracula/The Suspect), Albert D'Agostino's sets are wondrous period delights and Nicholas Musuraca's deep-focus photography has the ability to make one keep looking over the shoulder to see if something is lurking in the room with us...

There's quite a few changes in this adaptation from the novel, notably the setting was in England and Helen was a cripple and not mute. But few could seriously argue that The Spiral Staircase in silver screen form is anything but a triumphant piece of classic cinema. 10/10
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Showing 11-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2012 13:58:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2012 13:59:22 BDT
Spike Owen says:
Just google IMDb Registration and click on the link. It's very simple to follow. You can find me there on the film noir and Western boards under user name JohnRouseMerriottChard. I also use Classic Film Board a lot as well, a board I think you will get a lot from as it has a knowledgeable crowd. Each film has it's own board, something like The Spiral Staircase has lots of posts to read as well.

Once you get there get in touch and I can help you with any questions.

Spike

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 17:47:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 17:48:43 BDT
Ronald Haak says:
Thanks, but things seem to have changed on the site, and I can't get through to what is now called the Registration/Resume desk. Here's a quote:

"How do I sign up for IMDb Resume?
IMDb Resume is no longer available as a stand-alone product. It is now part of IMDb Pro, which allows you to post a headshot and upload your resume."

Me, again: I tried, but can't get through to the most preliminary rung on the ladder. Maybe the website's undergoing rennovation. Anyway, this certainly isn't your job, so I'll take it as my fate. I'm only passing the word to show I did pull the levers, albeit with no success. Ciao! RON

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 22:20:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 22:20:40 BDT
Spike Owen says:
Hiya Ron

What a pain. Resume is a sepaerate entity, even if you don't register you can still read the IMDb boards. For instance if you google The Spiral Staircase IMDb, the link will take you straight to the page for the film and the discussion board for it underneath.

Maybe it's not meant to be, but it's a shame. I just tried it myself

Google IMDb Registration, it's the top link on the google page. Click on that and it takes you to an IMDb page asking you to log in or register. In the top right hand corner click Register and then fill out the form.

In the meantime do check my review for The Queen of Spades on the film's page here on Amazon.

Cheers

Spike
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