THE HIDDEN ROOM
OBSESSION
1949, Eagle-Lion Films, 96 min, UK, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

British psychologist Clive Riordan (Robert Newton), fed up with his wife’s philandering, makes her latest lover disappear in a deviously devised “perfect crime.” Made in England by the blacklisted Edward Dmytryk, THE HIDDEN ROOM is an unjustly neglected masterpiece, packed with wit and suspense, anchored by Robert Newton’s brilliant and subtle performance as the vengeful cuckold. Costarring Sally Gray and Phil Brown.


OLIVER TWIST (1948)
1948, Park Circus/MGM, 116 min, UK, Dir: David Lean

A startlingly real, atmospheric evocation of childhood terrors and the evils of poverty. Innocent orphan Oliver (John Howard Davies) is shanghaied into a gang of child thieves by blackguard Bill Sykes (a particularly chilling Robert Newton). Alec Guinness’ masterful, almost unrecognizable performance as the Jewish kingpin of boy thieves, Fagin, led to unexpected problems when the film was denounced as anti-Semitic by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; in Berlin, rioters tore the theater apart where the film was shown, and its release was delayed for three years in the U.S. to let tensions ease. “OLIVER TWIST moves forward in staccato bursts, propelled by coiling tensions and by outbursts of sudden, brutish violence. … This is possibly David Lean’s wildest movie, certainly his darkest and arguably his best.” -Al McKee, Film Comment.


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