Well I went into this in my usual innocent way completely oblivious to the plot. There I was thinking that maybe the title The Third Secret was somehow contected to Nazi’s and the Third Reich, kind of like a spy hunt for war criminals. Yep it had absolutely nothing to do with that I quickly find out. What does transpire though is a neat little bizarre thriller with psychological mystery buried deep inside.
Tagline – The Story of a Man Searching for a Killer Who Might Be Himself!
When the brilliant psychoanalyst Dr. Leo Whitset is found dying, his last words he mutters are “Blame no one but me” leaving the verdict of his death to be rendered, death by suicide. A verdict which plays on the mind of one of his patients, an American news reporter called Alex Stedman (Stephen Boyd) working and living in the UK. Alex has his problems but the good doctor and his therapy sessions had worked wonders. Alex decides to pay the doctor surgery a visit to see if he can fathom what could of happened to the doc.
Alex discovers he’s not the only one receiving treatment, in fact three more names where on the register. Top judge Sir Frederick Belline (Jack Hawkins), gallery owner Alfred Price-Gorham (Richard Attenborough) and a beautiful but lonely secretary called Anne Tanner (Diane Cilento). All three suffer from differing bouts of mental disorders, depression, stress, schizophrenia. Could one of these three be capable of murder? With the help of the doctors young inquisitive daughter, Catherine (Pamela Franklin) assisting as much as she can, these two fledgling detectives try to unravel the mystery.
This mystery thriller at times plays out with a dreamlike surreal undertone within it’s story. It’s a film filled with broken people, hiding behind their fears, thinking faces, paranoid and desperate. Innocent at times, suppressing dark secrets at others, which ever they may be, it’s driving the patients slowly insane without their loving doctor to help them.
“A neurotic knows who he is, what he is. He’s disturbed, yes, most people are. But he’s not a psychotic. A psychotic is a person who is suffering a major illness…. unlike the neurotic, whose ability to judge reality is impaired.”
There’s lots to love in this film, none more than Pamela Franklin’s magnificent performance as the young girl coming to terms with lose. There’s moments in the dialogue that go off in a deep meaningful conversation and are bizarrely worded like some kind of Shakespeare-esque play, that probably isn’t the analogy for it but I’m sure you will now what I mean when you hear it. Stephen Boyd gets to have a right freakout session in one crazy scene and there’s a few faces to spot, Judi Dench has a small part in this her debut film. Wallace and Gromits very own Peter Sallis has some screen time too. Oh and it’s directed by Charles Crichton who made the Ealing Studios classic The Lavender Hill Mob and I’ve just found out that his last film was the simply brilliant comedy A Fish Called Wanda.
As always I seem to get more drawn into films with mental illness or controversy centred in their core theme, not sure what that says about me! I guess I just like something different and the shocking nature, if played out with heart, can make a film very unique and original. Yes it might have dark themes within it’s story, depressing and bleak but there are also some genuine sweet and touching moments to be had. It’s a superb gem of a movie and if it sounds like something you might like, give it a go and pop on back and let me know what you thought. Or if you’ve seen it, what did you think? Please try and keep spoilers to bare minimum if you can.
Thanks for reading my scribbles. Keep finding awesome movies and having fun. All the best… Mike Wolf