Sunday, July 4, 2021

Wait Until Dark

Movie Name:
Wait Until Dark
Year of Release: 1967
Director: Terence Young
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, Samantha Jones, Jean Del Val
Genre: Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After his series of films with the James Bond franchise, which he actually started, director Terence Young ventured into a variety of other genres. "Wait Until Dark", based on the play by Frederic Knott, is one of his most successful features. The narrative focuses on the story of Susy Hendrix, a recently married and blinded woman who is caught in an extraordinary situation. This situation is a result of her husband bringing home a doll given to him by an unknown woman, who was in the same flight as his. Turns out the doll is stuffed with drugs, and the woman was the courier. There are three men with a keen interest in retrieving the doll, and as a result, they come to Susy's apartment, passing as a series of characters. These three men create a convoluted narrative in order to not only deceive Susy, but also leave her somewhat exposed, including luring her husband into an all night assignment (he's a photographer). As the men try their best at uncovering where the doll is, Susy starts suspecting there's something wrong with the situation, something she confides with the young girl who helps her and lives in the building, Gloria. As time is running out, Susy has to use her skills and ingenuity to overcome the obstacles as they present themselves.
By the time "Wait Until Dark" came out, director Terence Young had already established James Bond as a  successful franchise, having directed "Dr. No", "From Russia with Love" and "Thunderball". After venturing into other action/suspense films such as "The Poppy Is Also a Flower" and "Triple Cross", his adaptation of "Wait Until Dark" was a return to both critical and commercial success (the film even garnered Audrey Hepburn an Academy Award nomination). The film manages to be ingeniously crafted, as it situates most of its action, in the apartment belonging to the central character. Since the character is somewhat at a disadvantage when compared to her foes, due to her physical disability, the fact that the space is somewhat well known her, plays to her resourcefulness and ability to overcome her obstacles. It's also a film that slowly builds the tension, allowing for the trap to be laid, only for it to produce results that are unexpected for the captor. The director is not quite as successful at giving enough dimension for these characters to exist, including the villains, which are broadly defined, the same going for Susy's husband. In the end, it's an interesting exercise in suspense, featuring a solid performance from the always great, Audrey Hepburn. The cinematography from the iconic Charles Lang is impeccable, as is the score from Henry Mancini. Entertaining and always worth revisiting.