"A superb thriller" -Leonard Maltin
The Spiral Staircase appears on several all-time favorite lists as one of the finest screen chillers ever made. From a novel by Ethel Lina White, this eerie, old-house tale was masterfully directed by Robert Siodmak who created such other hits as Phantom Lady, The Suspect and The Killers. Mood and atmosphere have never been so brilliantly created for the sole purpose of terrifying an audience.
Helen Capel (Dorothy McGuire), a sweet girl who hasn't spoken a word since a childhood shock, works as a servant to ailing Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore), who presides from her sickbed over a New England household. Living in the house are her stepson, Professor Warren (George Brent), her reckless son Steven (Gordon Oliver), the professor's secretary (Rhonda Fleming) and three other servants. Helen's best friend is the family doctor, Dr. Parry (Kent Smith), who has fallen in love with her. Small town life seems quite normal until everyone is suddenly alarmed by a series of bizarre murders. All the victims were disabled in some way, and Mrs. Warren and Dr. Parry fear for Helen's life because of her inability to speak. Will Helen's handicap make her the next victim, or will her courage prove to be too much for the killer?