The Secret of the Blue Room

1933

Baron Robert von Helldorf, (Atwill), relates to his weekend guests at his isolated castle home the sinister history of the "haunted" blue room where twenty years ago, three inexplicable deaths occurred at exactly one hour after midnight. Ever since that fateful night the room has been locked. Tommy, (Janney), proposes to spend a night in the room to impress Irene von Helldorf, (Stuart), but he mysteriously disappears. Other guests who stay in the room also disappear until Police Commissioner Forster, (Arnold), lays a trap for the assasin and exposes the culprit.

Universal's finest horror murder mystery due mostly to the good cast.This marked Lionel Atwill's first of twelve appearances for Universal horror films following his starring roles in Doctor X (1932) and Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933). Made for only $69 thousand and filmed on the sets used for The Old Dark House, this was Universal's cheapest film of the year.

Cast:
Paul Lukas .... Capt. Walter Brink
Gloria Stuart .... Irene von Helldorf
Lionel Atwill .... Robert von Helldorf
Edward Arnold .... Commissioner Forster
Robert Barrat .... Paul, the Butler
Onslow Stevens .... Frank Faber
William Janney .... Thomas Brandt
Muriel Kirkland .... Betty, the maid
Russell Hopton .... Max, the chauffeur
Elizabeth Patterson .... Mary, the cook
Anders Van Haden .... The Stranger
James Durkin .... Kruger

Gloria Stuart

Gloria Frances Stewart, a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, was born in Santa Monica, California, on July 4, 1910. She shortened her last name from "Stewart" to "Stuart" because she thought its six letters balanced perfectly on a theater's marquee with the six letters in "Gloria". She did some acting while in college at the University of California at Berkeley and later worked on stage in little theater productions. She was selected as one of the thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1932. Universal enticed the glamourous blond actress with the assurance of "big plans", but outside of her films for director James Whale (Old Dark House, The (1932), Invisible Man, The (1933) and Kiss Before the Mirror, The (1933)), that promise went unkept as the studio stuck her in a long series of unmemorable program pictures. Her career with Universal Studios failed to gain momentum and she moved to 20th Century Fox. By the end of the decade she had starred in more than forty films, including Roman Scandals (1933) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) but had not become a major star. She made a few films during the 1940s but had become more interested in working with the Screen Actors Guild, and in developing her talents as a painter. As an artist she became well respected with her work being exhibited throughout a series of one-woman shows in New York, Austria and Italy. After a thirty year break from acting, she appeared in the 1975 television movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden and over the next few years appeared regularly on television. She made her first cinema appearance in almost forty years when she appeared in My Favourite Year in 1982. Widowed since 1978 (her husband was screenwriter Arthur Sheekman ). Gloria was the oldest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as the 100-year-old survivor of the sinking of the Titanic (1997). She was the only cast member on the set of Titanic who was living at the time of the actual disaster. Titanic was her second film that featured a doomed ship. One of her early film, Here Comes the Navy, was filmed aboard the USS Arizona. She appeared in Hanson's music video "River" (1998) and was chosen by People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world that same year. Stuart found herself in demand after this and was constantly employed, with her most recent role being in a Murder, She Wrote TV movie in 2001.