Like dim, scattered memories of a luscious gothic romance, 1948's Corridor of Mirrors
spends its time trying to decide what it's about before trying to neatly tie things up with a totally insufficient twist. Director Terence Young's first film, it borrows imagery pretty heavily from Cocteau but has enough of its own creativity to provide some nice atmosphere. The screenplay co-written by its star, Edana Romney, seems more like there was a screenplay by someone else that she insisted be changed throughout production based on a series of different whims. The result partly feels like a cheap, and oddly chaste, romance novel and partly like a four year old's rambling synopsis of the movie she saw yesterday.
Romney plays Mifanwy, a young housewife with rambunctious children who steals away one day to see her secret lover in London, who turns out to be a wax sculpture of Eric Portman at Madame Tussauds. He's now memorialised as a famous killer but Mifonwy flashes back to when he was a man obsessed with 16th century Italy and her.
This is also Christopher Lee's first film; he appears briefly among Mifonwy's friends at the club where they first see Portman's character, Paul Mangin. After a lingering close-up on Mifonwy as he helps her get something out of her eye, he succeeds in convincing her to ride in his hansom cab home to his lavish, lonely manor.
He talks about wanting to charm her and she tells us in voice over narration that he became strange and angry whenever someone laughed at him. Soon he has her dressing in 16th century costumes and dialogue from her and a kitchen maid starts trying to convince us that he has her trapped in some kind of malevolent web of mind control, vaguely implying that she doesn't want
to dress up like it's the 16th century until she says, yes, after all, she did.
Portman gives a decent if not terribly animated performance. The film introduces the concept of reincarnation and then a motive to murder which is completely forgotten when a separate, false motive is introduced to exonerate one of the potential murderers at the end of the film. Somehow. Don't look for logic or consistency here unless its consistent admiration for Edana Romney's personality and beauty. Well, she is beautiful.