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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

THE DOOR WITH SEVEN LOCKS


THE DOOR WITH SEVEN LOCKS (1940). Director: Norman Lee.

June Lansdowne (Lilli Palmer) gets involved with a private dick (Romilly Lunge) after she encounters a puzzling mystery in a sanitarium: a man she's speaking to is murdered and then his body disappears. It all has to do with a shadowy estate, a vault, and a door with seven locks -- and seven keys, one of which June possesses. Leslie Banks of (the far superior) The Most Dangerous Game plays Dr. Manetta, who lives on the estate, has a gallery of ancient torture instruments, and says he is a descendant of the notorious leader of the Spanish Inquisition. There's also a monkey named Beppo roaming about. Although this mystery (which isn't hard to solve) from an Edgar Wallace novel shows promise at the opening, it's slow, boring and mostly uneventful. The torture devices, including a variation on an iron maiden, don't figure in the plot until very briefly at the end. You keep hoping this will get better but it never does.

Verdict: Dull skulduggery. *1/2.

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