Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Peeping Tom, 1960

Another visionary director: Michael Powell. I was surprised to see Michael Powell’s notorious shocker PEEPING TOM get an outing on British television, even if on a minor horror channel, bet it was a surprise for regular views of its usually tepid fare. 
Though I have the dvd it was marvellous to watch it again, starting with that lurid opening with Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) following that prostitute (“It will be two quid”) into that alleyway off Oxford Street, London, as he films her with his camera with its spike and mirror so she can watch her own death …. This of course outraged people at the time, and supposedly finished Powell’s career. Like PSYCHO, also 1960, it re-defined the horror film and remains stunning cinema. Likewise that sequence with dancer Moira Shearer, from Powell's THE RED SHOES, followed by the amusing scenes at the film studio where Mark works, as we wait for the body to be discovered ...Like Hitch with PSYCHO Powell plays with our expectations of fear and dread, laced with humour.
Boehm is terrific and the others – Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Moira Shearer, Shirley Ann Field, and Brenda Bruce – are perfectly cast too. The plot is too well known to mention much here: loner Mark is obsessed with the effects of fear which dates from when his scientist father experimented with him when he was a child, now he has to kill and record his actions, as he gets to know that nice girl who lives below him, but her blind mother is suspicious as she hears him pacing around upstairs. The glamour photo industry of the time is nicely caught too, as a friend says, producing a glamour shot “You don’t get that in “Sight & Sound”! It captures that 1959 era nicely, what with the newsagent shop secretly selling porn, and the 'glamour' photography industry.

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