"None of your inches is square and they all look very nice."
There is the mystery surrounding an old Scottish castle and the hedge maze that has been part of the castle grounds for centuries. The story is told in flashback by Aunt Edith Murray (Katherine Emery) one of the main characters.
When the old master of the castle dies the next heir in line is Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson). Gerald is summoned to the castle. Once there he cuts off all communication with his friends and ends his engagement to Aunt Edith’s niece Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst). Kitty, not being one to take no for an answer, goes to Craven Castle to confront her fiancé.
The reception she gets is cold. Her fiancé looks as if he has aged 20 years in the last week. Kitty refuses to leave. There are strange noises and strange rules. Places in the castle where people are forbidden to go. Everyone locked in their rooms at night. Of course Kitty does everything she’s not supposed to. She is determined to find out what is going on. What the secret of Craven Castle is and what is going on in the maze.
"The Maze" was released in 1953 and was directed by William Cameron Menzies. The entire mood of the film is dark and foreboding. It’s more of a gothic thriller than a horror movie. I've also heard it referred to as a dark fable. The suspense builds throughout. As soon as you find and answer to one question there are more questions. Not until the very end do you find out what is happening and what the secret is. What the monster is.
Some people may be let down by the answer. Although I didn’t think the monster was that horrible. More sad and pathetic than scary. Either way, if you’re happy with the ending good if not keep in mind that a lot of old gothic mysteries had disappointing endings. The point was the journey along the way.
Supposedly the plot was inspired by a legend associated with Scotland's Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the House of Bowes-Lyon. According to the legend, a rightful heir to leadership of the noble house was born horribly deformed, and the Bowes-Lyon family told the outside world he had died at birth. He was then kept sequestered in a secret part of the castle until his death from old age, while the next-born eligible heir took his place in the succession to family leadership.
It is also supposedly the first film to mention the scientific discipline of teratology, and perhaps the first to discuss the now-discredited concept of prenatal phylogenetic evolution.