Tag Archives: Alan Arkin

WATCHING: Wait Until Dark

5 Jan

Watching: Wait Until Dark
Why you should be watching: Mystery, Suspense, the element of surprise

(Photo Credit)

This won’t be the first time I’ve discussed an Audrey Hepburn film. And it probably won’t be the last. Regardless, Wait Until Dark is amazing. You need to watch it. In your house. Alone. With all the lights out. You will be terrified, and it will be awesome.

If you’ve never seen it, the 1967 classic staring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin, is based on a play of the same name. The film opens with a woman, Lisa, in Montreal,waiting for an old man to sew bags of drugs into the body of a cloth doll. She catches a flight to New York, but when she gets off the plane, she sees a man watching her, and gives the doll to someone else for safe keeping. Hepburn stars at Susy Hendrix, a young woman who was blinded in a car accident. She lives in a basement apartment in New York City with her husband, professional photographer, Sam. Sam was the man to whom Lisa gave the doll. Lisa calls looking for it. Sam and Susy can’t find it. Uh-oh.

Two men, Mike and Carlino enter Susy and Sam’s apartment while both are away. They were supposed to meet Lisa, but are instead greeted by a man named Roat (Arkin). And Lisa’s dead body. Turns out, Lisa was in business with Mike and Carlino before they both ended up in prison, and she planned to cheat Roat out of the money from the drugs, until he caught her at the airport, after she gave the doll to Sam. Following so far? He’s tracked the doll to Sam and Susy, but doesn’t know much else, but since he’s worn gloves and Mike and Carlino have not, their fingerprints are all over the apartment, and he forces them to help him get rid of Lisa’s body and help him find the doll.

Then, one of the most suspense plotlines ever really begins.

Sam and Susy’s neighbor both leave—Sam has a business trip—leaving Susy very much alone. Mike, Carlino and Roat begin a complicated con-game, playing on Susy’s blindness. As the con-game gets more and more tangled and Susy begins to slowly catch on to what’s going on around her, the tension builds for the characters and the audience.

In a stroke of brilliance, Susy decides to put the con-artists in the dark, by literally killing all the lights, making them just as blind as she is, ensuring things are about to get really ugly and really scary. They do.

The writers already make things suspenseful because the audience knows way more than Susy. We know right off the bat these are bad guys, and it is torture for the audience to watch her invite them into her home, and see them play multiple characters and do all kinds of things she can’t even see! SO. FRUSTRATING.

Then there’s the physical tension, with the slights slowly going out one by one. And then there is one of the most frightening scenes in cinematic history, I kid you not. I refuse to provide a link to the footage. Go watch the movie. Get inspired.

 

Have you ever seen Wait Until Dark? Did you get scared? Isn’t it exhausting? Let me know—leave a comment!

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