7.3/10
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34 user 9 critic

The Hidden Room (1949)

Obsession (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 8 January 1950 (USA)
Clive Riordan plans a devilish revenge against his wife's lover.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Alec Coppel (book), Alec Coppel (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Newton ... Dr. Clive Riordan
Phil Brown ... Bill Kronin
Sally Gray ... Storm Riordan
Naunton Wayne ... Supt. Finsbury
James Harcourt James Harcourt ... Aitkin (butler)
Betty Cooper Betty Cooper ... Miss Stevens (receptionist)
Michael Balfour ... American sailor
Ronald Adam ... Clubman
Roddy Hughes ... Clubman
Allan Jeayes ... Clubman
Olga Lindo ... Mrs. Humphries
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Flying Squad detective
Lyonel Watts Lyonel Watts ... Clubman (as Lionel Watts)
Sam Kydd ... Club steward
Monty the Dog Monty the Dog ... Monty - Storm's Dog
Edit

Storyline

London psychiatrist Clive Riordan, royally fed up with the repeated affairs of his wife Storm, plots a seemingly 'perfect' revenge against her latest lover, American Bill Kronin. Catching them in the act, he marches Bill off at gunpoint; and from the viewpoint of Storm and the rest of the world, Bill simply vanishes. But there's far more to the meticulously worked out plot than Clive's victims suspect, with the end slowly preparing in his private laboratory. Enter a mild-mannered Scotland Yard man, who seemingly has no clue beyond a missing dog... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Whose eye could see... Whose ear could hear... Whose mind could know... the Secret! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hidden Room See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Phil Brown (Bill) is best known to Star Wars fans as Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen See more »

Goofs

Crew member with folded arms visible in the reflection of the car window when the Superintendant is sending his officers back the station. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Clive Riordan: Are you married, Mr. Finsbury?
Supt. Finsbury: No... I've often thought about it. Trouble is, I've thought about it so long, I'm afraid I've missed the bus.
Dr. Clive Riordan: Just one of life's little jokes, isn't it?... It points out our mistakes too late for us to profit by them.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Destination Murder (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Man's Best Friend.
26 June 2013 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Obsession (AKA: The Hidden Room) is directed by Edward Dmytryk and adapted to screenplay by Alec Coppel from his own book and play. It stars Robert Newton, Phil Brown, Sally Gray and Naunton Wayne. Music is by Nino Rota and cinematography by C.M. Pennington-Richards.

Finally having had enough of his wife's affair with a young lover, Dr. Clive Riordan (Newton) plots a devilish scheme of kidnap and murder...

The motive that drives the plot of Obsession is simple in the extreme, this is out and out a revenge for infidelity, but the presentation by Dmytryk is superbly crafty in that Hitchcockian way. The doctor is a most elegant and calm man, he has the perfect murder in mind for his wife's lover (Brown) and he, being a purveyor of psychological smarts, is going to enjoy the luxury of methodically taunting his prey over a period of time.

With the man ingeniously incarcerated down in a bombed out abode, and subjected to daily visits from the doctor, Dr. Clive is then seen going about his normal routines. Exchanging brandy sips with cultural chatter in the gentleman's club, swatting away the attentions of his increasingly fraught wife (Gray), and of course dealing with the close attentions of Scotland Yard; here in the form of Naunton Wayne's astute Superintendent Finsbury. The "good" doctor even has plenty of time to indulge in his love of model train set construction.

The initial plot machinations are slowly paced by the recently blacklisted director, but it's a deliberate ploy since the whole complexion of the movie changes once the kidnap occurs and the police and the press become involved. The atmosphere becomes tense, and this even as captor and captive enjoy some straight backed - prim and proper - verbal exchanges. There's a meticulousness to the murder based thematics that strike a chord, the mention of Crippen and obvious nods to John George Haigh keep the film buzzing with real life serial killer atrocities.

There's a case to be made here that this is Dmytryk's best British film? Certainly his ability to build suspense without histrionics or blood letting is a masterclass in Brit thriller staging. While his directing of Newton and Wayne, both of whom are excellent, is also worthy of a pat on the back. Visually it's straight black and white photography, except for the odd time we are out on the wet cobbled streets and the gaslights ooze the ethereal. But although there's some debate about if it deserves film noir status, I personally feel it's the sort of crime/thriller mounted with enough skill to make it worth seeking out by the film noir loving crowd.

Some of the support turns are stiff, but mercifully not film harming, while you do have to accept that the locale of the crime is hardly water tight and most likely would have been found with ease. But minor itches be damned, this is cunning, crafty and a British chiller of some worth. 8/10


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