This week’s film noir is 1949’s British film “Obsession,” released in the U.S. under the title “The Hidden Room,” starring Robert Newton (Dr. Clive Riordan), Phil Brown (Bill Kronin), Sally Gray (Storm Riordan), Naunton Wayne (Supt. Finsbury), James Harcourt (Aitkin, the mostly deaf butler), and Monty the dog (Monty). Directed by Edward Dmytryk; cinematography by C. M. Pennington-Richards. Produced by N. A. Bronsten and Kenneth Horne for Independent Sovereign Films; distributed by General Film Distributors. Music by Nino Rota. Screenplay by Alec Coppel, based on his play and novel “A Man About a Dog.” Run time is 96 minutes.
Both director Edward Dmytryk and Phil Brown were Americans who’d left the country after getting crossways with HUAC (the House Un-American Activities Committee). You might recognize Naunton Wayne from his stints playing an obsessed cricket fan (along with sidekick Basil Radford) in films such as Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes.”
If you’re interested, you can watch the film here.
Psychiatrist Dr. Clive Riordan has grown weary of the wayward wiles of his wife Storm and decides the next time she strays, he’s going to deal with the situation on his own terms. And as it happens at the opening of the film, she’s already found herself a new playmate, American Bill Kronin. So Riordan, who’s supposed to be on holiday, lies in wait for his wife’s return one late night. It doesn’t take long before she and her date arrive at the Riordan home.
Riordan abducts Kronin and holds him hostage in a hidden set of rooms under a bombed-out building in London, waiting for the story of the missing American to die down before he finally seeks his ultimate revenge.
We don’t see Monty until about 20 minutes into the story, and he tends to steal his scenes. 😀
I enjoyed this one, it was a well-done production, well-acted and it had good pacing throughout. It earns 4 out of 5 unfiltered cigarette puffs.