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“Wait Until Dark” Review – Audrey Hepburn (Summer Under the Stars #6)

Thoughts on Audrey:

Since we share a name, I’ve known about Audrey Hepburn almost my entire life. She is very inspiring to me and I absolutely love her fashion. While I don’t necessarily think she’s the greatest actress, I admire her dedication to her roles, my favorite being Roman Holiday.

TCM Movie Schedule:

  • Wait Until Dark
  • The Children’s Hour
  • Green Mansions
  • The Unforgiven
  • Two For the Road
  • Paris When It Sizzles
  • Charade
  • Roman Holiday
  • How to Steal a Million
  • Love in the Afternoon
  • The Nun’s Story

Film Review:

A woman transports a heroin-filled doll from Canada to the United States, giving it to a random man named Sam (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) at the airport. Three mysterious men come looking for the doll and trap Sam’s blind wife, Susy (Audrey Hepburn) in her apartment; playing a game of cat-and-mouse with her.

Wait Until Dark | Movies Anywhere

I came away from this film feeling very disappointed. I’d been looking forward to watching it for a while and had heard that Hepburn’s performance in it was one of her best. The film ended up leaving much to be desired and Hepburn’s performance was lacking, though it’s not entirely her fault because the plot and script are incredibly muddled.

The first 25 minutes is spent setting the stage for the film, with several long monologues about the villains’ confusing motivations. Their plan makes little sense and is super complex for no apparent reason.

Typically, I have a hard time with films based on plays (especially one-location plays) and this one didn’t really hold my attention. All of the characters were uneven and annoying, and I found Hepburn’s Susy to be especially confusing. She was trying so hard to keep the villains from finding the doll, but I never understood her reason for hiding it from them. She had nothing to gain from keeping it, but everything to lose if she didn’t hand it over.

Wait Until Dark (1967) | MUBI

There was so much setup and the pay-off wasn’t satisfying enough. Though the final 20 minutes were pretty tense and I liked the creative use of complete darkness and using mostly sound to communicate with the audience about what was going on.

A lot of things that happened earlier on in the film seemed very random. Namely Susy’s child helper Gloria (Julie Harrod) throwing a tantrum about not shutting the fridge door coming into fruition later. But they felt so out of place when they happened at the time and the mere existence of their pay-off isn’t enough of a reasoning to have the scenes occur in the first place. The story feels convoluted for no reason except to just confuse the viewer.

Pulp International - Alan+Arkin

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Hepburn’s performance. She seemed like the wrong casting choice and didn’t show the range that Susy required, instead choosing to ham it up to the max. I still stand by the fact that characters with handicaps should not be played by able-bodied actors, but it was 1967 and even just having a blind character was a ~big deal~ unfortunately.

The film just makes no sense and that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of it. There’s a lack of continuity with the characters’ actions and choices, and the performances range from terrible to over the top to decent. It’s a jumbled mess of a film that’s mainly saved by the use of its one location and the cinematography. And it’s pretty respectful towards Hepburn’s blind character, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s not accurate, but hey, they tried.

Julie Herrod and Audrey Hepburn

I’ll also say that I’ve found that a majority of Hepburn’s films center around her character being used by men and yet she’s still incredibly dependent on them. This was a big part of Wait Until Dark; when one of the crooks pretends to be a helpful friend of her husband’s, Susy lets him into her house and immediately starts telling him all about herself and even lets him rifle through her apartment. I would have liked to have seen her be more independent and fend for herself from the get-go.

Also it was weird to see Alan Arkin young, and he looked like Spider-Man’s Doc Ock, so that was even weirder.

Dedicated Gore Whore — Harry Roat, Jr. (Wait Until Dark) - Weirdly...

Superlatives:

  • Favorite Scene: Susy vs. Roat
  • Favorite Character: None? They were all pretty one-dimensional.
  • Favorite Quote:

“How would you like to do something difficult and terribly dangerous?”

“I’d love it!”

  • Hepburn’s Performance: She was way too over-dramatic and a lot of her choices felt unnatural and awkward. I’d give her performance a 2/5.
  • Would I Recommend? No, it’s not a very good home-invasion thriller as most people say it is and the plot is super convoluted.

Overall Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

audrey cornell View All

Audrey is a self-proclaimed film buff who loves to watch, read, and write about movies. Her passions include queer & feminist studies, watching obscure 80s/90s and Old Hollywood films, and discovering new music. She also writes for Scribe Magazine. Check out her podcast about actors who died young!

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