Flashback Friday

Flashback MMM: Wait Until Dark

This weekend The Music Box Theater in Chicago is running a couple screenings of the 1967 Audrey Hepburn classic Wait Until Dark. Directed by Terence Young, who also helmed a number of classic Connery Bond movies, the story follows Susy Hendrix (Hepburn), a woman who’s recently been struck blind. Her husband Sam is asked to hold a doll by someone at the airport, someone who soon winds up dead under mysterious circumstances. The doll is being sought by some very bad men who soon come after Suzy. They worm their way into her home while her husband isn’t home and proceed to terrorize Suzy as they search for the doll, which contains a small fortune in heroin.

The theatrical poster is meant to evoke action by using three broken images that almost look like how you’d see something if it were being broken up by something in front of your eyes. Hepburn is shown screaming with something in front of her face. Copy at the right that starts with “The blinds moving up and down…” hints at the tension that’s building and how all of it will be revealed through the sounds being heard, setting the stage for the audience that things revolve around a woman who’s blind and relies on hearing.

The trailer starts out by promising this is a role of Heburns the audience won’t be able to forget. We immediately see the three bad guys who are lurking in Suzy’s apartment, unseen. There’s some dialogue about the doll and the search for it before we see Suzy needing to fend off the attacks by those looking for it. The rest of the trailer is about that cat-and-mouse game that they are engaged in as she tries to fend off three attackers, seemingly frustrating them at every turn.

It’s a tense, tight trailer that shows off the claustrophobic nature of the movie, the fact that it all takes place in a tight and constrictive space. Hepburn isn’t shown doing much beside gasping and shrieking in response to the attacks or while running from them. The other big star here Alan Arkin, who plays the sunglasses-sporting Roat, one of the attackers. It’s clear he’s either the brains of the operation or the dos ruthless of the bunch since he’s consistently the one shown threatening or attacking Suzy, a looming dark figure.

What’s kind of missing from the campaign is anything that delivers on the promise of this being a performance from Hepburn that’s unforgettable. She gave plenty of those performances over her career, but there’s not much that’s shown here that really shows this is one of them. It looks harrowing, sure, but that’s about it. It actually reminds me of the trailer for Don’t Breathe, which featured a similar premise but with a number of twists.

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