Susy was recently blinded and recently married. Susy's husband, Sam, is asked to hold a doll for a woman he doesn't know as they get off an airplane. The woman disappears. Later, she's found dead by her former associates, Mike and Carlino, small-time hoods, in Susy's basement apartment. (Both occupants of the apartment are then absent.) The doll woman's newer partner in crime, Harry Rote, who murdered her for self-dealing, presses Mike and Carlino into a scheme to recover the doll, which contains a fortune in smuggled heroin. After disposing of the body, the thugs return while Susy is present to continue their search. They assume Susy's blindness will enable them to search her apartment under her very nose for the doll. In Sam's absence, Mike pretends to be an old friend of Sam's, while the three together spin for Susy a story of a murder investigation of her husband from which only the finding of the missing doll can save him. Rote is a predator, and his stalking of Susy becomes ever...Written by
Great little gem that -for the most part- stands the test of time very well!
Audrey Hepburn is cast beautifully as the blind woman victimized by three deviants. Alan Arkin is truly terrifying as the leader and his performance here ranks as one of the all-time-great screen villians.
Director Young handles the pace masterfully. No sequence really goes on longer than it should. Henry Mancini uses a nice, quiet score that creates appropriate tension as the film builds to its classic showdown.
My favorite thing about the film is, I think, the use of lighting in the final sequence. Charles Lang uses a creepy, dimly-glowing, red-orange light to illuminate the apartment after Suzie has smashed every other bulb. The effect has a shadowy, nightmarish quality and the scene looks like it was filmed yesterday.
When you think about David Fincher reworking the original concept here for PANIC ROOM, it really is a flattering comment to WAIT UNTIL DARK and its power in still being able to chill. It's also funny to think that with all that impressive photography and filmmaking, the film didn't have nearly half the tension of this 1967 classic.
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