WAIT UNTIL DARK, 1967
Directed by: Terence Young
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Julia Herrod, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Review by Jarred Thomas
A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.
A highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller that follows a tormented blind woman terrorized by three men, with one being considered by many critics as one of the scariest villains of all time played to perfection by Alan Arkin. Susy (Hepburn) suffered a terrible accident recently has been left blind. Her only aid comes from an unreliable younger neighbor, Gloria (Herrod), in which the two have a mother daughter relationship. Susy’s disability has been challenging, however, her greatest challenge comes in the form of three criminals.
The ruthless gang in led by the psychotic Roat (Arkin) who believes that Susy’s husband, Sam, has a doll with heroin inside after it was given to him on a plane by a woman trying to hide the doll from custom officials. Unknowingly, Sam brought the doll to the couple’s apartment and unfortunately Roat is determined to gain the doll despite Susy’s innocence.
The tension builds as Roat tries to manipulate the situation through cunning plans including pretending to be a police officer and using Sam’s friends to gain the trust of Susy, gaining access to the apartment. Roat is a freat villain. There are layers to the characters that unfold over the course of the film. He appears calm, collected and calculated. But as his desperation and Susy’s resistance continues, his raw emotions get the better of him and he begins to unravel.
The suspense is captivating, particularly during the final confrontation between Audrey and Alan. The cinematography is helps to create a dark and haunting atmosphere that heightens the tension and suspense. Susy realizes that the men want access to her apartment, so, knowing the place better than they do, she darkens the room by taking out the lights, leaving the men blind.
The confrontation in the kitchen is the most memorable scene in the film and help to start a trend in which the villain, thought dead, turns out to be alive and appears out of nowhere for one last kill. Other films, most notably Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street uses this trend in every one of their films. Unfortunately, those moments pale in comparison to how it was effectively done in Terence Young’s film.
Audrey was nominated for her fifth and last Oscar for her excellent performance as the vulnerable blind woman with enough resourcefulness to outsmart her pursuers. Alan created a monster that was listed in Bravo Channel’s 100 Scariest Movie of All Time coming in at number 10. Along with their great performances, Young succeeds in providing thrills and scares with the building tension and effectively taking a rather simple premise and turning it into a unique and compelling thriller.
Wait Until Dark is a remarkable and superb film that keeps you captivated throughout and never lets up. The strong performances and excellent directing with great editing provide for some entertaining and engaging moments, as well as a sterling story. If you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn, or great thrillers, Wait Until Dark is certainly worth your time. Enjoy.