Cast and Crew: Robert Siodmak (Director); George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith, Elsa Lanchester, Rhys Williams
What It’s About: A serial killer who preys on those he deems “weak”-those with disabilities or disfigurements. Helen Chapel (Dorothy McGuire) is a maid who works for a rich family in a large old house. She is unable to talk due to the psychological trauma of seeing her parents die in a fire, and thus an obvious next target for the killer. When a massive storm strands Helen and her employers in their home, can Helen overcome her trauma and and will she survive?
Why Watch it Today?: The American Disabilities Act was signed today in 1990. The Spiral Staircase is a solid entry in the 1940s sub-genre of thrillers with a strong dramatic bent focusing on women in trouble (other examples include Gaslight and Sorry, Wrong Number).