The Hidden Room

1949

Crime / Film-Noir / Thriller

8
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 88% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 7.3/10 10 2698 2.7K

Director

Top cast

Phil Brown as Bill Kronin
Stanley Baker as Policeman
Sally Gray as Storm Riordan
Robert Newton as Dr. Clive Riordan
720p.BLU
906.08 MB
986*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
Seeds 99

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spondonman 8 / 10

Every dog has its day!

Since I first saw Obsession 30 years ago it's remained one of my favourite post War British thrillers – although directed by and starring Americans it's nowhere near noir but a very British take on a calculated attempt at a perfect murder. The idea shown is almost as foolproof and institutionally British as dismembered body parts in suitcases checked into railway station lockers. Some cogent concise acting, scripting, production and black & white photography all go to make an engrossing 93 minutes UK TV running time.

Erudite doctor Robert Newton plays a husband who gets terminally jealous of his philandering wife Sally Gray and decides to bump off her current lover Phil Brown in an ingenious and supposedly undetectable manner. Bomb ravaged London comes into play here with the kidnapped lover temporarily installed in a derelict hidden room underneath a broken brick wasteland to await his gruesome but quick death at manic Newton's hands. And it is Newton's picture - although Naunton Wayne gives him a run for his money later on - his perfect diction matching his impassive body language (maybe exhausted after all the gurning he'd just done in Oliver Twist) and creating a perfectly clinical analysis of the mind of a hopeful murderer. Monty sure was a lucky dog to have escaped a bath though!

A great little film with plenty for you to think about and an atmosphere all of its own when the British made good British films with only the British in mind – even with Yank input!

Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 8 / 10

Man's Best Friend.

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

Reviewed by RanchoTuVu 7 / 10

remarkably well-done plot

A London psychiatrist (Robert Newton) catches his wife (Sally Gray) in an affair with an American (Phil Brown). Apparently this is not her first affair, and Newton, as the objective and self-controlled psychiatric professional, decides to settle things in a well-thought-out way by first kidnapping and then imprisoning the American in a hidden room not too far removed from the actual residence, with the ultimate goal of killing him without leaving any incriminating traces. The film could have been more dramatic by playing up the relationship between Newton and the beautiful Sally Gray. Gray seems to be telling the viewer that Newton never really loved her, although it also seems as if her youth and passion were too much for his middle-aged character to handle. In any event the plot, which is remarkably well done, inevitably leads to a police or Scotland Yard type investigation and eventual solving of the crime, rather than a dark story.

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