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Experiment Perilous

Experiment Perilous
Experiment Perilous 1944 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Produced by Warren Duff
Screenplay by Warren Duff
Based on the novel
by Margaret Carpenter
Starring Hedy Lamarr
George Brent
Paul Lukas
Albert Dekker
Carl Esmond
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by RKO Pictures
Release date
  • December 29, 1944 (1944-12-29) (U.S.)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Experiment Perilous is a 1944 melodrama set at the turn of the 20th century. The film is based on a 1943 novel by Margaret Carpenter and directed by Jacques Tourneur. Albert S. D'Agostino, Jack Okey, Darrell Silvera, and Claude E. Carpenter were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White.Hedy Lamarr's singing voice was dubbed by Paula Raymond.

The story takes place in 1903. During a train trip, psychiatrist Dr. Huntington Bailey (George Brent) meets a friendly older lady (Olive Blakeney). She tells him that she is going to visit her brother Nick and his lovely young wife Allida. Once in New York, Bailey hears that his train companion suddenly died. Shortly afterward, he meets the strange couple and becomes suspicious of Nick's treatment of his wife. Nick (Paul Lukas) keeps Allida (Hedy Lamarr), whom he is trying to pass off as crazy, a virtual prisoner in their London town house [a New York brownstone in the film], cutting off all contact with the outside world. The kindly Bailey takes it upon himself to attempt to free his new love Allida from the control of the insanely jealous Nick.

A frenzied gun battle and fist fight in their home, featuring the destruction of several large aquariums, replete with shattered glass, gushing water and floundering fish may be the most memorable (and most often imitated) scene in the film.

The production dates for the film were July 12 through early October 1944.

According to pre-production news items in The Hollywood Reporter, this film was originally to be produced by David Hempstead and star Cary Grant. After Hempstead terminated his contract with RKO, Grant dropped out of the project and Robert Fellows was assigned to produce it. Gregory Peck was then slated to star in the male lead, but a prior commitment to David O. Selznick productions forced him to bow out.

  • December 29, 1944 (1944-12-29) (U.S.)


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