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Monday, June 28, 2021

Movie Review - Wait Until Dark



Wait Until Dark, a psychological thriller, started as a play before becoming a movie.  The original 1966 play starred Lee Remick and Robert Duvall.  Lee Remick was nominated for a Tony award for Best Actress in a play for her performance.  In 1998 the play had a successful revival with Marisa Tomei and Quentin Tarantino in the cast.

The Movie

In 1967, just one year after the play debuted, it was made into a movie starring the legendary Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, and Efram Zimbalist Jr.  Rotten Tomatoes rated it a rare 96% with the consensus saying "Nail-bitingly tense and brilliantly acted, Wait Until Dark is a compact thriller that makes the most of its fiendishly clever premise."  Metacritic gave a weighted average score of 81 out of 100 saying it had universal acclaim.  Bravo included the movie in their 100 Scariest Movie Moments based on its climax (which was the only time I have ever screamed in a movie). The American Film Institute ranked it #55 in its top one hundred thriller movies.

Description

Recently blind urban wife Susy is adapting to life without sight when her photographer husband, Sam, unwittingly becomes a drug mule.  A woman in the airport convinces Sam to take her antique doll until she can collect it from him.  She had stolen Heroin and hid it in the doll.  She is later killed by the men she stole from.  Sam takes the doll home and waits for the woman to return and collect the doll. Sam is contacted for another photography job and must travel, leaving Susy alone with the cheated drug dealers after the doll.  Realizing she is blind, they try to trick and con her out of the doll. 

My Thoughts

This movie is certainly a nail biting thriller that ratchets up the suspense like Hitchcock.  The climax truly was the only time in my entire life I screamed - not from any gore but the wound-tight tension and surprise in the scene.  It is clearly dated with its mild drug traffickers when today's audiences are used to more violence and gore, but the masterful building of tension is timeless.  It reflects a more trusting time as well for Sam to take the doll in the first place.

I contend that this was Audrey Hepburn's absolute greatest acting, hands down.  This is more than a "woman in jeopardy" thriller.  It is a cat and mouse game in the plot.  But at its core it's about a blind, fearful woman learning she is stronger than she ever imagined and that her "disability" can be her strength.  If you haven't seen this movie at all, or recently, treat yourself to this well directed and acted thriller.  Let me know if you have a reaction to the climax, even a little!

Here is a short movie trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNWNJYRVKsk





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