See No Evil (1971 film)
|See No Evil|
|Directed by||Richard Fleischer|
|Produced by||Martin Ransohoff|
|Written by||Brian Clemens|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|2 September 1971|
See No Evil, also known as Blind Terror, is a 1971 British psychological horror-thriller film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Mia Farrow as a recently blinded woman terrorized by a psychopath.
After being blinded in a horse riding accident, Sarah (Mia Farrow) visits her uncle's stately home. Out on a date with her boyfriend, Steve (Norman Eshley), she escapes the fate of her relatives (Dorothy Alison, Robin Bailey, and Diane Grayson), who are murdered, along with the gardener, at their home by a psychotic killer. Sarah returns from her date and spends the night in the house, unaware that three of her family members' corpses are strewn about the house.
Sarah eventually discovers the bodies. She also discovers a bracelet containing an engraved name on it, which she correctly assumes belongs to the killer. The killer – whose face is only shown to the audience in the film’s last scene (otherwise he is shown almost exclusively from the knees down, wearing jeans and distinctive leather boots) – returns, searching for the lost bracelet. He discovers Sarah, who manages to flee on horseback. Sarah encounters a family of gypsies and shows them the bracelet. They see the name "Jack" inscribed on it, and one of the gypsies, the head of the family Tom (Michael Elphick), concludes his brother, Jack, must be responsible, as he dated one of the murdered women from the estate. In an effort to save Jack, his brother Tom pretends to take Sarah to the police but, instead, locks her in a secluded shed. His plan is to then round up his family and flee the area.
Sarah escapes from the shed and is found by Steve, out searching for her. She tells him all she knows. Steve and his men leave Sarah at his house to recuperate and begin a search for the killer, who they assume is a gypsy. They come across the two gypsy brothers and are about to assault them when a frantic Jack explains that his brother suspected him of being the killer because of the name on the bracelet. However Jack insists he had nothing to do with it. They look at the bracelet again and see the name on it is actually "Jacko". Steve, upon learning the killer's real name, hurries back to his house, where it is revealed that one of his workers, left behind to guard Sarah, is Jacko (Paul Nicholas). At the house, Jacko, still searching for the bracelet, hides in the bathroom and cruelly watches sarah get undressed to take a bath, then searches through her clothes on the floor for his lost bracelet. When Sarah unintentionally grabs his hand while reaching for her clothes, he then attempts to drown Sarah in the bath, but Steve returns just in time to rescue her.
- Mia Farrow as Sarah
- Dorothy Alison as Betty Rexton
- Robin Bailey as George Rexton
- Diane Grayson as Sandy Rexton
- Brian Rawlinson as Barker
- Norman Eshley as Steve Reding
- Paul Nicholas as Jacko
- Michael Elphick as Tom
Interviewed in 1997, writer Brian Clemens recalled that he wrote the script 'on spec' and Columbia Pictures told him: "'Well, if Mia Farrow plays the lead, we'll buy it,' and she read it and liked it, and so they bought it and we shot it.'" Filming took place in Berkshire, England, with a mainly British cast and crew.
Reception and criticism
"See No Evil has its share of thrills. Cheap thrills, to be sure, but thrills none the less - and everything in the rest of Richard Fleischer's new movie... encourages us to value small favors. Attempting on the one hand to mean something and on the other hand trying to crank up the terror, Fleischer keeps suggesting confrontations between the rich and the poor, the old and the young, families with daughters to protect and men with warped desires. For all the potency of a camera movement, it can never have exactly the power of a conceptual image, and therefore "See No Evil" is better with its mindless terror than with its witless meaning. And although everything becomes far too much long before it is over, the movie is generally at it most ridiculous precisely where it hopes to make sense."
"For sheer suspense", wrote The Palm Beach Post, it "may well be without peer", but, while praising the performance of Mia Farrow, considered the 'fiendish gamut' of injury her character is subjected to could 'only be called sadism'.
Later reviewers have described the film as a 'creepy, atmospheric thriller', in the style of Terence Young's 1967 film Wait Until Dark, while critic John Derry highlights the way Mia Farrow is presented 'from the first moment' as 'the obvious victim'.
- Fleischer Just Not Much of a Talker Los Angeles Times 1 Aug 1971: q15.
- Wheeler W. Dixon (28 February 2000). The Second Century of Cinema: The Past and Future of the Moving Image. SUNY Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-7914-4516-7.
- Stafford, Jeff. "See No Evil (1971)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 4 November 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Greenspun, Roger (11 September 1971). "'Mindless terror, witless meaning': See No Evil 'has thrills' with Mia Farrow, and likable cast". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
Reprint of The New York Times review
- Benninger, Jerry (11 October 1971). "See No Evil: Sheer Suspense". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- Yoram Allon; Del Cullen; Hannah Patterson (2002). Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide. Wallflower Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-903364-52-9.
- Charles Derry (1988). The Suspense Thriller: Films in the Shadow of Alfred Hitchcock. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7864-6240-7.