The opening of The Secret Beyond the Door promises a most unusual and intriguing cinematic experience. It's a strangely engrossing dream sequence that's beautifully shot and seems to indicate that Secret will be an illuminating psychological excursion. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to that promise; while director Fritz Lang and cinematographer Stanley Cortez continue to present a film that is visually stunning, the weak, contrived, and unresolved screenplay keeps the film from being the special creation that it could have been. The script's biggest flaws are, unfortunately, considerable: there are too many echoes of Rebecca and Suspicion, it doesn't make credible the heroine's devotion to her husband and decision to stay with him even at the risk of her own life, the husband's failings are not all explained away by the explanation of his psychological problems, and the pop psychology used herein is dated and laughable. The writing does have some saving graces, including some good dialogue interchanges and several supporting characters who are nicely drawn. While these don't outweigh the flaws, Lang, Cortez, and such other assets as the cast and Miklos Rozsa's atmospheric score do. Michael Redgrave is very convincing as the husband, and Joan Bennett works so hard to make up for the shortcomings in her character's execution that one is willing to forgive the film a great deal. Bennett is impressive throughout, taking full advantage of the "big emotion" scenes in the latter part of the film; but pay special attention to her quieter work, especially in the beginning. The erotic charge she feels during the street fight scene and the way in which she works with Redgrave prior to their wedding deserve note. If Secret disappoints, it still has much in it worth recommending.