Experiment Perilous

Synopsis: In 1903, Dr. Bailey meets a very strange woman on a train, then hears that she has died under mysterious circumstances. Through a friend, he becomes acquainted with the Bederaux family, all of whom seem to be neurotic and secretive; but the beauty of Alida Bederaux draws him into their circle...deeper than he'd planned. Who's in danger from whom? Who's crazy? Who can fathom the obscure motivations?
Director(s): Jacques Tourneur
Production: RKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min

I remember clearly

Everything that

happened that night.

For that was when it started

Innocently enough,

on an eastbound train.

It was in the early spring

of 1903 to be exact.

And the train was plowing

through a heavy storm.

I had been napping, and I awoke

to find her watching me.

Smiling, a birdlike

sort of little woman.

But behind that smile,

I thought I could see

Something of terror

in her eyes.

She was badly frightened

by the storm

And she asked me

if she could sit by me.

She said it would

make her feel safer.

I reassured her to

the best of my ability

And wondered vaguely

if she were mentally ill.

I found out later that

she was nothing of the sort.

But now, she seemed

to read my thoughts.

Why, you're a doctor,

aren't you?

How did you know?

Oh, I know a lot

about doctors.

There's something

I like about them all.

The fat ones, and the thin

ones, and the homely ones.

And the good-looking ones.

It's as if they were looking

at something beneath the flesh.

Something that

does not change.

As grim as that, eh?

Oh, not grim exactly,

it's rather grave, that's all.

We're lucky

we're not out in it.

Oh dear, I do hope

I'm not going to be killed.

You see, no one

knows I'm here.

I've practically run away.

And I've simply

got to be home for tea.

It will be a little rough

But there's no cause

for worry.

When and where is your tea?

New York. Sunday.


You see, it's

Allida's birthday.

Nick's wife.

He's my brother.

Allida is so sweet.

Have you been away long?

Frightfully long.

Five years.

- Are you from New York too?

- Yeah.

Isn't it ridiculous

to stay away so long?

Of course, they thought

there was something wrong

With my heart.

But Dr. Hatch

Well, he was the doctor

at the sanatorium

Said that was nonsense.

Oh! It's getting bad,

isn't it?

We'll be through the worst

in a few minutes.

It's alright now.

It'll be fine from here on.

- Oh, you've been so kind.

- Oh, nonsense.

Now, I won't take up

any more of your time.

Will I see you tomorrow,

for lunch at least?

- Of course.

- You are kind.

And so, with

this chance meeting

Began for me,

the strangest days of my life.

Come in.

A note, sir,

from a lady.

Oh, thank you.

- Oh, is it almost 2:00?

- Yes, sir.

Thank you, sir.

Oh, good afternoon, sir.

Oh, I was afraid

you'd forgotten.

Oh, no. Only the time.

I ordered for you.

Otherwise, you would've

had to wait.

I hope you like steak.

Most men do.

Steak's safe. At least they

can't serve it with mayonnaise.

And do you like tea?

I carry my own.

Oh, yes.

I think there's nothing

so friendly as tea.

And this is Nick's

smoky souchong.

He imports it specially.

You'll see.


Tell me, really. Were you

as calm as you appeared to be

Last night during the storm?

Probably not.

A man has to pretend

that sort of thing.

I can usually tell

when people are frightened.

Nick was a very

high strung child.

And I practically

brought him up.

- Will you have sugar?

- Oh, no, thank you.

Oh, you are nice.

Sugar would spoil it.

And then, of course,

Allida was a mere child

When Nick married her.

So you might say

I brought her up too.

Oh, such a child.

Nick was years older.

Dear Allida.

Oh, she's so beautiful.

I'm writing

a biography for her.

A biography of Allida?

Oh, dear, no.

Of Nick, for my diary.

But Nick must never know

I've written a diary.

Dr. Hatch suggested I call it

"The Life and Times

of Nicholas Bederaux. "

Oh, so you are

Miss Bederaux?

- Didn't you know that?

- How should I?

And you don't know Nick?

Oh, I've heard

of him, of course.

Well, that makes it perfect.

You know, I've never had

any friends of my own before.

They were always

Nick's friends first.

But now, everything

is going to be different.

If you don't mind my asking,

how do you mean different?

Well, I've decided I'm coming

back to live on my own now.

I'm not going

to live in our house.

'I'm not even going to spend

a single night there. '

Oh, I would like to ask you

about the hotels.

Not the big ones,

but a quiet, nice hotel.

- Do you know?

- I live in that sort of hotel.

Although, I'm sure that...

Oh, why, that's

too good to be true.

And if you don't mind

I'd like to send

my luggage there with yours.

And you can come home

with me, meet Nick and Allida.

Oh, no, that's very kind of you,

but I have an engagement.

I'm sorry.

But you will see

about the luggage?

Yes, if you wish.

And then, you can meet

Nick some other time.

I can't believe

you don't know him.

No, I think I read something

about him a long time ago.

An article

in "The Manhattan. "

Things he did for people

And something about

the house on Murray Hill.

Miss Bederaux.

Oh, I'm...

I'm sorry.

I guess it was just

the excitement last night.

Oh, here they are.

If you just drop

them at the hotel.

And that one,

and that. There.

There are only five.

Now, which are yours?

These two.

Oh, if you only knew

how excited I am.

Isn't it fun?

I'll be grateful for this

all the rest of my life.

Well, I'll see you

to a carriage.

No, no, no.

I insist, I can manage.

- Goodbye.

- Bye.

And I shall see you again.

- Good evening, doctor.

- Hello.

Hunt, shine my halo.

I did get you here.

You didn't. It was

that young guest of yours.

Well, I have a power

over you, haven't I?

Hello, Elaine. What's the point

of the party? I forgot.

Come on, I'll show you.

- Good evening, Dr. Bailey.

- Good evening.

- Hello, Hunt.

- How are you?

There. Isn't it tremendous?

Get the power and strength.

Can almost see her

straining to move.

What is it?

What is it? Woman.

Woman incarnate.

It's far and away

the best thing I've ever done.

Look at the effect.

Well, the whole thing

is an absolute masterpiece.

- Modest, isn't he?

- You really like it?

- Not much.

- Why should you?

What do you

know, you mental inquisitor.

Elaine, you're

wasting your time.

- You think so?

- I do.

He looks into the eyes

of a beautiful woman

And the only thing he sees

is an inflamed cornea.

I'm only joking, Clag.

It's really very good.

Then, at last, I can

consider myself a success.

- Say, Clag.

- Hm.

Come here.

I want to talk to you.

Serpents in their hair, eh?

I'm afraid that's

how Clag sees us.

Would you like me

to get you a drink?

Oh, thank you.

'She said she was chilly. '

'And Allida poured

her second cup of tea. '

'I was sitting

right next to her. '

'And she didn't seem to be

able to hold the cup. '

'Nick spoke to her sharply. '

'And then everything

happened at once. '

'Allida jumped up, and the

flowers fell off her lap. '

She took one arm,

and Nick took the other.

I said,

"Shall I call a doctor?"

And Nick said, "Nonsense. She

has had these attacks before. "

- What's this?

- Oh, do you know each other?

John Maitland,

Huntington Bailey.

How are you?

I was just speaking of the death

of Bederaux's sister.

- Death?

- 'Yes, this afternoon at tea. '

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Warren Duff

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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