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on 22 November 2011
This is a welcome DVD release for a fine movie from Fritz Lang. There are dark themes and suspenseful moods in common with Rebecca and Suspicion in this psychological thriller about a wealthy young woman (played by Joan Bennett) who goes on vacation and, seemingly on impulse, falls for a charming but mercurial architect (Michael Redgrave) and marries him before she even really knows anything of substance about him. Predictably, after a brief period of happiness, her husband begins to act strangely, and, as she anxiously tries to discover the reasons for his sudden cold aloofness, she finds that he has been married before. As she tries to make sense of such a shock, one more unnerving revelation after another (not least her husband's bizarre collection of murder-themed rooms that he keeps in his basement) shakes her sense of security, and then there is the lingering mystery of what lies beyond the room whose door remains locked in his mansion. Without giving anything else away, I can say that this is a riveting story, well-paced and expertly played and directed, with breathtaking use of light and shadow to summon up certain moods and moments. The print is really bright and clean, the sound is excellent and the experience as a whole is very enjoyable indeed. Highly recommended.
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If you like cod Freudian frolics then this film is for you!

An enjoyable, well-acted, and wonderfully designed load of nonsense based loosely around the theme of Bluebeard. The absurdity of the ending is not well handled but overall the film is an extraordinary camp classic where the trappings of the gothic novel and the psychiatrists couch combine in an attempt to shock but end up provoking more laughs than chills. The disc is however well coded and looks a million $. Redgrave chews the furniture spectacularly (if unconvincingly) the heroine behaves in an totally unbelievable manner, the music swells and the villain gets his or her just punishment! But "Rebecca" or "Spellbound" this ain't although one can understand it's cult status as you can barely believe your eyes ( or ears!) at some of the "goings on". A fascinating failure of grotesquely fascinating proportions!
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on 25 May 2009
This film sees Mark (Michael Redgrave) with a pychological problem. There are a few things wrong in his head, eg, he collects rooms where murders have been committed. He lays these rooms out exactly as they were, with original artifacts, at the time the murders were committed and devotes a wing of his house to them. When Celia (Joan Bennett) marries him, she only discovers his passion when a rain storm ruins the outside house-warming party they are giving, and he brings the guests indoors for a tour of the house.

What lies in room no.7? It is permanently locked and becomes Celia's object of curiosity. Also in the house are 3 slightly spooky other characters - Redgrave's sister Caroline (Anne Revere), his son David (Mark Dennis) from a previous marriage and his secretary Miss Robey (Barbara O'Neil). Its a good film, but I think if I was a woman I would have left him pretty early on in the relationship!

While I could see where the film was heading, the actual ending is not what I expected. It's a spookily filmed story and it's quite memorable.
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on 30 November 2011
This new edition by Exposure Cinema is a little treasure. The DVD transfer is very clean, with good contrast and a very pleasant overall image quality. It comes with an illustrated booklet containing three brief but interesting essays about the movie and its director. This is a title that Lang fans have waited forever to get. Kudos to the company for showing great care and issuing a top-quality product!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 August 2013
Secret Beyond the Door is directed by Fritz Lang and adapted to screenplay by Silvia Richards from a story by Rufus King. It stars Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere, Barbara O'Neil and Natalie Schafer. Music is by Miklós Rózsa and cinematography by Stanley Cortez.

After a whirlwind romance, Celia Barrett (Bennett) marries Mark Lamphere (Redgrave) but finds once the honeymoon is over his behaviour becomes quite odd...

A troubled production and troubling reactions to it by the critics and Lang himself! Secret Beyond the Door is very much in the divisive half of Lang's filmic output. Taking its lead from classic era Hollywood's keen interest with all things Freudian, and doffing its cap towards a number of "women in peril at home" films of the 1940s, it's a picture that's hardly original. Yet in spite of some weaknesses in the screenplay that revolve around the psychological troubles of Mark Lamphere, this is still a fascinating and suspenseful picture.

I married a stranger.

Draped in Gothic overtones and astonishingly beautiful into the bargain, it's unmistakably a Lang film. His ire towards the cast and studio, where he was usurped in the cutting room and with choice of cinematographer, led Lang to be very dismissive towards the piece. However, it contains all that's good about the great director. Scenes such as the opening involving a paper boat on ripples of water, or a sequence that sees Mark dream he is in a courtroom full of faceless jurors, these are indelible images. Then there's the lighting techniques used around the moody Lamphere mansion that are simply stunning, with Cortez (The Night of the Hunter) photographing with atmospheric clarity.

Blades Creek, Levender Falls.

Elsewhere the characterisations are intriguing. Mark is troubled by something and we learn it's about women in his life, while his "hobby" of reconstructing famous murder scenes in the rooms of the mansion, is macabre and really puts a kinky distortion in the narrative. Celia marries in haste but is surprisingly strong, her character arc given heft by the fact we think she may well be prepared to die for love. Then there's the house secretary, Miss Robey (O'Neil), a shifty woman with a headscarf covering an unsightly scar on one side of her face, and Mark's young son David (Mark Dennis) who is cold and detached and has some disturbing theories on his father's means and motivations.

Lilacs and locked doors.

