The Strange Door (1951)

THE STRANGE DOOR (1951)
Article #1425 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-7-2005
Posting Date: 7-7-2005
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Featuring Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Sally Forrest

A French nobleman tries to force a disolute playboy into marrying his daughter as part of an elaborate revenge scheme.

This movie along with THE BLACK CASTLE form an odd duo in Boris Karloff’s oeuvre; they’re both Gothic melodramas masquerading as horror movies which emphasized Karloff’s presence but consigned him to odd supporting roles. This one is the more interesting of the two, largely due to the presence of Charles Laughton. This would be the only time they would work together after THE OLD DARK HOUSE, and the movie is pretty much handed to Laughton, who chews the scenery with a gusto worthy of Tod Slaughter. In fact, he has all the good lines. Though he’s obviously having a good time, this isn’t one of Laughton’s better performances; some of his moments feel forced, while others feel just strange. Other than that, there’s not much of note here; the horror elements consist of some of the wilder Gothic elements, in particular a scene involving one of those rooms with the moving walls that come together. All in all, this is not a particularly noteworthy moment in the careers of either Karloff or Laughton.

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