11 May 2006 | RanchoTuVu
dark society drama
Atmospheric account of a chance meeting on a train that leads a doctor (George Brent) into the strange world of a young woman (Hedy Lamar) and her much older husband (Paul Lukas) . The opening takes place on a night time train ride to New York through cascading rainfall, and the inclement weather conditions continue on into a snowy and cloudy New York of the early 1900's. A story of a rich and jealous older husband with a lovely young wife, whom he had groomed in Parisian salons to enter society, and now feels insecure when she's enjoying the very society that he paid thousands of dollars to educate her to be in, who grew up in Austria and became laden with guilt and who now is so damaged that he can't see clearly enough to recognize his own good circumstances, and thus ruins everything. Director Jacques Tourneur dissects this pathological family (they have a son whom they keep in a bedroom which is up a spiral staircase) with great attention, creating some believable menace in true psychological suspense style. The need for a hero figure (Brent) to rescue the pretty Lamar and her innocent young son and provide a suitable conclusion, and Lamar's rather distracted and distant acting style are legitimate quibbles, but the overall tone is intelligently dark and serious.