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Review: Wait Until Dark (1967)

Director: | 110 minutes | , , | Actors: , , , Efrem Zimbalist ., , ,

“Wait Until Dark” is based on a play by Frederick Knott. Terence Young knows how to turn the limitation of the unity of place into an advantage. The viewer enters the blind Susy who is trapped in her own house. We especially sympathize with Susy, because the wiles of Roat and his henchmen play on her blindness. She is being cornered more and more, and the means of escape, those people and things on which she depends, fall away at the right time; her husband, the phone and the alleged death of one of the criminals.

“Wait Until Dark” looks a lot like a Hitchcock. But it is better; the relationships between the characters have been deepened and the characters themselves have more complex characters. Richard Crenna plays a charming criminal who is attracted to his hostess and Roat is more than just the prototype of a villain. Carlino remains a somewhat flat figure, which fits well with his (side) role. On the one hand, this thriller seems to make fun of a number of clichés; the Italian crook, the psychopathic murderer, the charming trickster. But because every role is taken so seriously and the actors all persist in their role, it becomes a credible whole. In the beginning, a number of events may be somewhat predictable, but that is precisely why the contrast with the exciting scenes is all the greater.

The relationship with the girl next door Gloria suggests that much more has happened before the moment when the starts. You feel that you have just stepped into the middle of a story and that there is more going on than is shown. Possibly the relationship problems that Hepburn had with the producer and her then partner Mel Ferrer play a role here. But if an actress manages to use her emotions in such a professional way, she has more than deserved the nomination for an Oscar.

The viewer can identify well with the main character, except when she allows herself to be urged by her husband to become “the world’s champion of the blind woman. Audrey Hepburn plays the role of the blind woman with conviction. Although she wears special lenses to get the vibrancy out of her eyes, her strength lies in the way she constantly has her eyes on infinity and the way she moves. In her performance she makes Susy into a vulnerable and resilient woman in one.

Some forgivable unbelievers. When young Roat walks down the stairs, Susy recognizes the cracking of one of his shoes and therefore knows that he is one and the same as the old Roat. For the viewer, he has disguised himself in both cases, which is of course not necessary for her. Admittedly he twists his voice in every role, but if she recognizes that creaking shoe, why not his voice. Furthermore, Susy only became blind at a later age. In that case, she would actually be more likely to look in the direction of the person talking and not keep her head and eyes in the same place. The fact remains that it does have the desired effect on the viewer.

Young uses sophisticated timing in “Wait Until Dark”. This combined with the acting talents of the players increases the tension to a great climax.

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