Wait Until Dark
One of the all-time-best thriller movies. It was adapted from a stage play by Frederick Knott, who also wrote Dial M for Murder. It’s easy to see how it could all be staged on one set, as it almost is here with just a few outside shots. On Broadway the Audrey Hepburn role was played by Lee Remick, with Robert Duvall as the bad guy played by Alan Arkin. I’d like to have seen that. Honor Blackman played it in the West End. The set-up is simple, the execution complex. Blind woman is preyed upon and bamboozled by three bad guys in pursuit of a Maguffin, but she ends up outwitting them all. An elaborate scheme involving play-acting and all sorts of deviousness with phones and window shades and such could easily have been obviated by the psychopath Mr. Roat if he simply sat her down and started pulling out her fingernails, but that wouldn’t have been any fun, would it? Hell, no. It all works because of a good, sympathetic performance by Hepburn (who looks like she weighs about 45 pounds) and an even better one by Arkin. As we learned again with Javier Bardem in No County for Old Men, a very quiet menace works a lot better than waving one’s arms about and slobbering. And Arkin even has a bizarre haircut, too! There are a lot of ah-ha moments, one pretty nice scare, and one classic, gigantic scare that had people screaming and literally jumping out of their seats when I saw this the first time in the theater.