The Maze. 1953. USA. Directed by William Cameron Menzies. Screenplay by Daniel B. Ullman, from a novel by Maurice Sandoz. With Richard Carlson, Veronica Hurst, Katherine Emery. DCP. 80 min.
Known as Hollywood’s first and most famous production designer (Gone with the Wind), William Cameron Menzies was also a director with a taste for fantastic subjects and technical experimentation, as displayed in films like Things to Come (1936), Invaders from Mars (1953), and this compelling oddity made for the Poverty Row studio Allied Artists. The source, a 1945 novel by Maurice Sandoz, featured illustrations by Salvador Dalí that were originally intended to be used in the film version as well (much as Menzies had animated Dalí’s designs for the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound), but by the time the film was released Dalí had dropped out. 3-D stalwart Richard Carlson (It Came from Outer Space) stars as the young heir to a Scottish castle that contains an ancient secret.