The Door in the Wall (1956)

March 23rd, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Glenn H. Alvey Jr | | Sci-fi Drama

The cinema has employed the split screen almost since the dawn of the medium, and like devices such as irises became regarded as moribund with the introduction of sound, becoming trendy again with the nouvelle vague.

Based on a story by H. G. Wells, visual antecedents to ‘The Door in the War’ are contained in the portmanteau film ‘Dead of Night’ – which also used Wells as a source – and the Technicolor scenes depicting the garden in the otherwise monochrome ‘The Secret Garden’; while Ingmar Bergman was soon to recreate the effect in ‘Wild Strawberries’ to illustrate the longing to renter the past, and a similar mood later infused the 1960 ‘Twilight Zone’ episode ‘A Stop at Willoughby’.

As for the Independent Frame itself, it grows on you as it progresses, with the use of colour on the whole quite retrained – as in the subtle verdigris hue employed to highlight the titular door – but it heightens the impact of the exotic birds, the diaphanous green of the lady in the garden and by default the black & white photographs in a family album; and as in 3D the overall distraction is amply compensated for by the visual impact of the moments when it really comes off.

The film also recalls Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’ in the laconic way the changes in the framing is achieved. @RichardChatten


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