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WAIT UNTIL DARK ($20) is a highly enjoyable little thriller featuring memorable performances from Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. Sure the movie is very stagy, but then again, there arenít too many ways that one can open up a single set stage play on film, especially when the necessities of the plot limit the action to that single setting. In WAIT UNTIL DARK Hepburn portrays Susy Hendrix, a recently blinded young woman who finds herself victimized by a psychotic criminal named Roat (Arkin) and his accomplices. Roat is after a doll containing a valuable shipment of heroin, which Susyís husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) unintentionally picked up in the airport. Creating an elaborate charade, Roat hopes to force a frightened, blind Susy into revealing the dollís whereabouts. The cast of WAIT UNTIL DARK also features Richard Crenna, Jack Weston, Samantha Jones and Julie Herrod.

Warner Home Video has made WAIT UNTIL DARK available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This is a pretty nice transfer, although there are some minor flaws in the presentation, due to the film elements, which do show some signs of age. During the presentation, blemishes creep up here and there, and while they are never particularly excessive, the DVD would have been more satisfying had they been cleaned up digitally. Additionally, colors seem a bit off in places, but for the most part they are nicely saturated and stable. The image itself is fairly sharp and pretty nicely defined. There are a few shots that appear a bit soft, but this is not a major concern. Blacks are accurate, whites are clean and contrast is very solid. Shadow detail is good for a film of this vintage, although there are sequences that are purposely dark and remain that way. Digital compression artifacts are usually well concealed.

WAIT UNTIL DARK comes with a perfectly acceptable Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. This is a dialogue driven drama, so the limitations in fidelity are not really a big concern for the presentation. The filmís musical score can sound a bit reedy in places, but it takes a bit of amplification without any signs of distortion. Additionally, most traces of background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process. Dialogue itself is always completely understandable, although the timbre of voices isnít always consistent. A French language track is also included on the DVD, as are French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as few extras. A Look In The Dark is an eight-minute program featuring actor Alan Arkin and producer Mel Ferrer (who was also Audrey Hepburnís husband at the time), who share their recollections of the production of the film. Stage Frantics is a text essay that provides a brief look at the various stage and screen incarnations of WAIT UNTIL DARK. A theatrical trailer closes out the extras.

WAIT UNTIL DARK is a very enjoyable little thriller that features some fine work from both Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. If you are a Hepburn fan, or enjoy a good thriller, then you should definitely check out WAIT UNTIL DARK on DVD.



Wait Until Dark (1967)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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