Wednesday 7 November 2018

See No Evil aka Blind Terror - 1971 film review

See No Evil is an unsettling film with a good cast led by Mia Farrow, who plays a young woman blinded in a riding accident. Like Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark, she finds herself menaced by a bad person, and all in all, she has an absolutely rotten time. I have mixed feelings about the film, but at least it avoids the hoary plot twist in which all the lights go out and the blind person being victimised is at last put an even footing with the person menacing him or her.

The script was written by Brian Clemens, a very fine television writer (he was responsible for some of the best scripts for The Avengers, among much else) but not as successful with the movies. The story is full of tension, with a few genuinely terrifying scenes, but I felt that the need to focus on suspense meant that short cuts were taken with the characterisation. Only Farrow's character, Sarah, is presented in any depth, and even aspects of her life and personality remain enigmatic.

Having left hospital, Sarah returns home, or rather to the posh home of her uncle (the always watchable Robin Bailey), aunt, and cousin (Diane Grayson, whose career in acting seems not to have gone much further after this film), and tries to adapt to life without sight. The part of her boyfriend Steve, who still cares for her, is played by Norman Eshley, a good actor who was once a fixture on our television screens. Apparently Eshley suffered terrible injuries in a car crash in France in the 90s, but he continues to work, and can be seen on Youtube endorsing Talking Pictures TV, on which I found this film. The cast also includes Michael Elphick and Paul Nicholas.

We know from the start that a mysterious man, whose face is not revealed, seems to be stalking Sarah's uncle, and in due course murder is committed. The tension rises as we wonder how on earth the endlessly suffering Sarah can possibly survive, but the genuine suspense does not quite compensate for the plot holes (what on earth happened to the police when the alarm was raised?), or for the lack of interest in the villain's motivation. Farrow's performance is convincing, although the soundtrack, by the usually effective Elmer Bernstein, is at times obtrusive - John Barry would have done a much better job with material of this kind. Anyway, despite my reservations about the film, I kept watching and the scary bits were truly scary. 

1 comment:

Andre Michael Pietroschek said...

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Have a nice weekend!