|Wait Until Dark|
1967 Film Poster
|Directed by||Terence Young|
|Written by||Robert Howard-Carrington|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|
|Release date(s)||October 26, 1967|
|Running time||108 min.|
In 1966 Warner Bros.-Seven Arts purchased the rights to Frederick Knott's play and in 1967 made the famous film adaptation. The script was written by Robert Howard-Carrington and directed by Terence Young. It starred Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Jack Weston.
In an effort to duplicate the suspense on screen, movie theaters dimmed their lights to their legal limits, then turned off one by one until each light on-screen was shattered, resulting in the theater being plunged into complete darkness.
The film ranked tenth on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for its riveting climax. In 2001 the film was also ranked #55 on AFI's 100 Years 100 Thrills.
The film opens in a Montreal apartment, where a con artist named Lisa (Jones) waits for a man to sew bags of heroin into a doll. Lisa takes the doll with her on an airline flight to New York, but when she notices a man spying on her, she becomes worried and gives the doll to a stranger, professional photographer Sam Hendrix (Zimbalist).
Some time later, small-time con artist Mike Talman (Crenna) and his partner Carlino (Weston) arrive for an appointment with Lisa at the below-ground apartment where Sam lives with his wife Susy (Hepburn), who is blind. After leaving their fingerprints in the apartment, they are joined by Lisa's husband, Harry Roat (Arkin), who has killed her for betraying him and forces them to help him retrieve the doll, which Sam told Lisa he was unable to find.
Later that day, Susy's neighbor leaves for the weekend, and Sam leaves for a business trip the next morning. Once Susy is alone, the criminals begin an elaborate con game: In order to gain entry into the apartment, Talman poses as a friend of Sam's, Corlino poses as a policeman, and Roat poses first as an old man and then as the man's son. By fabricating a story that Sam murdered Lisa after having an affair with her, the men persuade Susy to help them find the doll, which they claim Sam gave to Lisa as a gift. Susy insists that the previous tenant threw away the key to the safe in the living room, and Talman gives her the number for the phone booth across the street as his own after falsely warning her of a police car stationed outside.
During this time, Susy has grown suspicious of Carlino and Roat, and Gloria (Herrod), a girl who lives upstairs, has been going in and out of the apartment to help Susy with her grocery shopping. After Talman leaves, Gloria sneaks into the apartment carrying the doll, which she stole some time earlier. She tells Susy there is no police car outside, and Susy discovers the doll. Wanting to confirm her suspicions about Carlino and Roat, Susy tells Gloria to go home and watch the phone booth. If a man goes into it, Gloria is to phone Susy, let the phone ring twice, and hang up. Gloria tells Susy she can signal her by banging on the pipes.
On Carlino's next visit, after he calls Roat at the phone booth, Gloria sends Susy the telephone signal, and she sends the signal a second time after Susy calls Talman to tell him she has the doll. Finally realizing that Talman is a criminal, Suzy hides the doll. When he walks in with Corlino and Roat following quietly, she tells him the doll is at Sam's studio. The criminals leave after Roat cuts the telephone cord.
When Susy bangs on the pipes, Gloria comes in and Susy sends her to the bus station to find Sam. When Susy discovers that the telephone cord has been cut, she prepares to defend herself by breaking all the light bulbs in the apartment, closing the blinds, and pouring a chemical into a bowl. When Talman returns, she refuses to cooperate and he relents, having sent Corlino to kill Roat. However, Roat has killed Corlino, and, as Talman stands in the doorway, Roat stabs him in the back.
Intent on acquiring the doll, Roat chains the door shut, pours gasoline on the floor, and sets a piece of newspaper on fire. This persuades Susy to give him the doll, but she changes her mind after discovering Talman's body. A desperate battle follows in which Susy throws the chemical in Roat's face and pours gasoline on him, he threatens to kill her, and she stabs him. When the police arrive with Sam and Gloria, Susy is alive and Roat is dead.