October Horror Gauntlet Film #4
Wait Until Dark
Directed by Terence Young
Wait Until Dark is a fantastic little 1967 suspense-thriller directed by Bond veteran Terence Young. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, who was nominated for the Oscar, Richard Crenna, and Alan Arkin playing against type as the scummy villain Harry Roat. From the get go it’s pretty easy to spot that the movie was based on a play – the dialogue and what is basically one small set betray this – but it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film. The play was actually pretty popular, originally being directed by Arthur Penn and starring Lee Remmick and Robert Duvall.
By no means does Wait Until Dark defy plot synopsis, nor is it incredibly convoluted, but I am finding it difficult to sum up the action in a few short sentences. The movie starts with a woman smuggling heroin inside of a doll. From there, an innocent man gets roped into the drug muling by way of the woman asking him to hold the doll for her. He does so, and brings the doll back to the apartment (for reasons I don’t seem to recall) and that’s where the trouble begins. Arkin’s Harry Roat masterminds a plot to find the doll in this house, while confusing Susy into thinking that her husband may be involved in a murder.
It’s kind of a Hitchcockian thriller, and one that I would highly recommend. It’s very taut, and very exciting. I kept waiting for a dull moment, or for the action to drag but it never really did. And the final twenty minutes are edge-of-your-seat type stuff that will really have you glued to the TV. The main problem I had with the film was the lack of depth to the characters – but things like Hepburn’s portrayal helped me get around that and really believe her even without a wealth of characterization. Sometimes she did dip into melodrama, which was a little distracting, but for the most part I can understand her Oscar nomination.