Cast performances are not all top grade, and even though Redgrave doesn't push himself to required darker territories, the performances are involving and worthy of the viewer's undivided attention. Rózsa's musical score is a cracker, deftly switching from the romantic swirls that accompany Mark and Celia during their love courting, to being a stalking menace around the Lamphere house and misty grounds when danger and psychological distortion is near by. Technically it's a remarkable movie, where even allowing for some daftness involving the psychobabble, it's a picture that Lang fans can easily love. There are those who detest it, very much so, but if it does hit your spot it will get inside you and stay there for some time afterwards. 8/10
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on 25 May 2009
This film sees Mark (Michael Redgrave) with a pychological problem. There are a few things wrong in his head, eg, he collects rooms where murders have been committed. He lays these rooms out exactly as they were, with original artifacts, at the time the murders were committed and devotes a wing of his house to them. When Celia (Joan Bennett) marries him, she only discovers his passion when a rain storm ruins the outside house-warming party they are giving, and he brings the guests indoors for a tour of the house.

What lies in room no.7? It is permanently locked and becomes Celia's object of curiosity. Also in the house are 3 slightly spooky other characters - Redgrave's sister Caroline (Anne Revere), his son David (Mark Dennis) from a previous marriage and his secretary Miss Robey (Barbara O'Neil). Its a good film, but I think if I was a woman I would have left him pretty early on in the relationship!

While I could see where the film was heading, the actual ending is not what I expected. It's a spookily filmed story and it's quite memorable.
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on 10 January 2012
A New York socialite (Joan Bennett) falls in love with and marries a man (Michael Redgrave) in Mexico that she's only known for a few days. But it doesn't take long for her to realize he has some deep rooted psychological problems. This noir-ish Freudian thriller (with ties to the Bluebeard story) benefits greatly from Fritz Lang's stimulating direction and Stanley Cortez's (MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS) atmospheric black and white lensing. Lang maintains an intense, almost claustrophobic mood and with Redgrave's off kilter performance, it's enough to propel the mystery forward. But if Lang doesn't quite cop out at the end like Hitchcock's SUSPICION or Siodmak's STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY, the last fifteen minutes are pretty wobbly and disappointing. This was Bennett's fifth and final film with Lang and as she proved in her prior four films with him, she did her best work for him. If her distressed heroine isn't as good as the sluts she played in Lang's SCARLET STREET or WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, it's just not as interesting a character. Music by Miklos Rozsa. With Anne Revere, Natalie Schafer, Barbara O'Neil and James Seay.

The Exposure Cinema DVD via Great Britain is a very nicely rendered B&W transfer in its appropriate 1.33 ratio.
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on 4 September 2013
Lang didn't rate it much and that must have been because of the simplistic nature of the psychology - rather like 'Spellbound'. However, it's much better than that film and nearly 'great'. It's beautifully composed and photographed with the stunning Joan Bennett, looking rather thinner perhaps than in other films, and the always interesting Michael Redgrave briefly reprising the wild-eyed maniac look from 'Dead of Night'. Genuinely creepy and 'suggestive' at times with some masterful 'angles' and sporadic dream-scapes. There's some adult wit in the script undoubtedly but possibly just let down for us by the 'explanatory' scenes and the 'for better, for worse' morality which gets pushed too hard for modern taste.
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on 10 July 2016
The Secret Beyond the Door is a cut-price "Rebecca" without the great performances and stylish cinematography that made the Hitchcock film such a masterpiece. Told with lots of voice over, the story concerns a woman (Joan Bennett) who has a whirlwind romance and wedding to a mysterious stranger (Michael Redgrave), but arrives back at his house only to find it is full of secrets, and her life is in danger. It has all the trappings of it's more successful "cousin", with it's basic similar plot going right down to the dead first wife, the sinister housekeeper, and even the fiery climax.

The story is turgid and slow. Joan Bennett spends a lot of screen time staring and talking to herself, and Michael Redgrave spends a lot of time going into a pop-eyed trance which is supposed to represent a dark traumatic state, but it isn't very subtle. The actual "rooms" plot device is used very sparingly and without a lot of impact. But the worst offender is the music - it's huge, a really melodramatic and persistent dirge that smothers the emotions of the acting and script. A different approach to the musical score would have really helped, but this was 1948 and it is fairly typical of the period, although, even for the time, it does seem extremely heavy.

Some light spots and very mild suspense don't come up often enough to provide 95 solid minutes of entertainment
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on 20 March 2016
This movie kind of flopped at the box office when first released and I can see why. It is unsatisfying. One Mr J. Rotten said many years ago "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" Yes, I felt that way.

Good pedigree.. I like Fritz Lang's style and I wouldn't say this movie is an absolute dud.. not by a long shot. I just found it disappointing but at least I can say I've seen it. I suggest that, if you are curious, find it at a good price and make up your own mind. I wouldn't recommend paying through the @nu$ for it though..

I may watch it again before getting rid of it. Sometimes when there are high expectations one is easily disappointed. Maybe if I expect a non-event this time around I will see the movie in a new light.

I wont give away the plot.. just let me say "shades of 'Rebecca' and 'Dragonwyck'..". If you don't expect anything as grand as those two movies then you may not be too disappointed and there are folks who like the movie on it's own merits as well. Perhaps I have just seen too much cool stuff in my life to be impressed by anything new these days..

Comes with a nice glossy 12-page booklet containing info and pics. It will sit nicely on your dvd shelf right next to "The Uninvited'.
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