The Maze (1953 film)

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The Maze
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Cameron Menzies
Produced byRichard Heermance
Walter Mirisch (executive producer)
Screenplay byDaniel Ullman
Based onThe Maze
by Maurice Sandoz
StarringRichard Carlson
Veronica Hurst
Katherine Emery
Music byMarlin Skiles
CinematographyHarry Neumann
Edited byJohn Fuller
Distributed byAllied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • July 26, 1953 (1953-07-26)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Maze is a 1953 3-D horror film, starring Richard Carlson, Veronica Hurst and Hillary Brooke. It was directed by William Cameron Menzies and distributed by Allied Artists Pictures.[1] This was to be the second 3-D film designed and directed by William Cameron Menzies, who was known as a director with a very "dimensional" style (e.g. many shots are focused in layers). This was his final film as production designer and director.


A Scotsman named Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) abruptly breaks off his engagement to pretty Kitty (Veronica Hurst) after receiving word of his uncle's death. He inherits a mysterious castle in the Scottish highlands and moves there to live with the castle servants. Kitty refuses to accept the broken engagement and travels with her aunt (Katherine Emery) to the castle. When they arrive, they discover that Gerald has suddenly aged and his manner has changed significantly.

After a series of mysterious events occur in both the castle and the hedge maze outside, they invite a group of friends, including a doctor, to the castle in the hopes that they can help Gerald with whatever ails him. Although the friends are equally concerned by Gerald's behavior, they are at a loss as to its cause. One night, Kitty and her aunt steal a key to their bedroom door (which is always locked from the outside) and sneak out into the mysterious maze. There they discover Gerald and his servants tending to a frog-like monster. The monster panics upon seeing the strangers and runs back to the castle, hurling itself from a top-story balcony to its death.

At the end, Gerald explains that the amphibious creature was the actual master of the castle, Sir Roger MacTeam, and that he and his ancestors were merely its servants. The death of Sir Roger releases him from his obligation and he is able to return to a normal life.



Critical reception for The Maze has been mixed, with some critics praising the film's acting, atmosphere, and direction while criticizing the finale. Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film two out of four stars, calling the finale "ludicrous (and unsatisfying)".[2] Brett Gallman from Oh, the Horror! gave the film a negative review, criticizing the film's "bloated" runtime, and plot development, calling it a footnote in director Menzies' career.[3] Dennis Schwartz from Ozus' World Movie Reviews awarded the film a grade B, calling it, "A moronic but entertaining horror/sci fi film."[4] TV Guide awarded the film two out of four stars, commending the film's acting, direction, and set design, calling it above-average. However, the reviewer felt that the film was somewhat hampered by its low budget.[5]

Dave Sindelar, on his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings gave the film a more positive review, writing, "I have a lot of affection for this eerie horror/SF movie, though it took me a couple of viewings. The first time I saw the movie, I did get caught up in the eerie mood and the atmospheric sense of dread and tragedy that pervaded the castle, but the revelation concerning the nature of the true lord of the castle caused me to break out in laughter rather than to rear back in horror, and it ruined the movie for me. The second time I saw it, I was prepared, and was able to see beyond this flaw and appreciate how touching and sad the ending of the movie was. Part of the credit must go to Richard Carlson’s excellent performance, one of the best of his I’ve seen."[6]


  1. ^ Edmund G. Bansak (1 January 2003). Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton Career. McFarland. p. 495. ISBN 978-0-7864-1709-4.
  2. ^ Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 422. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
  3. ^ Gallman, Brett. "Horror Reviews - Maze, The (1953)". Oh the Brett Gallman. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. "maze". Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  5. ^ "The Maze - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV TV Guide. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  6. ^ Sindelar, Dave. "The Maze (1953)". Fantastic Movie Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

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