Wait Until Dark (1967) is a suspense thriller/horror film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, supported by Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. The screenplay by Robert Carrington and Jane-Howard Carrington is based on the stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott.
A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment. The murderous Arkin, aided by sympathetic henchman Richard Crenna, will let nothing stand in the way of his obtaining it, even if it comes down to assaying multiple “personalities” in order to visit and terrorise Hepburn; Crenna is unwillingly enlisted to help. However, the “world’s champion blind lady” (as Hepburn sardonically states) is more than up to the task of defending herself in her basement Manhattan apartment in a heart-stopping climax…
Hepburn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (losing to Katharine Hepburn), and Zimbalist was nominated for a Golden Globe in the supporting category.
In an effort to duplicate the suspense on screen in the climactic scene, some American movie theaters dimmed their lights to their legal limits, then turned them off one by one until each light on-screen was shattered, resulting in the cinema being plunged into complete darkness.
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“I think some viewers may not realize how truly innovative Wait Until Dark really was. Very few horror films of that time were making great use of lighting or the lack thereof and a limited set, almost like a stage play … reeking of claustrophobic terror. In fact, following Psycho, Young’s film could be considered the first modern horror film by some, playing on real-life emotions felt in the heart of the audience. The picture is anchored by two really brilliant performances: the never disappointing Audrey Hepburn and the psychotic edge of Alan Arkin.” Glenn Erickson, DVD Drive-In
“Wait Until Dark is one of the most memorable film thrillers you could ever see. The story’s complexity, the subtle direction and superlative acting all combine to put nearly every suspense film to come after it to shame. It’s truly a film experience, but you’d better put your lights on.” J. Read, Monsters at Play
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