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‘Wait Till Darkish’ Slick Thrills, Stellar Solid 1967


“Wait Till Darkish” a 1967 suspense movie written by Frederick Knott, additionally had a
stage and movie hit with “Dial M For Homicide.” With Alan Arkin & Audrey Hepburn.

If Wait Till Darkish was ever remade, it’d
should be accomplished as a interval piece.

***Spoiler alerts are mentioned all through this assessment***

Although there are
intelligent causes for the villains’ actions and plot twists (to indicate how
resourceful the blind heroine is, whereas tormenting her needlessly), these plot
factors do not all the time add up. Alfred Hitchcock by no means bought hung up on plots making
good sense, as he relied on suspension of disbelief in service of thrills.
That is all effectively and good, although a few of Hitch’s lesser sleights of hand have been
viewers head-scratchers. 

The movie model of “Wait Till Darkish” was a giant hit in ’67.

Tailored from the 1966
Broadway hit, Frederick Knott’s Wait
Till Darkish
up shut and private movie model exhibits the plot strings being
pulled too clearly. Not like Gaslight,
one other lady in misery stage play turned film, there is not any character depth
beneath the chills. Watching the heroine’s character trajectory in Gaslight works on a number of ranges; in Wait Till Darkish, the blind heroine
proves resourceful within the face of hazard, and introduced heavy-handedly. The
film is well-acted sufficient so that you just turn out to be invested within the characters. 

The plot of Wait Till Darkish is a bit convoluted, however
in a nutshell: A younger lady, Lisa, runs medicine by way of a heroin-filled doll.
Startled by the villain she sees on the airport, she provides the doll to stranger
Sam Hendrix, to be collected later. She’s intercepted by the film’s psycho,
Harry Roat. And that is all she wrote!
Roat lures two small time criminals to the Hendrix condo and coerces them
into shaking down the Hendrix couple to retrieve the doll. Sam thinks it is simply
a doll and he is away; spouse Susy is completely in the dead of night—figuratively and
actually—she’s blind. Roat engineers an elaborate gaslight on Susy to get the
priceless doll. Recreation on!

Richard Crenna as Mike discovers Lisa, who found stealing medicine does not pay,
in 1967’s “Wait Till Darkish.”

On the plus facet, the set-up
is intelligent and solid is first-class. On the minus facet, there are a selection of
plot holes. If this film had extra depth of character and plot growth, I
wouldn’t have targeted on the deficiencies. However when the characters and logic are
as slim as Audrey’s determine, the thoughts wanders.

The massive one: Roat’s
psychopathic villain visits Susy in a number of elaborate character disguises to
discover the doll. Why? Susy’s BLIND! 

“Good disguise there, evil genius. Spoiler alert, I am blind!” 1967’s “Wait Till Darkish.”

The second large one:
When Susy catches on to the thug trio’s ruse, she enlists neighbor lady Gloria
to go to the bus station to get husband Sam house to the rescue. There is a very
patronizing undertone to Sam wanting Susy to be extra impartial after her
latest accident-caused blindness. Susy’s rationale that “Sam will know what
to do” rings very false. You ship three killers in search of medicine on a
idiot’s errand, they’re coming again to kill you, and also you ship a child on a
mission to the bus station, when she might simply go upstairs and name the

Audrey Hepburn & Julie Herrod have a pleasant camaraderie as blind Susie Hendrix
and uncared for upstairs lady, Gloria, in “Wait Till Darkish.”

And the third large one:
As soon as Susy has the doll, why doesn’t she simply give it to them? She was scared
when she heard in regards to the lady (Lisa) discovered murdered a block away. Now she
is aware of they killed “Mrs. Roat,” does she need to be subsequent?

As soon as Susy has the drug doll in her possession, why will not she flip it over?

Additionally, throughout the last
black-out confrontation with killer Roat, he tells her recreation over as she tries
to flee from her chained entrance door and he is discovered a light-weight. Why? She nonetheless
has a knife and matches, and he is nonetheless soaked in gasoline. 

In fact, it might be
arduous to movie this film in current day with out main adjustments: the drug runner getting
the doll by means of safety no downside; the 2 ex-cons making themselves at house
within the Hendrix condo, leaving their DNA all over the place; and in the present day, the three
criminals would simply get all the way down to enterprise and torture and kill the heroine till
they bought the doll. That is only for starters.

Audrey Hepburn is ideally solid as a sympathetic blind lady tormented in
“Wait Till Darkish.” Additionally in ’67, Audrey made one in all her greatest, “Two For the Street.”

