Secret Beyond the Door (1948)

Article #1245 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-11-2004
Posting Date: 1-8-2005
Directed by Fritz Lang
Featuring Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere

A woman with a large inheritance is wooed by a mysterious man who is in desperate financial straits. After she marries him, she begins to suspect that he may have murdered his first wife for her money.

For a man who contributed so much to the fantastic genres during the silent and early sound eras, I’ve had little call to cover any of Fritz Lang’s later work as he really didn’t work in those genres much afterwards. This one gets by on the skin of its teeth; though it’s not a horror movie, the theme of madness and the presence of considerable ground fog in one scene do tip it in the direction of marginalia. I was initially excited to be catching another of his movies, and the movie starts off well enough. However, there came a point where my attention began to flag. The constant self-conscious narration, the psychological babble, and the protracted buildup—instead of nudging me to the end of my seat, it had the opposite effect of annoying and distracting me. By the time the big ending came, I had lost interest, and the big psychological revelation scene almost made me laugh, and that’s not a good sign. Fritz Lang has given us a lot of fine movies, but this isn’t one of them. Now, if only FURY or THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW were within my chosen genres…


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