Twisted Nerve (1968)

Article #1262 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-28-2004
Posting Date: 1-25-2005
Directed by Roy Boulting
Featuring Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw

A disturbed young man (suffering from a possible chromosomal problem) becomes attached to a woman who feels sorrow for him and pays for a toy he stole. He then works his way into her life through the use of subterfuge.

This movie opens with a spoken disclaimer meant to deal with the controversial central issue of the movie. The disclaimer says there has been no scientific evidence linking mongolism and psychotic/criminal behavior. Still, I would imagine that even with the disclaimer, this movie would probably upset anyone who has had to personally deal with mongolism. It’s very well acted, especially by Hywel Bennett, and he leaves you wondering whether his childlike Georgie character (as opposed to his scheming and manipulative adult character) is real or merely an act. At any rate, those who come into this one expecting primarily a psycho thriller may go away disappointed; on that level, it’s overlong (almost two hours) and slow-moving. However, it held my interest throughout, largely because the various characters are so well-developed that I found myself caught up in each of their lives; in fact, much of the running time is dedicated to defining these characters. The movie also features a score by Bernard Herrmann, the highlight of which is the most disconcerting whistled tune since the one in M. If you go in expecting a character-driven story, this one will be much more effective.


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