I Saw What You Did
|I Saw What You Did|
Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||William Castle|
|Produced by||William Castle
|Screenplay by||William P. McGivern|
|Based on||Out of the Dark
by Ursula Curtiss
|Music by||Van Alexander
|Edited by||Edwin H. Bryant|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
I Saw What You Did is a 1965 American horror film released by Universal Pictures and starring Joan Crawford and John Ireland. The plot follows two teenage girls who find themselves in serious danger after making a prank phone call to a man who has just murdered his wife. The screenplay by William P. McGivern was based upon the 1964 novel Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtiss. The film was produced and directed by William Castle.
When two mischievous teens Libby (Andi Garrett) and Kit (Sara Lane) are home alone with Libby's younger sister Tess (Sharyl Locke), they amuse themselves by randomly dialing telephone numbers asking prank questions, telling whomever answers: "I saw what you did, and I know who you are." Libby places a call to Steve Marak (John Ireland), a man who has recently murdered his wife, Judith (Joyce Meadows) and disposed of her body in the woods. Believing he has been found out, he decides to track down the caller to silence her.
Marak's neighbor Amy (Joan Crawford) is in love with him and has been trying to woo him away from his wife. She finds out about the murder. Libby fatefully decides to get a look at Marak because she was intrigued by his voice and takes an increasingly frightened Tess and Kit in her parent's car to Marak's address. Amy discovers Libby and chases her off, thinking she's preventing Marak from meeting with a younger lover but inadvertently saving the girl from being murdered by Marak, who has seen her and grabbed a knife. Amy also snatches Libby's mother's car registration from the car seat before Libby drives away, and gives it to Marak, telling him to keep it as a souvenir, his last "Suzette" (meaning involving himself with a much younger woman like his deceased wife). Amy tries to blackmail him into marrying her, telling him she knows about his wife, but he stabs her to death after they have a drink. Libby's mother's identification has the family address and phone number, which Marak then uses to track down the girls. He calls asking if her parents are home. She innocently answers no, and he sets out to her home.
During this time the parents have been unable to contact the girls by phone. A policeman arrives at Libby's home to investigate just after the girls arrive at the house. Libby swears Kit to secrecy over their misadventure. Kit's father arrives to take her home. While he drives her home, the car radio announces that a woman's body was found in the woods with a description of the man seen leaving the burial site.
Marak enters the home and questions Libby and Tess about the call. Libby convinces him it was just a prank. He returns her mother's identification and leaves but waits outside. Kit calls and Libby describes Marak. Kit tells her that he matches the description of the killer just reported on the radio. Marak overhears this and enters to silence Libby and Tess but they evade him. Kit tells her father and he calls the police. Libby tries to escape but cannot start her parents' car. Marak emerges from the back seat and starts to strangle Libby, but he is shot by a police officer. Libby and Tess return to their home to await their parents' return from Santa Barbara.
- Joan Crawford as Amy Nelson
- John Ireland as Steve Marak
- Leif Erickson as Dave Mannering
- Sara Lane as Kit Austin
- Andi Garrett as Libby Mannering
- Sharyl Locke as Tess Mannering
- Patricia Breslin as Ellie Mannering
- John Archer as John Austin, Kit's father
- John Crawford as State Trooper
- Joyce Meadows as Judith Marak
- Tom Hatten as Gerald Nyes
Advertisements for the movie read, "William Castle warns you: This is a motion picture about UXORICIDE!" and, in an early trailer for the film, Castle advised the audience that a section of the theater would be installed with seat belts for audience members "who might be scared out of their seats". The advertised gimmick was abandoned prior to the release of the film and never actually used. The trailer of the film has the announcer saying repeatedly: "DON'T ANSWER IT!!!".
Howard Thompson called it a "generally broad and belabored expansion of a nifty idea"; he considered redundant the "middle chapter" of the film, "involving the aroused, snarling killer" and thought the film should have "held to the impressionable viewpoint of the youngsters."
Saturday Review noted, "Unfortunately, there is little for the eye, ear, or mind in [the film]... The call, from teen-age pranksters [Lane and Garrett] probably seemed like a good "gimmick" on which to base an entire film. It isn't."
Variety commented, "[The film] is a well-produced, well-acted entry in the suspense-terror field. ... [Crawford's] slightest gesture or expression ... conveys vivid emotion."
I Saw What You Did was released on VHS and Region 1 DVD on August 24, 1999 by Anchor Bay Entertainment; both releases are long out of print. On May 23, 2014, it was re-released as an exclusive DVD-R by Universal as part of its Universal Vault Series, but in a full frame presentation.
Remake and re-release
- Thompson, Howard (July 22, 1965). "Thriller Double-Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, January 5, 1966, pg. 36
- I Saw What You Did at The New York Times
- The William Castle Story from horror-wood.com
- I Saw What You Did trivia at the Internet Movie Database
- "I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are!". Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
Factoid: In an early trailer for this film, gimmick king Castle promised the audience a gimmick of seat belts for the seats in a section of the theater to help audience members "who might be scared out of their seats." This concept was never followed through with, and the picture came out with no gimmicks attached.
- Quirk, Lawrence J. (1968). The Films of Joan Crawford. The Citadel Press.
- I Saw What You Did (TV 1988) on Internet Movie Database
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