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The Moviegoer

"Ecstasy" A Film of Direct Beauty and Power Though Badly Handled By the Censors

By S. M. R.

Press releases for "The Strange Door" claim that it was adapted from a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. I, for one, don't believe it. Nobody could have hashed together this melange of 17th century torture chambers, spooky castles, and paranoid noblemen except Universal-International, looking for another vehicle for Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff.

It is practically impossible to give a coherent account of what this picture is about. It appears that the most psychopathic of the abounding royalty (Laughton) has a grudge against the members of one side of his family; Karloff, on the other hand, likes them. He therefore tosses Laughton into a water wheel which is about to crush en masse the only admirable characters in the film. Laughton clogs the wheel, and all is well.

Exactly which door is supposed to be the strange one is hard to fathom; probably it is the one in the RKO Boston, which assuredly has occult powers if it lures anyone in from the peace and quiet of Washington Street.

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