The Devil's Stairway
Director: Lee Man-hee
Cast: Kim Jin-kyu, Moon Jung-suk, Bang Seong-ja, Jeong Ae-ran
Film genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Cert 18, 110 mins, 1964
Distributed by Se Ki Corporation
Young Dr. Hyeon has, it seems, everything going for him. A good position at a private hospital, the attentions of the daughter of that institution’s owner, a sexual liaison with an attractive nurse. Marriage to the boss’ daughter would open the way to his eventual succession to the directorship of the whole place. Then the nurse discovers she is pregnant. Trying to keep his suddenly fragile hopes alive, Dr. Hyeon resorts to drastic measures. He will be haunted and hunted down by the consequences.
Kim Ki-young showed in The Housemaid (1960) that in the hands of a master of suspense a stairway could take on a malevolent life of its own. Lee Man-hee’s atmospheric noir has two. Kim Jin-kyu often played sober, middle-class professionals, men born to wear suits. In this psycho-thriller the respectability of his Dr Hyeon will be peeled away from him layer by painful layer.