brothercyst: WAIT UNTIL DARK

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I just watched the 1967 Terence Young movie Wait Until Dark, one of the more memorable suspense thrillers of all time, which I hadn't seen in quite a while. Henry Mancini's score is one of the great film scores. Alan Arkin is particularly memorable as the evil "Harry Roat Jr. from Scarsdale." Audrey Hepburn can be a cloying performer, but generally does a good job as the blind woman trapped alone in her basement apartment, beset by predators.

Wait Until Dark is ingenious and well-staged but also (something that I didn't realize when I first saw it at the age of maybe ten) absurd. It's based on Frederick Knott's play, which suffers from the same problems. Why would these guys go to all these trouble to recover an amount of heroin so small that it could be hidden inside a child's doll? When you see the heroin... it's really not much. It's a handful of little packets of what looks like ten grams each. In 1967 in New York City, couldn't you buy that sort of thing in parks or in jazz clubs? I mean, really. And why go through all the theatrics anyway? But still, Knott's script does play power games brilliantly, seesawing dominance between characters every few lines. And all that stuff doesn't matter when we get to the spectacular final scene with Roat drenched in gasoline dragging himself across the floor of the apartment with a huge knife.

1 comment:

thelittlesleep said...

Agreed. Love that movie.