Genre: Mystery Director: George Fitzmaurice Writers: C. Gardner Sullivan based on the play “The Sign on the Door” by Channing Pollock Producers: George Fitzmaurice Cast: Rod La Rocque, Barbara Stanwyck, William ‘Stage’ Boyd, Betty Bronson Release Date: 16 November 1929 Synopsis: A woman once kidnapped by a wealthy womanizer tries to save her sister from him. Distributor: United Artists
As I have mentioned Barbara’s first film I thought that I would gradually go through them one by one, giving an honest review of each of them.
With a career that lasted so long there had to be a few stinkers along the way, but there were also some great films which displayed her amazing range and versatility.
Her first talkie, The Locked Door definitely comes under the stinker category, and she was always the first to say, “tbey never should’ve unlocked the damned thing!”
She later elaborated on that statement by saying, “Nobody trained me for the movies. In the theatre I had to reach the guys in the balcony and my arms and legs were stretched to accommodate the size of the stage. But on a small movie set my voice was shrill and my walk was awkward, I was lost. Who the hell was going to teach me the ropes in this dizzy town?”
It is fascinating to watch the stiff awkward newcomer in her first Hollywood film, this was far more Ruby Stevens from Brooklyn, than the glamorous, self assured star that she became. She still had to suffer another stinker before she was rescued by an up and coming director the following year.
Note: Ray’s Review features in this website courtesy of Ray Johnson, as published in britmovie.co.uk website’s forum legendary Barbara Stanwyck thread. Ray also manages the best forum on Barbara Stanwyck, Yahoo Groups’s Miss Barbara Stanwyck, click on the Forum menu item to be redirected.