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Directed by Charles Vidor

United States 1934 75 mins. In English

New Yorkers who flocked in the fall of 1933 to see Elizabeth McFadden’s play Double Door knew it was inspired by Manhattan’s Wendel family, a Gilded Age dynasty of fabulously wealthy eccentrics. What could be more gothic than seven sisters sequestered in a gloomy mansion, tainted by madness, forbidden to marry, presided over by an avaricious brother? DOUBLE DOOR is a dark riff on this legend, compressed into a three-act melodrama. The scion became a tyrannical spinster, holding in thrall a neurotic sister and a demoralized kid brother. When the brother makes a bid for sanity and freedom and takes a bride, the wheels of madness begin to turn.