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Secret Beyond the Door [Blu-ray]

Blu-ray

Price: CDN$ 34.77 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Thrilling Dec 30 2005
By Samantha Glasser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Secret Beyond the Door is told by the main character (Joan Bennett), a new bride of a man she met on vacation (Michael Redgrave). She finds that her new husband has kept many things from her, most notably that he was previously married to a woman, now deceased, with whom he had a son. She feels lost and out of the loop in the home the two share with his sister and secretary. Soon, instead of feeling disoriented, she feels terrified for her life, and with good reason.

Fritz Lang directed this film and there are many characteristic elements. First, the initial foreshadowing by use of symbolism is evident both in Lang's silent films and in his film noir talkies. There are several other elements of film noir in this film like narration, flashback, and realistic, imperfect characters.

Joan Bennett is beautiful, like a slightly more plain version of Hedy Lamarr. She is relatable enough to like which makes the viewer more interested in the film.

Michael Redgrave plays the husband, a moody man almost to the point of being bi-polar. He runs a gamut of emotions throughout the film.

The great thing about this film is constantly not knowing what will happen. Although one can guess, other things arise that constantly surprise including a twist near the end. The music is agonizingly tense in moments or extreme danger which keeps one engaged and aching to find out what happens.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Paging Mister Freud..." Sept. 2 2012
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Secret Beyond the Door was a case of fourth time unlucky for Fritz Lang and Joan Bennett, who evidently put the past triumphs of the Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street behind them to fight like cats and dogs throughout the acrimonious and over budget production while at times reducing co-star Michael Redgrave to a nervous wreck with the director's tyrannical behavior to emerge with a film hated by its star, preview audiences alike and critics alike (one memorably described it as `a woman's picture made by a misogynist') that proved a disastrous box-office flop. Add to that censorship problems, Lang being singularly unimpressed by cinematographer Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons, Night of the Hunter) because Bennett overruled his original choice of Robert Krasker, the studio dropping his idea of having actress Colleen Collins deliver Bennett's voice-over narration as too confusing and having an affair with the screenwriter, Silvia Richards, that apparently led to some unfortunate rewrites, not to mention his leading lady and his co-producer Walter Wanger's marriage disintegrating throughout the shoot and the studio taking over and re-editing the film amid a flurry of lawsuits and it's no wonder that he dismissed it as `a very unfortunate adventure.' But it's certainly a fascinating one even if it never turns into the rediscovered masterpiece you'd like it to be to give all that blood, sweat and tears a belated happy ending.

Almost from the start there's a tangible air of suppressed perversity, be it Bennett's morbid pre-wedding thoughts about dreams set against opening Disney animation of weeds stretching out in the water like pained claws to her listless heiress being so transfixed by a knife fight and so jealous of the pride a peasant woman clearly feels that two men are willing to kill for her that she doesn't even blink when a blade lands an inch away from her. And that's before she falls for Michael Redgrave's architect with money troubles who collects `felicitous rooms,' has a strange son he never bothers to tell her about and more skeletons than closets. It turns out that he's been dominated by women all his life, and those rooms he collects, like something out of Madame Tussauds without the waxworks but with a bigger budget for furnishings, are all the scenes of famous murders of wives and mothers... and there's one murder room he claims is finished which he keeps securely locked at all times and forbids her to enter.

Playing like a perverse combination of the Bluebeard legend, Rebecca, Spellbound, Suspicion and all points east of sanity, it's an intriguing enough mystery even if the climax isn't entirely convincing - as Lang later noted, "Our solution was too glib, too slick. It would be very nice if a mentally disturbed patient could talk with a psychiatrist for two hours and then be cured; but such things cannot be done so quickly." Lang's dictatorial behavior may have made it an unpleasant set, but it pays dividends in the performances, with Bennett going from confidence to trying to assert some kind of control even though she doesn't know what on Earth is going on while Redgrave's own repressions come to the fore in a performance that's schizophrenic in all the right ways for the kind of man who dreams of putting himself on trial for murder and plays both defendant and prosecutor as logic gives way to an increasingly Freudian Liebestraum. Despite Lang's misgivings, Cortez's cinematography is particularly striking and is well represented on Olive's region-free Blu-ray, but the film's misfortunes have extended to the sound quality, with a combination of poor sound mix that seems a little dulled and a surprisingly low sound level for a film where much of the dialogue and voice over is already spoken very softly meaning you'll have to turn the volume way up to hear it properly (no such problems with Miklos Rozsa's floridly dramatic score). As usual with Olive Films' titles there are no extras.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller. May 17 2000
By Daisy Ghostly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This lesser known old dark house thriller from Lang, comes highly recommended. It's not about a haunted house actually, but I'd still call it spooky. I first saw it only a few years ago, but it's already become a fave of mine in this particular category. -Sort of, anyway; the beginning is a bit slow and too romantic, and manages to look completely un-interesting to a Horror fan, but the wait is worth it. While on vacation in South America Bennett falls for stranger Redgrave, and promptly moves in with him. -He's strange indeed; with all the secret rooms in the big house, and two other just as strange occupants. I'll say no more; now go check it out. If you enjoyed the British "Dead Of Night" for instance, Lang's long corridors and the eerie atmosphere here should be a sure pleaser.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Psychiatry was the essence of Lang's thriller... Feb. 10 2009
By Roberto Frangie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Psychiatry, plus a suggestion of the Bluebeard legend, plus a lot of Gothic glooms, was the essence of Fritz Lang's thriller...

The situation is the familiar one of the girl who falls in love and marries a millionaire about whom she knows little, and finds that the home to which he takes her is one of those gloomy mansions which seem to have been built for the mysterious shadows they throw...

She meets there three people whose existence she had not suspected: her husband's sister, who has been running things and wants to carry on (does anyone remember Judith Anderson's Mrs. Danvers in 'Rebecca'?); his secretary, who had hoped to marry him, and always wears a scarf round her face to hide scars from a fire; and his rather hostile son, who had no more been mentioned than the fact of a previous marriage...

The moody husband (with a death fixation...) has a 'collection' of reconstructions of rooms in which murders have been committed... We visit them all except one: this is kept hurtfully locked...

Is this the room of the first wife, and did her husband murder her? Well, although he too has a guilt complex, he did not kill her. Not loving her, he wished her dead - and blames himself... To get this across, Lang stages an imaginary trial, with the husband as both accuser and accused... We end up, many shadows later, with Redgrave and Bennett having a showdown in the locked room...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A neglected filmic gem! Dec 26 2011
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
The powerful talent of Fritz Lang was indomitable. The relentless energy he put around every one of his films denotes the admirable capacity to weave a story.

This is far from being the most relevant issue in his extensive career but there's an admirable performance of both of them. Joan Bennet and Michael Redgrave.

She, alone and closed inside an emotive bubble searching for someone; he hides a secret. The progressive tension will lead you to discover what's beyond that closed door.

Don't miss it.

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