Secret Beyond the Door... (1949)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoEven star Joan Bennett and director Fritz Lang regarded The Secret Beyond the Door as the weakest of their collaborative efforts. Bennett plays spoiled socialite Celia, who falls recklessly in love with the handsome but emotionally complex Mark Lamphere (Michael Redgrave, in his first American film). After their wedding, Celia becomes uncomfortably aware that Mark's mild distrust of women is actually a deep-set, and potentially dangerous, hatred. Even when facing the possibility that she'll be murdered in her sleep, Celia remains loyal to her unbalanced husband. The slowly mounting tension is enhanced by the mood-drenched cinematography of Stanley Cortez and the feverish musical score by Miklos Rozsa. But when it's all over, The Secret Beyond the Door fails to linger in the memory in the manner of such earlier Lang-Bennett efforts as The Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street. … More
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Critic Reviews for Secret Beyond the Door...
Probably the most psychoanalytically oriented of his features, and because it's Lang, the murkiness is mainly a strength.
Mr. Lang is still a director who knows how to turn the obvious, such as locked doors and silent chambers and roving spotlights, into strangely tingling stuff.
Mental complexities of the principals makes it sometimes hard to sort out the various motivations used to spin the tale.
[Lang's] direction is masterly, imposing meanings and tensions through images that are spare, resonant and astonishingly beautiful. A remarkable film.
The most successful aspect of the production is the cinematography, which creates a shadowy world of false appearances, hidden meanings, and elusive truths.
Borrowing a plot from the Bluebeard legend, and chucking in a load of sub-Freudian hokum, Fritz Lang nonetheless makes a class act of this Gothic psycho-thriller.
Secret Beyond the Door ventures into some astounding arenas (even for Lang, who was an expert in paranoia), both of the mind and otherwise.
Audience Reviews for Secret Beyond the Door...
definitely the weakest of the lang/bennett films but the very weird plot makes it worth watching. however the ending is a total copoutMore
Considering the year it was made, it is quite a perverse film.
Some great visuals and a very interesting (if not overly complex) premise.
Part of both it's charm and short coming is the horribly dated dialog, but the potential is there for a great film.
From a story standpoint, Secret Beyond the Door is nothing special. Actually, its pretty damn dull. It's the story of an impetuous marriage where the woman (the beautiful Joan Bennett in this case) gets more than she bargained for. By today's standards it comes off as silly and even predictable. And on top of it all, there are so many elements that could've added to the story so well but instead leaving you needing more. But since Fritz Lang directed Secret Beyond the Door and his visual style makes up for the story's numerous shortcomings, I forgave a lot. So much in the last act was a work of art that by the time you get to the end of this movie with its convenient ending you're just left with torn feelings because you saw something magnificent but had to endure this mundane story to see it. I don't know. See it yourself, make your own call...More
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