Friday, April 08, 2016

The Spiral Staircase

The Spiral Staircase is a 1945 psychological suspense thriller about a serial killer. Sometimes included in lists of horror movies, the plot involves someone who kills disabled women in the small New England town. The new doctor in town has taken a special interest in a young mute woman who is the live-in companion of the rich bed-fast Mrs. Warren. This is a lesser-known film that deserves wider appreciation. The eerie music and thunderstorms add just the right touch in the right places.

I want a parlor palm as big as the ones everybody in this movie has!

It's directed by Robert Siodmak. He left Germany with the rise of the Nazis, using a faked birthplace of Memphis, TN, to get passage to Paris, though some believe the Mamphis claim to be true.

It stars:
Dorothy McGuire (whose career lasted from 1943-1990 and whose varied credits include A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, The Enchanted Cottage, Three Coins in the Fountain, Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson and The Greatest Story Ever Told);

George Brent (whose career lasted from 1929-1978);

Ethel Barrymore (whose storied career lasted from 1895-1957);

Elsa Lanchester (who career lasted from 1925-1980 and included roles in The Private Life of Henry VIII; Bride of Frankenstein; The Bishop's Wife; Bell, Book and Candle; Mary Poppins; and the Elvis movie Easy Come, Easy Go);

Rhys Williams;

and Rhonda Fleming.

via Daily Motion:

1000 Misspent Hours says it's "somewhat short on action, but it compensates by being reasonably suspenseful and by featuring a killer with an interesting psychological motivation." Images Journal says, "The Spiral Staircase evokes Hitchcock at his best." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 92%.


  1. A really good one. Triumph in the end when she speaks. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I did really like this. Perfect as a horror film for folks who don't like typical horror, I think.

  2. Oh crud. I couldn't get the thing to load. It just kept showing three dots horizontally across the screen. I reloaded and everything. I really wanted to see this, because I am a big fan of psychological thrillers. Maybe if I ever get a new computer!

    1. It took m a couple of times to get it to do right for me this morning, but it did finally start playing. Odd. I'm sorry. It may have been the site and not your computer at all.

  3. Nope! Tried again, refreshed and tried. Even went to the link where all three dots were blinking at the same time.

    1. Well, bummer! Maybe youtube would work better?