Wednesday, May 29, 2002


Given my advanced age ;-) and propensity to read movie reference books cover to cover, rarely do I run across a film I've never heard of at all. But I did the other day. Our library had a British film called CORRIDOR OF MIRRORS. The video box indicated it was a horror movie inspired by Cocteau. Actually, it was like a "Twilight Zone" version of VERTIGO. It was shot in a self-consciously arty manner, but the only real Cocteau style I could find was a scene in a long hall of mirrors (hence the title) that was lit and shot like the corridor scene in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Eric Portman plays a rich and eccentric art collector living in a huge, gloomy house in the middle of London, surrounded by art, decor, and clothes of the past. He feels that he was born in the wrong time and should have lived hundreds of years ago. He strikes up a friendship with Edana Romney because she closely resembles a woman in a 400-year-old painting. Slowly, as in VERTIGO, he attempts to make her over into that woman. At first, it's something of a lark to her (her character isn't developed very well, so she remains a cipher to us, which hurts the plot a bit), but soon she feels smothered by his attentions. She also comes to believe that she is just the latest in a long line of women he has done this to. There is jealousy, murder, and sacrifice along the way. The atmosphere is the strongest element here, with everything kept on the creepy and fantastic side, though ultimately it's more Hitchcock than ghost story. Portman is good; he occasionally sounds like Claude Rains. I had heard of him but never seen him until this movie; oddly, he's in another movie I have out now from the library, 49TH PARALLEL. Romney isn't a strong actress (she wrote the film and only appeared in two other movies), but she is striking looking. Character development all around could have been better, but it's still worth seeing. It's not Cocteau, but it does have an interesting style.

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