The Secret Room (1915)

A scientist tries to transfer the personality of a man into his mentally retarded son.


Tom Moore




Cast overview:
Tom Moore ... Dr. Wayne
Ethel Clifton Ethel Clifton ... Mrs. Wayne
Robert Ellis ... Buford - the Derelict
Marguerite Courtot ... Edna - the Doctor's Niece
Betty K. Peterson Betty K. Peterson ... The Doctor's Child
Robert Paton Gibbs Robert Paton Gibbs ... The Hindu Servant (as Paton Gibbs)


Dr. Wayne's mind becomes slightly imbalanced due to his study of the occult. One evening, while in the park, he sees a derelict named Buford attempting suicide. Wayne stops him and offers him a bargain. He gives Buford enough money to live high for three months. But at the end of the three months, Buford's body and soul will belong to Wayne. After three months have passed, Buford goes to Wayne's home. Wayne learns that the cause of Buford's problems was an unrequited love. The next day, Wayne's niece Edna arrives for a visit. Wayne discovers that it was she who had rejected Buford. Edna and Buford are puzzled by a room which Wayne always keeps locked. Eventually Wayne informs Buford that his son, who is mentally challenged, lives in the locked room. Wayne believes he can use Buford's soul to cure his son's brain. Wayne places Buford into a hypnotic trance, then enters his son's room to prepare for the experiment. But Wayne discovers his son on the floor, dead. The shock restores Wayne... Written by scsu1975

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama | Sci-Fi







Release Date:

22 February 1915 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kalem Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

No one will call it dead or flat or sloppy
23 September 2019 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

Never was a happy ending more welcome than in this picture by the Kalem Company, "The Secret Room." It is one that demanded some relief at the close; for it builds up a veritable nightmare and would have been almost insufferable if one couldn't wake ud from it, insufferable from sheer horror. "The hardened reviewer" has no shield to protect his nerves from such a theme as is pictured here. He is only hardened to often repeated themes, like the public to a new song growing old; a new theme such as this will get as effectively under his skin as any normal man's. People have thought up situations of terror before this and even put them into pictures, psychological, devilish situations that were born on some blasted heath where the soul loses its grip and becomes the naked prey of dominions, but in this picture the showing is made real. We have seen only three or four other film offerings portraying horror that were as effective. When the spectator sees it he will know whether he has strong nerves or not. If some spectator happens to be blue and dyspeptic it may be to him like some "hysterico passio," some King Lear's "climbing sorrow" for a while. No one will call it dead or flat or sloppy or any other of the names disgruntled spectators have abundant store of to give the worried exhibitor. As a nerve-thriller, it wins with both feet. The author of the script new or classic is not given; but Tom Moore produced it and plays the Mephistopheles role as a doctor learned in Eastern lore. The honors for acting go to Ethel Clifton as his wife, although every one of the entire cast plays ably and in first-class professional style. Robert Ellis plays a derelict whom the doctor buys. The man was about to commit suicide on account of a girl and the doctor wants to use his life and promises to give him a good time for a few weeks. The doctor's house is fitted up in Oriental style; he has a Hindoo servant (Paton Gibbs) and his wife has a great unexplained sorrow. There is a mysterious room in the house. The wife's niece, Marguerite Courtot, comes on a visit and wonders what is in the closed room. The ''time" of the bought derelict is now up and he comes to the house. We soon see that the girl was once his sweetheart and that it was for her that he was about to commit self-destruction. But they now make up; the man for the moment forgetting that he is sold. Now we find that the doctor has an idiot son and that his purpose is to take the mind and intellect he has bought and give them to his son. If some unforeseen thing had not happened just at the right time he would have done it too. Betty Peterson plays the mad boy. - The Moving Picture World, February 20, 1915

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