When I was picking out my final films based on prolific directors, I pretty much forgot about Fritz Lang. The moment his name flashed on screen I got a bit annoyed at myself for having not noticed this film. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter now I am getting so close to the end and there is something nice about crossing off another major director.
Secret Beyond The Door… is the final of five Lang films on the list and the third one that I have watched since starting the blog. Sadly, this is also the weakest of the five – but when the other titles include M, Metropolis and The Big Heat it becomes a bit ridiculous to even start comparing. Thing is though, where the other four films on this list felt like originals, Secret Beyond The Door… actually felt like he was trying to emulate – specifically emulate the work of Alfred Hitchcock.
Of the Hitchcock filmography, I would rank Rebecca and Suspicion among my favourites. However, because both of these films live somewhat rent-free in my head, I immediately saw how Secret Beyond The Door… was taking elements from both and not doing them quite as well. Sure there are original touches that are brilliant, such as the wholesale collecting of rooms where murder took place, but it lacked what having Joan Fontaine in a lead role could bring.
What also did not help was how this film ended. The ending, again, has shades of Suspicion about it. However, where Suspicion decides to keep you in the dark as to whether the suspicions of his intent are completely founded, Secret Beyond The Door… stops short of the murder and yet she still remains with him. At least in Suspicion you remain slightly unsure and can leave things to interpretation.
It’s not the best way to end a selection of movies of one of the best directors of the era. However, that is not to say that this was a bad film. I did enjoy this, it was just that I like other films of his better. It made for perfect evening viewing as I was icing my back after pulling it yet again. At some point, I really need to get myself some sort of box set.