© 1967 Warner Bros. Pictures

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Wait Until Dark is a film that was much better than I expected, and I am sure this taught thriller came as quite a surprise for many people who saw it on its initial release. Audrey Hepburn had dipped her toes  into the thriller genre in Charade (1963), but in that pairing with Cary Grant, she was still coasting on her glamorous image. Here the glamor is traded in for vulnerability as Hepburn plays a blind housewife, who is not yet used to being blind, and whose husband is often away on photography assignments. An adaption of a 1966 play that was a Broadway hit for Lee Remick and Robert Duvall, the film is set almost entirely in a downstairs Greenwich Village, which is spacious by today’s New York standards, but adds to the claustrophobia and sense of entrapment in the film. Although I wouldn’t go as far as Stephen King  who said that Alan Arkin’s performance “may be the greatest evocation of screen villainy ever,” he is truly frightening as the bad guy trying to find a doll stuffed with heroin somewhere in the apartment, and bending a pair of cops to his will. The climactic scene between Hepburn and Arkin, which gradually fades into complete darkness is truly terrifying.

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