Tag Archives: Audrey Hepburn

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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WATCHING: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

13 Oct

Watching: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Why you should watch it: Culture, Character

Breakfast At Tiffany's Cover(Photo Credit)

For my first Watching post, I thought I’d cover a classic.

Everyone should see this movie. Seriously, this 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn as the iconic Holly Golightly and George Peppard as Paul Varjak, is a must see for women, men, people who love fashion (the black dress, the pearls, the tiara. You know.), just everyone.

Based loosely on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name, this movie is funny, classy and inventive. It chronicles the adventures of a group of rich or wanna-be rich bohemians. Most important is Hepburn’s eccentric, outgoing and essentially lost, Holly Golightly, who doesn’t seem to know exactly what she wants out of life, flitting from party to party. Then, Paul Varjak, writer and…escort, moves into her apartment building.

To learn what happens next, you’ll have to see the movie (available on Netflix streaming!!!) and believe me there’s something in it for everyone, and everyone should see it. More specifically, all writers should see this movie for a couple of reasons.

First, this movie really knows something about cultivating a culture. Inspired by the cafe society, Breakfast at Tiffany’s does a great job of establishing the culture surrounding the characters. When not partying the characters do what they like—sleep, shop, take long walks, go to bars. Then, they party. The suggestion that everyone knows everyone from some party, or through some other friend, or by reputation really suggests this network of the rich and pretty who just like to get together and party, damn everything else.

There’s a FANTASTIC sequence of a party in Holly’s apartment. The place is packed. Everyone is dressed both beautifully and extravagantly. Alcohol flows freely and everyone is gossiping about everyone else. As the party progresses things only get crazier—and more hilarious. People pass out, talk to themselves, sit on each other, but it doesn’t seem to matter, as long as everyone has a good time.

All writers could take a cue from this movie, and cultivate a culture around their characters and understand how their worlds shape their characters.

The second reason I say all writers should see this movie is the character development. In truth, it could be really easy to hate Holly Golightly. She’s flighty, indecisive, delusional and a bit of heartbreaker, when it comes right down to it. But she’s also clever, honest, witty and spontaneous. While I refuse to give away any more of the plot than I already have, as with any good writing, Holly is also shown to be devastatingly human and capable of experiencing the roller coaster of emotions other humans go through. I can’t promise you’ll fall in love with Holly, even though TONS of people have so, you know, they can’t all be wrong. But even if you don’t love her, the great characterization promises you’ll at least understand her.

WATCH THIS MOVIE. There’s a reason that fifty years later, people still love this movie, that Holly is considered a fashion icon, and that people still listen to this Oscar-winning rendition of “Moon River.”

Plus, Uncle Jed is it. How can you lose?