[box cover]

Wait Until Dark

Fresh out of jail, Michael Tallman (Richard Crenna) and Carlino (Jack Weston) are propositioned by a vicious man named Roat (Alan Arkin) to do what they did before they got sent up — talking people into things. It seems Suzy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn) got a doll from her husband (Efran Zimbalist Jr.) that is loaded with drugs. The boys are meant to get the doll from Suzy when she's home alone, and since she was recently blinded, they're confident they can get her to do what they want. But when push comes to shove, Suzy can more than handle her own. Adapted from Frederick Knott's stage play, it seems little work went into removing the scrim for the screen with 1967's Wait Until Dark — it's almost entirely set in one location, and that setting is never used very dynamically. That's a let-down, considering the movie was directed by three-time James Bond helmer Terrence Young. Also damning is how much of the suspense seems geared more towards a theatrical audience than for the benefits of cinema — Arkin dresses up in different, elaborate costumes just to play an intruder to get into Suzy's house, but his costuming couldn't possibly be for a blind woman; it probably was a better reveal of his character's resourcefulness for a theater patrons, since it may have took more than a couple moments to notice the trick. Here, it's obvious. However, as stage-bound as it is — and rather talky at that — Alan Arkin's performance as Roat is compelling; he plays it as a spaced out druggy with a penchant for a knife and unexpected violence. It's against type and marvelously so, particularly when Arkin uses his sunglasses to convey the soulessness of his character. Hepburn plays the sort of role that one expects pretty actresses to play in order to earn Academy attention (and she was nominated for best actress), but with that in mind, she's quite good as the none-too-meek Suzy, and her final standoff against Roat delivers a good shock. Warner's DVD release of Wait Until Dark presents the film in an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with DD 1.0 audio. Extras include a featurette with producer (and then-husband of Hepburn) Mel Ferrer and star Alan Arkin talking about the film (10 min.). Also included are two trailers. Snap-case.
—DSH



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