Open Secret (1948)

“What kind of friends do you have?”

Open Secret is a dull little film that worries more about making a statement than fussing about such things as plot or character development. Based on an interesting idea, the film fails to come together, and the characters remain one-dimensional.

Newlyweds Paul (John Ireland) and Nancy Lester (Jane Randolph) are on their honeymoon when they decide to drop in and visit Ed, an old army friend of Paul’s. The plan is that they will stay for a few days, but when Paul and Nancy arrive, Ed is missing. At first, the Lesters just imagine he’s delayed, but then they become seriously alarmed and are soon become swept up in the ugliness of anti-Semitism.

Open Secret is one of those social-consciousness raising films that may or may not have worked at the time. Now it seems to be a hollow venture that listlessly hobbles towards its non-spectacular finale. The title–Open Secret–refers to the fact that everyone in the neighbourhood is a closet racist–everyone is part of a hate campaign, but no one talks about it. The newlyweds seem more like a couple of co-workers than a couple supposedly swept up in the throes of passion–there’s just no chemistry there. From director John Reinhardt.

My  Alpha DVD is a little dark for some of its interior scenes, and there’s a crackle sound in the background for most of the film.


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