As a popcorn suspense
movie there are definitely some very intelligent twists and characterizations. Audrey
Hepburn is a pure as Susy Hendrix, the self-described world champion blind
woman. Empathy and heat was the essence of Hepburn’s persona. Hepburn performs
the character strongly with out overplaying and it’s a stellar film star
efficiency. It is noteworthy that Audrey bought the movie’s lone Oscar nomination. She makes you root for and imagine in her, although the film nonetheless
has a foot within the studio period model: Audrey’s Susy simply often is the most fashionable
blind lady on the planet. The considered a blind lady with large false eyelashes
made me smile. She even adjustments garments in the midst of the film, for no
obvious motive. Additionally, Audrey will get pretty comfortable focus close-ups. Wait Till Darkish makes this film extra of
a throwback to traditional ‘50s Hitchcock than a gritty late ’60s thriller.
Talking of Hitch, I am stunned no one tapped him to do that movie. He practically
labored with Audrey earlier than, and likewise filmed the playwright’s Dial M For Homicide to nice impact. However
Terence Younger does a stable job right here and does the very best he can with what was
mainly a one-set stage piece. 

Audrey Hepburn as Susy Hendrix, a girl lately blinded, in “Wait Till Darkish.”

Lee Remick performed Susy
on Broadway to Robert Duvall’s Harry Roat. I wager that was one thing to see. And
although I am certain Lee was simply nearly as good as Audrey, Remick was a number one woman who
by no means carried a film, the place Hepburn was one of many few feminine stars of the
‘60s who might.

Lee Remick received a Tony nomination as Susy Hendrix within the Broadway model of
 “Wait Till Darkish.” Robert Duvall was Harry Roat. And Arthur Penn directed,
for whom “Bonnie and Clyde” was simply across the nook!

Not having seen this
in a variety of years, I had forgotten how good Richard Crenna was as
“Mike,” the legal pretending to be Sam’s outdated warfare buddy. He provides
what often is the most complicated character. A con and criminal, sure, however he is additionally
taken by Susy’s tenacity. He is the unhealthy man, however you need to like him! Jack
Weston is nice because the lowest functioning unhealthy man, Carlino, a little bit of comedian reduction.

Jack Weston and Richard Crenna as two ex-cons coerced into retrieving a drug doll,
in 1967’s “Wait Till Darkish.”

Alan Arkin has the
showiest function as Harry Roat. I discovered him extra fascinating because the creepy
legal himself than in his varied disguises. Humorous, creepy, sly and when
he goes one on one with Susy, it is the hair-raising spotlight of the movie. The
final set piece may be very effectively accomplished and I’ve heard many tales about how
audiences in the dead of night involuntarily gasped and shrieked as Arkin’s Roat goes
after Hepburn’s Susy.

Alan Arkin because the twisted, darkly humorous villain Harry Roat, in “Wait Till Darkish.”

One plot ingredient and
appearing I discovered a bit smarmy: Sam Hendrix, the character and Efrem Zimbalist,
Jr., the actor. Given the very fact his spouse has been blind only a 12 months, his robust
love bit feels a bit like a husbandly bully, insisting that she “do”
for herself. When Sam and the cops lastly rescue her, they step over useless
our bodies, a trashed, gasoline-soaked condo, and discover a hiding Hepburn as Susy
behind the fridge door. And Zimbalist’s smiling Sam urges her to come back to him! I
marvel if a blind spouse might kick her husband within the balls? And Zimbalist’s
appearing is old-school Ronald Reagan selection, like an enthralling TV host, full
with a Hollywood tan—whereas enjoying a New Yorker.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. is Sam Hendrix, the photographer husband of blind Susy.

Herrod as Gloria, the younger lady upstairs, is pure, quirky, and interesting. She
additionally performed the character onstage with Lee Remick. Lisa, the doomed drug runner
appears to be like like a refugee from Valley of the
, with the obvious fall, and a extra lethal doll than tablets! Her
stage identify is Samantha Jones, which was later used as Kim Cattrall’s character
in Intercourse within the Metropolis!

Samantha Jones is Lisa, a drug runner who appears to be like like a runner-up for “Valley of the Dolls,” full with a fall and false eyelashes. As an alternative of “dolls,” this doll has heroin!

The rating by Henry Mancini
is expertly eerie and the pure NYC location capturing provides this shiny
thriller some wanted grit.

Do not get me improper, Wait Till Darkish continues to be a enjoyable thrill
journey. Simply do not look too intently on the story behind a blind lady’s lengthy evening
from hell.

Regardless of some critical gaps in logic, you will be gasping in shock within the final act of
“Wait Till Darkish.”


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