The Sealed Room

The Sealed Room (also known as The Sealed Door)[1] is an eleven-minute film released in September 1909. Produced by the Biograph Company and directed by D. W. Griffith, the drama's cast includes Arthur V. Johnson, Marion Leonard, Henry B. Walthall, Mary Pickford, and Mack Sennett. It was distributed to theaters on a split-reel with another film, the three-minute comedy short The Little Darling.

The Sealed Room
Directed byD. W. Griffith
Written byHonoré de Balzac
Edgar Allan Poe
Frank E. Woods
StarringArthur V. Johnson
Marion Leonard
Henry B. Walthall
Mary Pickford
Mack Sennett
CinematographyG. W. Bitzer
Music byRobert Israel
Distributed byBiograph Company
Release date
  • September 2, 1909 (1909-09-02)
Running time
11 minutes (original release length 779 feet)
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English intertitles
Play film; runtime 00:11:19.


The film's theme of immurement draws inspiration from Balzac's "La Grande Bretêche",[2] and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado". The king constructs a cozy, windowless love-nest for himself and his concubine. However, she is not faithful to her sovereign, but consorts with the court troubadour. In fact, they use the king's new play chamber for their trysts. When the king discovers this, he sends for his masons. With the faithless duo still inside, the masons use stone and mortar to quietly seal the only door to the vault. The two lovers suffocate and the film ends.




  1. ^ Langman, 1998, p. 34
  2. ^ Gunning, 1994, pp. 177-178


  • Gunning, Tom (1994). D.W. Griffith and the origins of American narrative film: the early years at Biograph. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06366-X.
  • Langman, Larry (1998). American Film Cycles: The Silent Era. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-30657-5.
  • The Sealed Room at

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