The Spiral Staircase Reviews
Someone is knocking off women with 'imperfections'. A woman with a scar on her face, a 'simple minded thing', a cripple... and now, someone is trying to kill Helen (Dorothy McGuire), the gorgeous mute servant of rich old Miss Warren (Ethel Barrymore). Good luck trying to figure this one out - there is a plethora of suspects, and no butler!
Well wouldn't you know it, there have been a series of murders in town lately of young girls with physical or psychological defect, and as we learn early on through subjective tracking, the killer has followed our young mute heroine to the country estate where she works. There's a horrific storm rolling in. Coming and going guests include a constable with dire warnings, not one but two country doctors (one of whom loves our heroine), a large and lazy English bulldog, and a dark figure lurking in the shadows. In closeups of him we see only a sinister eye. Add a few screams and bumps in the night, and you have a recipe for real excitement. The films of this period liked to move things along quickly, and soon there's a body in the cellar, snuffed out candles, mysteriously opened windows, thunder and lightning, wind and rain. "You must leave this house tonight," our heroine is told, but will she get out in time? Perhaps the answer lies at the foot of the shadowy spiral staircase.
Great atmosphere, effective suspense, accomplished acting by all, and the masterful direction of Robert Siodmak make this small classic the one to see on "a dark and stormy night."
If you liked Pyscho, then give this a watch.
Ive seen Better spooky Black and whites.. She is soo pretty You know she is going to say something any minute .. This woman cant talk And Is Being Persued By a savedge Killer..
Who Mainly only kills wimen with a phisical flaw?? And cant fight back.. Kind of like The lion Waiting to pounce On The weak .. Is Cute VINTAGE Horror *
[b]Billy Liar[/b] was the last of the flimspotting Angry Young Men marathon. A young man with dreams of becoming a screenwriter fantasizes his way through a day of his humdrum existence. Again, though I can respect the quality of the filmmaking, I just did not understand the character motivations. I'm starting to think it's because we don't really have a class system in America and so I can't really grasp the pain of the working class in Britain.
Sean Penn ("All the King's Men") totally deserved the Oscar for his turn in [b]Milk[/b]. He transforms into Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold elected office. The film doesn't show Milk's entire life, but begins when he moves to San Francisco. And though it focuses on the politics, it's also a bit of a love story, showing how Milk's relationships were affected by his running for office. Very well done film. Moving with lots of food for thought.
[b]The Spiral Staircase[/b] is a tense little thriller that relies more on shadows and suspense than jump-out scares. The plot involves a series of murders in which all of the victims have been handicapped in some way. The heroine has lost her voice and we watch her navigate a dark, scary house unable to call for help as the murderer stalks her.
Harrison Ford ("Crossing Over") really is the epitome of action star. In [b]Clear and Present Danger[/b], he plays CIA agent Jack Ryan who must uncover a plot that goes all the way to the presidency. And though much of the time Ford is embroiled in office politics, he makes it look tense. And then it's time to kick butt and he's good at that too. Some of the computer stuff is dated and seems silly now, but for the most part, the film holds up.
I remember really liking[b] Wolf[/b] when I saw it upon it's initial release. It's still entertaining, but now dated. Jack Nicholson ("The Bucket List"), who looks the part and I think is the inspiration for Wolverine's make-up in X-Men, stars as an aging editor who's bitten by a wolf and then begins to change. Along the way, he bites a very smarmy James Spader ("Shadow of Fear") and they both inappropriately sniff Michelle Pfeiffer ("Stardust").
Not quite the Hitchcockian thriller I thought it would be The Spiral Staircase reminded me more of Gaslight and other female-empowering thrillers with lots of cliches and cheese, particularly towards the end. Definitely an enjoyable experience but it's not a film I'd be at all eager to repeat.