Director: Fritz Lang
Starring: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
I was drawn to add this film to my watch list for two reasons. Firstly, the central idea concept in this film of a man collecting rooms in which people have been murdered, and his new wife not realising this until she’s already living with him. And also because as a film noir, this movie seems a real departure from Fritz Lang’s other films, like Metropolis and M.
Celia (Bennett) is a woman with a strong personality, and finds herself drawn to a man she meets on a holiday, a man who holds a strange fascination for her for being both sexy and dangerous. Mark (Redgrave) exhibits some strange behaviour, but soon asks her to marry him, and they travel back to his home, where she finds that not only was he married before, and has a son, but that there’s a strange secretary living with them whose face is disfigured, and his sister, who seems to hold a strong role in his life and the household.
Stranger even than all this is Mark’s collection of rooms in which murders were committed, and soon Celia finds a room which looks like his previous wife’s. Did he kill his first wife? Is he planning on killing her? And what is behind the mysterious locked door?
It’s kind of a hysterical film, full of melodrama, gothic touches, psycho-sexual reference and dream like sequences, with a heavy use of voice overs. It has a different feel and tone than other films of it’s era, and leans a little towards perhaps earlier German Expressionist films, though it clearly takes an influence from Rebecca too.
See It If: perhaps a little over the top for some viewers, it has it’s own charm and I liked the dreamlike quality, and the central mystery.