Summer of Forgotten Horror – Week 2: Double Door (1934)
Cast: Mary Morris as Victoria Van Brett
Evelyn Venable as Anne Darrow
Kent Taylor as Rip Van Brett
Anne Revere as Caroline Van Brett
Colin Tapley as Dr. John Lucas
Based on the play written by Elizabeth McFadden
Written by Jack Cunningham & Gladys Lehman
Directed by Charles Vidor
Plot: Rip Van Brett is set to marry the young and lovely Anne Darrow despite the disapproval of his sister, Victoria Van Brett. Victoria does not think Anne is worthy of her incredibly wealthy family and begins a plot to ruin their marriage. There is a big mansion, secret passages and hidden rooms lurking in the dark while murder is on the mind of a disturbed and greedy individual.
This is an absolutely fun and entertaining flick. Made by Paramount Pictures in 1934 and licensed to Universal, it has never been released commercially on any type of home media format. It’s based on a popular stage play that ran for over 140 performances at the Ritz Theater in New York. Lacking a good soundtrack, the film does comes across as a bit melodramatic at times, but there are some truly horrific moments towards the climax. Mary Morris is absolutely evil, being billed as the female Frankenstein of Fifth Avenue. There are even some implications of possible incest between Rip and Victoria, taboo even in the pre-code era. Definitely worth the effort to track this one down.
- The only film for actress Mary Morris. She had an impressive stage career, including originating the role of Victoria Van Brett in the stage play.
- The film debut of Anne Revere, who also starred alongside Boris Karloff in The Devil Commands (1941) and Vincent Price in Dragonwyck (1946).
- Director Charles Vidor was uncredited for his work on The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932).
- Never released commercially, it was available as a DVD-R from Creepy Classics. However, I don’t see it currently listed but you might reach out to them and see if they plan on offering it again soon. The print is good considering its age and well worth adding to your collection.