Wait Until Dark (1967)

Article 4537 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-17-2014
Directed by Terence Young
Featuring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna
Country: USA
What it is: Thriller

A sadistic killer hires two small-time thugs to help him get his hands on a doll filled with drugs that has fallen into the hands of a blind woman.

I knew this one was going to come up sooner or later; though I knew it wasn’t a horror movie, the character of Roat is so sadistic that it nudges the film close enough to horror territory for at least one of my sources to include it. The movie has a very high reputation, but I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to catching it. Why? Because much of the appeal of the movie is watching the plot unfold and discovering the surprises along the way, and since I’d already performed in the stage version of the story, I was already extremely familiar with it, and I knew all the important surprises that were coming. There is, however, at least one great reason to catch the movie even under those circumstances, and that is to see Alan Arkin’s fantastic and intense performance as Roat. He’s so fascinating to watch, that I was hooked every second he was on the screen. Unfortunately, because of my familiarity with the story, my mind wandered in most of the other scenes, and though all of the other performances were good, they weren’t enough to compensate. Nevertheless, it is a well made movie and a very effective thriller; I just wish I could really appreciate it with fresh eyes. And it is also one of the few movies in which it is highly effective to have certain scenes shot in complete darkness.

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