Thursday, January 15, 2015

Movie Review: "Wait Until Dark" (1967)

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Movie"Wait Until Dark"
Director: Terence Young
Year: 1967
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

A woman named Lisa (Samantha Jones) is smuggling drugs inside a doll. When she sees someone she isn't expecting at the airport, she hands the doll off to an unsuspecting man named Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) to hold for her. Sam takes the doll home where he lives with his blind wife, Susy (Audrey Hepburn), but he misplaces it. When Lisa can't produce the doll, she is murdered by a man named Roat (Alan Arkin). Roat hires two of Lisa's associates Mike (Richard Crenna) and Carlino (Jack Weston) to help locate the doll. When Sam leaves on a business trip, Roat, Mike, and Carlino try to harass and con Susy into revealing where the doll is. 

When people think of Audrey Hepburn, they probably think of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "My Fair Lady" or "Roman Holiday," which are all great films in their own right, but "Wait Until Dark" gives us such a compelling lead for Audrey Hepburn unlike anything we had seen from her before. She is excellent as Susy, a recently blinded woman who is still getting use to not having her sight. We really come to empathize with Susy and her plight throughout the film, but realistically, the plot only works with a blind protagonist and no other way. Almost all of the plot points and minute details in the movie rely on her blindness, and without it, the movie would be pointless. Alan Arkin also does a magnificent job as the primary antagonist, Roat. He plays an evil and conniving character very well and quite convincingly. Only a true asshole would harass a newly blinded lady over a stupid doll with some drugs inside of it. He is so young in this movie! Both of these performances come together in a tense and unique movie with great direction and cinematography, a fantastic score and a lot of empathy and rooting for Susy. There were so many times in this film where we got built up emotionally and thought things were going to be okay for her, but then all of a sudden our hopes were dashed just as quickly as her phone line was cut or her lights went out. That scene was particularly intense and involving as we the audience are, in essence, blinded, too, so we get just a small taste of how it feels to be right inside the threat of invasion and murder without being able to see.

Even almost 60 years since it was made, "Wait Until Dark" is still gripping and intriguing. The thrills don't stop any time during the movie as they just keep on coming. It's a shame that we don't really hear more about this movie on lists and such, and to us, it seems like an overlooked crime drama.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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