Double Door (1934)

Article 1860 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-18-2006
Posting Date: 9-15-2006
Directed by Charles Vidor
Featuring Evelyn Venable, Mary Morris, Anne Revere

A wealthy old woman, angered at the marriage of her estate’s heir to a woman whom she considers common, does all she can to make the couple miserable and break up the marriage. When one scheme fails and the heir turns against her, she contives another more extreme plan…

Though it’s not quite a horror movie, this movie has a few elements of the “old dark house” movies of the time; in particular, a secret soundproof room, hidden by a double door with two combination locks, plays a strong part in the proceedings. A comment is made at one point about the house being haunted, but the only real terror here is the distinctly human monster played by Mary Morris, who does a wonderful job in the role of a scheming, manipulative and cruel matriarch. Kent Taylor plays the beleaguered heir to the estate; he would go on to appear in other genre movies such as THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES , THE CRAWLING HAND , THE DAY MARS INVADED EARTH , and BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR. The acting is strong throughout, and the cast is excellent; it includes Anne Revere, Guy Standing and Halliwell Hobbes. The main problem I had with the movie is that the ending isn’t quite clear; I wasn’t sure whether the final event was an accident or intentional. All in all, this one is marginal, but quite enjoyable.

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