The Spiral Staircase

The Spiral Staircase

Director: Robert Siodmak Cast: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore

DVD (Subtitled)

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Overview

The wonderfully suspenseful psychological drama Spiral Staircase is the prototype of the "old dark house, lady in distress" thriller, full of dark corners, flickering candles and featuring a mysterious, menacing killer whose true identity remains hidden until the end. Helen Capel (Dorothy McGuire), mute because of a childhood trauma, cares for the owner of the house, the wealthy Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore), a demanding, widowed invalid. Helen has quietly fallen in love with one of Mrs. Warren's sons, Dr. Parry (Kent Smith), who she believes to be a gentle and understanding man. Helen's peaceful life is changed forever when three local women, all with physical handicaps, are found murdered. The movie builds to a suspenseful conclusion as Helen finds herself in the midst of a life-and-death battle in the house, as the true identity of the murderer is revealed. Dorothy McGuire is exquisite as the innocent, sweet Helen and gives a totally convincing performance in the difficult role. She uses her expressive face to perfectly convey Helen's emotions, fear and ultimate bravery. Ethel Barrymore won an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Mrs. Warren and plays the difficult "Grande Dame" with great relish. Director Robert Siodmak, noted for his stylish direction of atmospheric suspense films, uses all his plot devices with great skill and craftsmanship, increasing the suspense and sense of foreboding as Helen is observed through the eyes of her stalker, who the audience sees only as a pair of menacing eyes.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/02/2018
UPC: 0738329215255
Original Release: 1946
Rating: NR
Source: Kl Studio Classics
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:23:00
Sales rank: 2,787

Special Features

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Imagen Sara Smith; 1945 Screen Director's Playhouse Radio Broadcast of "The Spiral Staircase" with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Siodmak ; Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dorothy McGuire Helen Capel
George Brent Prof. Warren
Ethel Barrymore Mrs. Warren
Kent Smith Dr. Parry
Rhonda Fleming Blanche
Gordon Oliver Steve Warren
Elsa Lanchester Mrs. Oates
Sara Allgood Nurse Barker
Rhys Williams Mr. Oates
James Bell Constable
Erville Alderson Dr. Harvey
Myrna Dell Murder Victim
Richard Tyler Freddie
Charles Wagenheim Desk Clerk
Ellen Corby Neighbor

Technical Credits
Robert Siodmak Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
John L. Cass Sound/Sound Designer
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Mel Dinelli Screenwriter
Harry Gerstad Editor
Terry Kellum Sound/Sound Designer
Harry Marker Editor
Nick Musuraca Cinematographer
Jack Okey Art Director
Dore Schary Producer
Harry Scott Asst. Director
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Spiral Staircase
255. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [7:53]
2. Chapter 2 [10:33]
3. Chapter 3 [8:59]
4. Chapter 4 [13:21]
5. Chapter 5 [9:36]
6. Chapter 6 [10:25]
7. Chapter 7 [12:55]
8. Chapter 8 [9:47]
9. Chapter 9 [:00]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [30:00]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [1:59]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [2:31]
2. Chapter 2 [:01]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [2:15]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [2:44]
0. Chapters
1. Chapter 1 [2:43]

Customer Reviews

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The Spiral Staircase 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know it's an older thriller, but it really is a good movie. I thought Dorothy McGuire was so good in this, especially since she wasn't able to speak due to a great shock early in her life. Her expressions and mannerisms speak volumes. I believe this is a great addition to any movie library. I was very sad that, when Dorothy McGuire died in 2002, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, at the time of the Oscars, made no mention of her name and passing. I was even more upset when I found out they didn't forget, they just didn't have "enough time to make mention of it.." That is sad. They mentioned other stars whose trajectory of films was not nearly as long as hers...There are some of us who do remember her foundly...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film seems decades ahead of its time. It features many of the tropes and themes that later thriller directors like Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and John Carpenter would popularize in the 70s. Wonderful performances all around, particularly from horror vets Elsa Lancaster (the Bride of Frankenstein) and Kent Morris (Cat People). A great, if little seen, film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like great film noire shadows, this is a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago