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The Hidden Room – 1949 Dmytryk
- The Hidden Room is a delightful England-set (Dmytryk abroad for the HUAC fall out- he was part of The Hollywood Ten) noir with an ingeniously little sinister premise and an early score from Nino Rota.
- Robert Newton plays Dr. Clive Riordan who catches his wife Storm (an amazing name for a British woman in 1949) (played by Sally Gray) stepping out with Bill Kronin (Phil Brown). Riordan is plotting his revenge as the film opens and there is this small talk going on in the background at his gentleman’s club (the uppity kind country club kind of gentleman’s club—not the other kind).
- Newton is very good as Riordan- a fascinating character whose high intelligence and meticulous nature make for nice change of pace criminal. He talks about the perfect murder (Hitchcock would love this film I would guess- think of the Hume Cronyn character talking in Hitch’s Shadow of a Doubt) and the film is macabre. The whole Nietzsche superman is another reading of the film (just a few years removed from Hitler—and this came up again in 1948’s Rope also by Hitchcock). Riordan chains Kronin in a hidden room.
- The second half of the film thrives because of the shrewd game of cat and mouse with Nauton Wayne’s Superintendent Finsbury. “You win” says Riordan.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1949