Secret Beyond the Door

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Secret Beyond the Door
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fritz Lang
Produced by Fritz Lang
Screenplay by Silvia Richards
Story by Rufus King
Starring Joan Bennett
Michael Redgrave
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Stanley Cortez
Edited by Arthur Hilton
Diana Production Company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • January 1, 1948 (1948-01-01) (United States)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,463,500[1]

Secret Beyond the Door is a 1948 psychological thriller and modern updating of the Bluebeard fairytale, directed by Fritz Lang, produced by Lang's Diana Productions, and released by Universal Pictures. The film starred Joan Bennett and was produced by her husband Walter Wanger. The black-and-white film noir drama is about a woman who suspects her new husband, an architect, plans to kill her.[2]


The behavior of Mark Lamphere, an architect, turns strange shortly after his honeymoon with bride Celia, who begins finding out that Mark has many secrets.

It turns out he was married before, his wife died suspiciously and they have a son. He also has a fiercely loyal secretary, Miss Robey, whose face is disfigured.

Mark appears to be somewhat delusional and could be intending to murder Celia inside a room he keeps locked. The disturbed Miss Robey ends up setting fire to the house, whereupon Mark redeems himself by saving Celia's life.




The film recorded a loss of $1,145,000.[1]

Critical response[edit]

When the film was first released, film critic Bosley Crowther, gave the film a mixed review, writing, "If you want to be tough about it—okay, it's a pretty silly yarn and it is played in a manner no less fatuous by the sundry members of the cast. But 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. And that's why, for all its psycho-nonsense, this film has some mildly creepy spots and some occasional faint resemblance to Rebecca which it was obviously aimed to imitate."[3]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a poor review, writing, "The premise of this thriller might be good, but even a great director like Fritz Lang and a superb cast consisting of Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave can't save this film from its sophomoric use of Freud. The pop psychology tried was never convincing ... If Lang was not the director, this film could have been a real stinker. But he evokes as much suspense as you can out of such nonsense, and the visual images by the great cinematographer Stanley Cortez are truly remarkable. The film is worth seeing for those reasons. Even Lang himself thought this was a poor film, and he'll get no argument from me."[4]

DVD release[edit]

Long unavailable on DVD in the United States or Britain, Secret Beyond the Door is scheduled for release in the UK in November 2011 by Exposure Cinema. The All Region disc will apparently feature a booklet containing essays and a remastered version of the film.

The film was released in the United States on DVD and Blu-ray by Olive Films on September 4, 2012.


  1. ^ a b Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p443.
  2. ^ Secret Beyond the Door at the Internet Movie Database.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "'Secret Beyond the Door,' With Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave, Has Premiere", January 16, 1948. Accessed: July 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Schwartz., Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, September 15, 2001. Accessed: July 12, 2013.

External links[edit]