It's a blend of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and the story of Bluebeard. Secret Beyond the Door (1948) follows Celia Barrett Lamphere (Joan Bennett), a clueless young bride whose husband (Michael Redgrave) keeps secret rooms in his secluded mansion. There's more than a hint of murder, mystery, mayhem and, of course, an unnecessarily creepy housekeeper - your usual psychological thriller.
What's fascinating, however, is that Celia is treated as a somewhat intelligent character. She performs the requisite damsel-in-distress screaming, running and tripping around in the fog while some menace chases her, but she's also willful and determined to help her husband overcome his homicidal tendencies. In one scene she even appears to act as his therapist, encouraging him to remember horrors from his past. It's a small point [and, in real life, a very foolish way to behave around a murderer], but she's taking control of her world instead of allowing it to ruin her. What spunk!
|And she does it all while rocking that Hedy Lamar-ish middle part in her hair. I adore Celia.|