Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Young innocent secretary Barbara Stanwyck goes to a bootleg drinking party on a yacht just outside the 7-mile limit with her boss's slimy son, Rod La Rocque. The yacht is raided just as La Rocque is forcing himself on Stanwyck; a photographer snaps a pic of the two, but La Rocque bribes him to get the photo. Eighteen months later, Stanwyck has married her new boss, William Boyd, and has a new upper-class life which is disturbed when she finds out that La Roque is back, and dating Boyd's beloved kid sister (Betty Bronson). When Stanwyck tells La Rocque to leave their family alone, he tells her he's planning on leaving for Hawaii with Bronson, and if anyone tries to squelch his plans, he'll show Boyd the incriminating photograph. Things come to a climax one night in La Rocque's fancy two-story hotel room to which all the principals arrive at one time or another; one person winds up dead, but two confess to the murder. The ending is satisfactory but relies on a ridiculous plot twist (the dead person is not quite dead yet) to wrap things up.

The title seemingly refers to two different doors: the one that La Rocque locks on the yacht and the locked hotel room door that figures prominently in the ending. Based on a play, Stanwyck's first talking picture is stagy but does incorporate some interesting camera moves, especially the opening, a long tracking shot in which the camera moves along a bar on the yacht as hordes of obnoxious rich people shout orders at the bartenders. Boyd, not the same actor who went on to fame as Hopalong Cassidy, is the weak link here; Stanwyck is fine and though La Rocque overplays his dastardly role a bit, it fits the character. Zasu Pitts has a small comic relief part as a telephone operator at the hotel. [TCM]

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