The Spiral Staircase

The Spiral Staircase

Robert Siodmak (1946)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Thought-provoking and disturbing, this masterly thriller is directed with touches of sheer genius by Robert Siodmak, who beckons us into a voyeuristic nightmare with taut, creeping camerawork that makes the hair on your neck stand up. However, while this is undoubtedly a classic of 1940s Hollywood Gothic, the movie treads a fine line between acceptable menace and uncomfortable sadism with its story of a serial killer murdering maimed and disabled women. That said, it remains a masterwork, with a fine central performance from Dorothy McGuire as the mute heroine.


A psychopath holds an early 20th-century New England town in his thrall with the serial killings of disabled girls. Meanwhile, a naive mute woman caring for an elderly invalid in an isolated mansion is warned to leave the house because she will be the killer's next target. Period thriller, with Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith and Elsa Lanchester.

Cast & Crew

Helen Capel Dorothy McGuire
Professor Warren George Brent
Mrs Warren Ethel Barrymore
Dr Parry Kent Smith
Blanche Rhonda Fleming
Steve Warren Gordon Oliver
Mrs Oates Elsa Lanchester
Nurse Barker Sara Allgood
Constable James Bell
Desk clerk Charles Wagenheim
Dr Harvey Erville Alderson
Mr Oates Rhys Williams
Director Robert Siodmak
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video and DVD