UCLA Festival of Preservation
(Charles Vidor, USA, 1934, 35mm, 75 min)
Part of our Thrills and Chills Double Feature!
Monday, Nov 11 at 09:00PM
Mary Morris gives a bone-chilling performance as an avaricious spinster in Double Door: when a new sister-in-law comes to visit, she learns that the house contains a secret vault with a family treasureif only she can escape being locked in with it.
Protests from the playwright and producers notwithstanding, New Yorkers who flocked in the fall of 1933 to see Elizabeth McFadden's play Double Door knew it was inspired by the Wendel family of Manhattan, a Gilded Age dynasty of fabulously wealthy eccentrics. What could be more gothic than seven sisters sequestered in a gloomy mansion, tainted by madness, forbidden to marry, presided over by an avaricious brother?
Double Door is a dark riff, compressed into a three-act melodrama and led by Anne Revere and Mary Morris, brought directly from the stage, by Paramount, to recreate their roles as the emotionally battered Caroline and the dominatrix Victoria.
Double Door is the best kind of filmed stage play, with a strong script and a director who respects his actors. Director Charles Vidor imposes film technique judiciously to punctuate a key revelation with a camera move, an unexpected angle or a lighting shift. One of these is a meticulously plotted in-camera effect breathtaking in its subtlety. The film was a template for the Gaslight school of cat-and-mouse thrillers that would proliferate on the New York and London stage over the next forty years.
Preservation funding for Double Door provided by the Packard Humanities Institute.
Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122