Secret Beyond the Door Reviews
Lang's intimate breakdown of the Rebecca story visualizes Mrs. Danvers as a saturnine secretary using warped pretenses to guarantee continual employment, not to mention Lang's painstaking surrealism---circle of candles around a wishing well, brick wall behind a velvet curtain---is to the advantage of an dream-like conflict between female and male delusions. The bride's daydream is an hacienda honeymoon with trembling blades, the groom's is a post-modern oration before judge and jury---"You can't try a man for his thoughts!"---both are at the pity of a world floating between the deterministic and the arcane. A work of doorways and passages, facades and shrouds and people unexpectedly too diminutive for the spaces and images they find themselves drifting into.
The opening in Mexico is packed with circular architecture and images: We first see the Mexican church through a semi-circular archway. The wishing well is first seen as a ring of candles. It unites two of Lang's classic images: circles and fire. The wedding ceremony has an important circular wedding ring. Next we see a round fountain. The lovers on the hammock are seen through a semi-circular arch. A pet bird is on a circular ring. A balcony has curves, its railing full of domed ringlets. We also see the heroine on the hammock, against the backdrop of a round portico. After the heroine goes up to her bedroom, the circular imagery essentially ceases. When she runs downstairs in fright, the architecture is principally rectilinear. In the transitory finale, the couple return to Mexico. The heroine has a blanket teeming with circles.
As soon as the film alters its issue to the husband's psychological troubles, the circles vanish. In their place, we see the heroine moving through an elongated rectilinear hallway in the Mexican hotel, searching for her husband. Later at the mansion, there will be several more rectilinear corridor shots. These will often be tense, overflowing with shadows or at night. The rooms have triangular or oblique imagery. Bennett makes circular light when she inspects.
A character gently submits some Freudian shtick at a house party. Soon, a psychology student will earnestly rationalize psychoanalysis, and says it could cure the acute emotional tribulations illustrated by the murders associated with the rooms. The film does wind up giving rather pat Freudian justifications of violence. Controlling mothers and big sisters are seen as the sources of male brutality. This can be regarded as underestimating this issue, and pardoning men of the guilt.
But as a fan of Fritz Lang, film noir and German Expressionism, I was interested less in the soapy plot than the unusually sweeping use of not only the low-key black-and-white moodiness but madly idealistic, geometrically bizarre sets, in company with patterns painted on walls and floors to denote lights, shadows, and objects, doused with symbolism. As in all of his films, Lang's sets and the transparency of their silhouettes form a metaphysics of structural design, which occasionally speaks volumes but is constantly ominous, and meant to illustrate the bare, exposed and elemental core of things.
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.
Pour le reste, la voix off est envahissante, l interpretation n est pas convaincante, quant au denouement...
Soyons quand même justes, si ce film n'est pas mémorable au niveau du scénario (un émule du "Rebecca" de Hitchcock avec quelques éléments de Barbe-Bleue), Lang s'en tire quand même avec quelques bons moments au niveau de l'ambiance et de la direction photo, et ce surtout dans les scènes finales qui sont d'un esthétisme exemplaire.
Le film souffre toutefois d'une tare si fréquente dans les films américains de Lang qu'elle est presque devenue ludique: une finale décevante et précipitée. Le spectateur pourra toutefois pardonner le cinéaste qui se fait visiblement imposer des fins joyeuses par les studios. Un film incontournable pour les enthousiastes langiens, mais honnêtement négligeable pour le cinéphile moyen.
I dont understand why Celia (J. Bennet) loves this guy, a certain Mark so much. She does not care about Mark attempts to assassinate her. Because she says -without your love Im dead all the same-. Fuck you Mark!
In Celias shoes I would have escaped the very first night. But the fault of Marks Bluebeard syndrome is of his sister.
When they discover that, after a psychoanalytic session led by Celia, where the patient Mark is ready to strangle this makeshift Freud. And after a fire, set by Mrs. Sister. In the castle where Mark collects famous uxoricides rooms.