The Strange Door

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The Strange Door
The theatrical release poster
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Produced by Ted Richmond
Screenplay by Jerry Sackheim
Story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Starring Charles Laughton
Boris Karloff
Sally Forrest
Richard Stapley
Music by Joseph Gershenson
Cinematography Irving Glassberg
Edited by Edward Curtiss
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • December 8, 1951 (1951-12-08) (New York City)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Strange Door is a 1951 American film noir thriller horror film, released by Universal Pictures. The film starred Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Sally Forrest and Richard Stapley. Karloff's role is actually a support one but his name carried significant weight in the billing. It was directed by Joseph Pevney and was based on the short story "The Sire de Maletroit's Door" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Its alternative title was Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Door.[1]


Alain, the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), plots revenge on his younger brother Edmund (Cavanagh) for stealing Alain's childhood sweetheart, now deceased. Alain imprisons Edmund in a dungeon for 20 years. He then convinces Edmund's grown daughter Blanche (Forrest) that her father is dead. As Blanche's mother (Alain's lost love) died in childbirth, Maletroit intends to further antagonize Blanche by reducing her life to a miserable hell. As the film begins, he tricks a high-born drunken cad, Denis de Beaulieu (Richard Stapley), to pass through the sole, exterior door of the Maletroit chateau, which has no latch handle on the inside, making him a captive, with the intent of forcing the delicate Blanche into marriage with him. However, Denis has unanticipated redemptive qualities, and he and Blanche fall in love. Their attempt to escape is initially foiled by Alain, who seals Edmund, Blanche and Denis in a stone deathtrap designed to crush the lot of them. Maletroit's disloyal manservant Voltan (Karloff) comes to their aid and dies effecting the escape of Denis, Blanche and her father from a dungeon cell, the walls of which are crushing in on them under pressure of river water churned against them by a water wheel on the chateau. Alain dies when he falls into the river and is caught up in the water wheel, his fat body jamming it to a halt.


Home Video Release[edit]

This film, along with Night Key, Tower of London, The Climax and The Black Castle, was released on DVD in 2006 by Universal Studios as part of The Boris Karloff Collection.


  1. ^ Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 353-354

External links[edit]