Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Wait Until Dark (1967)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Wait Until Dark (1967)

In this suspenseful, Hitchcock-like, classic claustrophobic crime thriller by director Terence Young - the female-in-jeopardy film told about the deadly search for drugs, unknowingly stashed in a rag doll; there were a number of shocking, scary moments, mostly in the nail-biting conclusion:

  • in the film's opening, a plane arrived from Montreal, Canada at JFK Airport; nervous heroin-smuggler Lisa (Samantha Jones) (with a rag doll stuffed with heroin) passed off the doll to a fellow passenger: professional photographer Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), the husband of a vulnerable blind woman named Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn); Lisa was intimidated by the sight of her psychotic and violent husband Harry Roat (Alan Arkin), after she had hidden and smuggled heroin inside the doll into New York City from Montreal, Canada
  • the doll (with drugs inside) was temporarily in the possession of Susy's helpful upstairs neighbor girl Gloria (Julie Herrod), before Susy later hid it inside her own ground-level Greenwich Village apartment
  • Lisa's two partners-in-crime were handsome and amiable two bit con-man/hustler Mike Talman (Richard Crenna) and his ex-cop partner Carlino (Jack Weston); they entered Susy's apartment where they expected to meet Lisa, but instead they found Roat, who offered them $2,000 dollars each to find the doll somewhere in the apartment; then they made the gruesome and shocking discovery of Lisa's corpse hanging in a plastic garment bag in Susy's closet, after she had been murdered for her perceived double-cross by Roat; Roat then framed and blackmailed Talman and as Lisa's killers (their fingerprints were all over the apartment), unless they located the missing heroin
  • Suzy was quickly victimized by the three criminals during their relentless search for the rag-doll; they used every elaborate scheme and manipulative tactic they could think of (trick voices, multiple false identities or disguises, fake phone calls, etc.) to dupe and con the helpless Susy into revealing the doll's whereabouts (as "evidence" in a fictitious infidelity case implicating Susy's naive husband Sam with the murdered woman who originally owned the doll).
  • Roat anticipated that he would be double-crossed by Talman and Carlino and so he murdered both of them; he ran over Carlino and then stabbed Talman in the back as he stood in Susy's doorway, before taking on the challenge of confronting Susy himself
  • in the final battle of wits inside Susy's claustrophobic apartment after Susy had smashed most of the light bulbs, she was confronted by Roat one-on-one, who coldly described how he had eliminated his partners, and how he wanted her to give up the doll. He put on plastic gloves, then stroked her face with a sheer nylon cloth:

    Roat: Did you know they wanted to kill me? I did. I knew it even before they did. They were awful amateurs, and that's why you saw through them.
    Susy: l saw through you, too.
    Roat: No, not all the way, Susy. Even now, not all the way. The lovely thing was the way l let them set it all up. All that silliness of meeting in the parking lot, the whole thing. They had comic-book minds, so we did it their way, right until the end. And then topsy-turvy - me topsy and them turvy.

  • when he suggested taking her to the bedroom (to rape or kill her?), she asked if he was looking at her: "Mr. Roat, are you looking at me?"- when he said he was, she tossed a vase full of flammable photographic hypo solution into his face
Roat Splashed with Hypo
  • she extinguished one of the last lights in the room, as he confronted her. Using all of her tactile skills, Susy retaliated by threatening to ignite his soaked body with a match; During the tense and chilling match-up between them, however, the cunning psychopath discovered the light in the refrigerator to illuminate the room (and put a towel in the door to prevent it from closing)
  • finally, Susy decided to hand over the doll - stashed in the bottom of her kitchen wastebasket, while she grabbed a long kitchen butcher knife for protection. Roat slashed open the doll and removed heroin packets, and then again suggested taking her to the bedroom; as he marched her across the room, she stabbed him in the abdomen; she retreated back to the living room where she found that her outer door was blocked

Roat's Jump-Scare Leap From the Dark With Knife

Dragging Himself Toward Susy With His Knife
Susy Unable to Escape - Hiding Behind Refrigerator Door
  • there was the exciting and extremely-scary jump-out-of-your-seat (or shock-leap) moment when the villainous, wounded and crazed Roat lunged with a knife from the dark bedroom hallway toward blind Susy. She screamed as he grabbed at her left ankle. He dragged himself across the floor using the knife blade, stalking her. She outwitted him by hiding behind the refrigerator door and pulling its plug, plunging her apartment into complete darkness. Would she survive his attack?
  • in the film's denouement, Susy's husband Sam found her collapsed behind the refrigerator door - she slowly emerged alive

Mike Talman's Discovery of Asphyxiated Lisa (Samantha Jones) in Susy's Closet Garment Bag

Villainous Roat (Alan Arkin)

Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn)

Terrorizing Susy With Fire

Susy: "Try lighting a match now, Mr. Roat!"

Roat Stabbed in the Abdomen

Susy Finding Outer Door Blocked

Susy Found In Film's Ending By Husband Sam Behind Refrigerator


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