Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, August 22, 2008


THE LOCKED DOOR (1929). Director: George Fitzmaurice.
This was Barbara Stanwyck's second film and first sound picture. It's easy to see why she became a big star, because even in this somewhat creaky movie she manages to give a strong and effective performance, and contrary to some reports, does not play it in a "hammy" silent style at all. Ann Carter's (Stanwyck) young sister-in-law, Helen (Betty Bronson, who is rather hammy), has become involved with a slimy character, Frank Devereaux (Rod La Rocque), who once tried to slap the make on Ann (who seems to think that knowledge of this would make her seem like a fallen woman or something!). Lawrence (William "Stage" Boyd, whose last screen credit was the serial The Lost City) -- Ann's husband and Helen's brother -- confronts Devereaux with melodramatic but more or less happy results. Boyd and La Rocque aren't bad at all.
Verdict: This mostly tiresome timewaster is of interest primarily because of Stanwyck's appearance.

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