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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Peeping Tom (1960)

Starring Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Brenda Bruce
Directed by Michael Powell
(actor & director credits courtesy

A young man obsessed with filming the terrified reactions of the women he murders falls for the young woman renting a room from him, and swears never to film her, as he continues his crimes.

This horror film from Michael Powell was controversial when released but has been greatly acclaimed since, and it deserves those accolades and more.  Boehm's psychosis, explained by cruel experiments performed on him by his scientist father, is chillingly presented, allowing us to see through the viewfinder of his camera via excellent cinematography by Otto Heller.  As disturbing as the images are, the sound that accompanies them is just as expert, with the whirring of Boehm's camera and the mechanical drone of his projector as he plays his films becoming as effective as screams on the soundtrack.  The world of this character is brought vividly to life by Powell's vibrant color scheme, which is beautiful to look at and draws us into the narrative, almost an antithesis of the film's dark content.  Powell also gets good performances from his cast, with Moira Shearer particularly unforgettable as a vivacious dancer, wonderfully photographed by Heller, whom we hope finds a way to escape as Boehm stalks her with his camera in a terrifically suspenseful sequence.

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