A gothic Freudian nightmare from German maestro Fritz Lang, Secret Beyond the Door was adapted by his frequent collaborator Silvia Richards from a story by Rufus King. A sinister ‘40s twist on the French Bluebeard tale, the film is often considered a minor work in the great Lang’s oeuvre (far behind the almighty The Big Heat in my book), though even a lesser Lang film is better than the worst of most other filmmakers.
This whole crime movie a day writing project started about a month ago with Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat. Today we look at another one of the German maestro’s celebrated noirs: 1944’s The Woman in the Window. This one lacks much of the visual expressionism Lang would experiment with later in his noirs, favoring a more naturalistic approach, but features the sardonic look at the fine line between respectability and crime he would thematically explore many times after this. The plot is pretty straightforward as well, but it’s elevated by some top notch performances from Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and Dan Duryea, who plays a gleefully slimy extortionist.