A quasi-gothic horror film centered around a mute servant girl who must re-experience trauma in order to speak again. Notable for its pre-Psycho, voyeuristic killer who singles out women with 'deformities'; as well as a comic performance by Elsa Lanchester, the great Bride of Frankenstein herself.
It's obvious that the psychological tinge of the film is an embellishing afterthought, some layer-adding paneling, but its acute parental imbroglios (the circumstances of Helen's losing voice, A.Warren's methodical weakling removal) make the staircase almost an image of a strangling, looped & delayed nuchal cord. Someone had to finally do the clamping. Btw, the original working title was The Silence of Helen McCord.
Despite its reputation as a suspense classic, I just could never get into this one. It's well-shot with great black and white photography, and some strong work from its cast. But it spends too much time on melodramatic romantic subplots, so that the thriller aspects are never quite developed enough, though the climactic sequence is impressive. Not a bad film, but I personally can't consider it the classic many do.