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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Wait Until Dark [Blu-ray]


(Terence Young, 1967)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner Archive



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:47:41.455

Disc Size: 34,874,272,600 bytes

Feature Size: 31,392,036,864 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 24th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1821 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1821 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



Take a Look In the Dark (8:40)

• Trailer (2:36)

Warning trailer (1:08)





Description: Now two are left: Susy, recently blinded and still learning how to live in a sighted world, and Roat, a psychopathic killer. Roat wants a heroin-stuffed doll he thinks Susy has. All Susy wants is to survive. Dim the lights, check the door’s chain lock, and brace yourself for a chiller as polished as the steel of Roat’s blade. Audrey Hepburn earned her fifth Academy Award nomination as Susy. Alan Arkin is pure evil as Roat, master of disguise and accents. Jack Weston and Richard Crenna costar as his henchmen. Building to a heart-pounding one-on-one confrontation, Wait Until Dark belongs to the screen’s most memorable thrillers” (David Shipman, The Story of Cinema).



After a flight back home, Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) returns with a doll he innocently acquired along the way. As it turns out, the doll is actually stuffed with heroin, and a group of criminals led by the ruthless Roat (Alan Arkin) has followed Hendrix back to his place to retrieve it. When Hendrix leaves for business, the crooks make their move -- and find his blind wife, Susy (Audrey Hepburn), alone in the apartment. Soon, a life-threatening game begins between Susy and the thugs.



The Film:

An effective shocker which has the blind Hepburn alone in the house when psychotic villain Arkin and his hoodlum pals (Crenna and Weston) arrive to retrieve a doll containing heroin which her husband (Zimbalist) unwittingly brought through customs for them. The nail- biting climax, during which Hepburn turns the tables by smashing the light-bulbs and leaving the place in darkness, is a classic. Though based on a stage play (by Frederick Knott), the skilful use of interiors for once transcends the visual limitations.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Shortly after Audrey Hepburn finished filming Two For the Road (1967) with Albert Finney, the actress was once again on the road - this time to California. The actress and her husband Mel Ferrer left their home in Switzerland in January 1967 to begin preparations on Wait Until Dark (1967). A thriller in the Hitchcock mode, Hepburn would star and Ferrer would produce the movie which was based on a stage play by Frederick Knott, author of Dial M for Murder (1954).

In the film, Hepburn plays Susy Hendrix, a woman recently blinded in an accident and still learning how to adapt. She is often home alone while her photographer husband, Sam (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), travels from assignment to assignment. As Sam is returning from a business trip, he meets a woman in the airport who asks him to hold onto a doll for her. It turns out that the doll contains heroin and a man named Roat (Alan Arkin) is after it. Enlisting the aid of two con men (Richard Crenna and Jack Weston) to help him retrieve the drugs, Roat tries to insinuate himself into Susy's life after her husband departs on another trip. Together the three men concoct an elaborate scheme of deception in order to gain Susy's trust and locate the missing doll. Complicating the situation is the fact that Susy and Sam are unaware that a little girl in their apartment building had actually taken the doll. Eventually, Susy sees through Roat's scheme and realizes she is in grave danger. In the chilling climax, filmed mostly by the light of an open refrigerator, Susy is forced to fight for her life against a cunning psychopath.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Wait Until Dark appears pretty solid on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive. The 1080P image is thick will reasonably rich colors. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. There may be some modest fading but contrast exhibits consistently strong black levels. I see no signs of manipulation and it is an impressive presentation of a brilliant film. This Blu-ray has pleasingly visuals for the limited stage sets in the film. By modern standards this holds up well - no gloss, minor depth and a consistent image with reasonable detail.























Audio :

The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo at 1821 kbps (24-bit). It doesn't have any flaws but only a few agressiev effects are utilized in the film. The Henry Mancini (Operation Petticoat, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Experiment in Terror, Charade) score adds just the right amount of atmosphere and tension sounding crisp in the lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

There is an older video piece entitled Take a Look In the Dark running almost 9-minutes with interviews of Arkin, Mel Ferrer and others. We also get a trailer and a shorter 'Warning' trailer. No commentary (which the film deserves) and no liner notes.



A totally compelling film to curl up with on a late Friday night. Wait Until Dark works every time you see it - wonderfully acted by the limited cast and expertly realized by director Young.  The Warner Archive Blu-ray is the same old story - a good, nay very adept, a/v transfer here but no investment in some new extras - including a, worthy, commentary. Still a total gem of a film experience and one to definitely own in its best quality! 

Gary Tooze

February 8th, 2017



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