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De Keuze van Koolhoven: Night of the Blind

Filmmaker and irrepressible cinephile Martin Koolhoven talks about everything that makes film worthwhile in his De Keuze van Koolhoven, focusing especially on the rich history of the genre film. This time the claustrophobic thriller Wait Until Dark, with the unexpectedly cast public darling Audrey Hepburn in the lead role. 

poster De Keuze van Koolhoven

Cinema goers in the 1960s mainly encountered Hepburn in romantic comedies like Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and of course the Oscar-laden musical My Fair Lady (1964). It was a smart move by producer (and actor) Mel Ferrer to cast his then wife Hepburn as the victim in a film in which she plays a blind woman who is terrorized by three intruders in her own apartment.

turning off the light

As if Audrey Hepburn in a spine-chilling thriller was not sensational enough, the lights in the theatre were turned off, not on, at the closing credits. A gimmick which Wait Until Dark, based on a play by Frederick Knott, did not at all need. A previous film adaptation of a play by Knott, Hitchcock”s Dial M for Murder (1954), had also been subjected to the same treatment – in this case it was 3D.

sadistic reptile

That Wait Until Dark is a somewhat forgotten film nowadays, is perhaps partly due to that other Woman in Peril film that saw the light of day a year later: Polanski's horror classic Rosemary's Baby. High time, therefore, to return this film by Terence Young, director of three early James Bond films, to its rightful place in the thriller canon. If only to watch Alan Arkin pull out all the stops in his role as sadistic reptile Roat.

Prior to the screening of Wait Until Dark Martin Koolhoven discusses a number of films and scenes with major roles for a blind person.


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