“I know a good deal about you — almost everything there is to know.”
A mysterious asthmatic psychopath (Ross Martin) threatens to kill a bank teller (Lee Remick) and her sister (Stefanie Powers) if Remick doesn’t steal $100,000 for him — but Remick manages to call an FBI agent (Glenn Ford) whose team keeps a close eye on her safety.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Blake Edwards Films
- Glenn Ford Films
- Lee Remick Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
Blake Edwards’ follow-up to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) was this atmospheric “female in distress” thriller set in the hills, teeming streets, and landmarks of San Francisco. The opening moments are especially tense, as Remick is terrorized in the shadows of her garage by an unseen man (Martin) who spares no details in sharing what will happen to her and her sister if she doesn’t cooperate with his plans. Unfortunately, the rest of the screenplay fails to maintain this initial tension: Remick makes a phone call to the FBI (how does she get ahold of them so easily?), is threatened once again by Martin for doing so, then goes about her daily life, concerned for her safety but otherwise “free”. While Martin is clearly keeping a close eye on both Remick and Powers — even murdering a mannequin-designer (Patricia Huston) in her highly stylized apartment as a warning — the threat still feels diffuse.
Part of the problem is pacing: at over two hours long, there’s simply too much footage here, and too much time lapsing between and during scenes. Meanwhile, the inclusion of a sub-plot about Martin’s Asian-American lover (Lisa Soong) and her disabled son (Warren Hsieh) doesn’t do anything but confuse our understanding of Martin’s character and motivations (are we meant to sympathize with him after learning he’s been helping Soong with Hsieh’s expenses?). The climactic scene during a baseball game in Candlestick Park is nicely shot, but ultimately more atmospheric than truly suspenseful, given how many FBI men are literally swarming the joint. The film’s title is apt: this represents Edwards’ cinematic “experiment in terror”, one that’s nicely mounted but not entirely successful. Best/creepiest scene: Martin accosts Remick in a hallway, dressed as an old bespectacled woman in a hooded cape.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Lee Remick as Kelly Sherwood
- Fine use of location shooting
- Atmospheric cinematography
- Henry Mancini’s score
No, though it’s certainly worth a look by those interested in the genre. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.