Talk:Peeping Tom (film)

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References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • Sabbadini, Andrea (2001). "Watching Voyeurs: Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960)". In Gabbard, Glen O. Psychoanalysis and Film. International Journal of Psychoanalysis Key Paper Series. Karnac Books. ISBN 1855752751. 

Not a horror film[edit]

Note to categorisers: Peeping Tom isn't a horror film, it's a psychological thriller. There have now been two attempts to add this to the {{HorrorWikiProject}} -- SteveCrook 04:32, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

It is frequently included by both fans and critics in the horror genre. Doesn't that count for anything? David L Rattigan 12:12, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Not really if it's used incorrectly. There used to be a good definition of a Horror film on the Wikipedia. But I see that the current one has been messed about with and has lost any clear definition. Even by the vague definition as it currently stands, I don't see how it could be thought that this film was "designed to elicit fright, fear, terror, disgust or horror from viewers" in the same way that a horror film does. If the definition of a Horror film is made wide enough thyen every film ever made could be included in it. But I don't see what use that would be. In what way do you (or anyone else) think that Peeping Tom should be considered to be a Horror film? -- SteveCrook 23:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, Steve, it certainly fits the definition you offered: "designed to elicit fright, fear, terror, disgust or horror from viewers". However, that critics have traditionally placed it in the horror genre is surely the main point, since that ipso facto makes it a valid perspective on Wikipedia, where your and my opinions are not! (See WP:OR and WP:Sources.) David Pirie, for instance, treats it as a horror film, as does Jonathan Rigby, both authors of perhaps the foremost books on the British horror film. I can see where you are coming from, as I know you are a big Powell fan, but given the history of Peeping Tom being classified as horror in verifiable, critical, published sources, I don't think it can legitimately be excised from the Wikipedia Horror Project. David L Rattigan 12:38, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
But does people that write about horror films wanting to co-opt it as a horror film actually make it a horror film? Looking at that list of what makes a horror film, "designed to elicit fright, fear, terror, disgust or horror from viewers", how many of those actually apply? I don't think there's anything in there that provokes fright, fear or terror. I'd agree that it provoked disgust in contemporary reviewers but the bar has been raised a lot since 1960. And you can't really say that it's a horror film if it elicits horror because that's a circular definition. Remember that you never see any of the killings. The only death you see is that of the killer, Mark Lewis. I think it is often classified as a horror film because there is no other major category that people can put it in. The main feeling that it really elicits in most people is a deep sense of unease when they realise that they are feeling sympathy for a serial killer. -- SteveCrook 13:51, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I have added it to wikiproject horror, but have not changed the genre classification in the article. The simple fact that there are experts who classify it as horror is enough to make it notable for the development of the horror genre and that's what wikiproject horror is interested in. After viewing the movie myself, my classification would be a psychological thriller with horror elements, but my personal opinion really doesn't matter. If it scared audiences at the time, then it would have influenced horror movies (as well as thrillers). If we went by modern standards then even horror classics like Frankenstein (1931) would be ignored by the project. If there were a wikiproject thriller, it would obviously be added to that as well. Sp4cetiger (talk) 05:04, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
It's quite reasonable that it should be included in the wikiproject horror because then it can be studied by the members of that project as an example of something that is often classified as a horror film which doesn't really meet any definition of a horror film :)
You say "if it scared audiences at the time...", the key word there is "If". I have seen no evidence to suggest that anyone was ever scared by it, in the 1960s or at any time since then. It makes people feel uncomfortable when they realise that they are feeling sympathy for a serial killer and that they are as guilty of being a peeping Tom as the lead character is. There is usually some laughter from the audience at the humorous parts and the deliberate gags but I've never heard anyone scream or even gasp because they were scared as they watched it -- SteveCrook (talk) 14:01, 30 July 2011 (UTC)


The plot synopsis states Helen becomes frightened when Mark discovers her watching one of his films. This is not correct. She becomes terrified simply from watching the film itself, and is driven from her chair across the many things in this room, peeping through to see it again, then too horrified to continue once more. It's as she's running away that she runs into Mark. The filmmakers do not show us what Helen is watching, which in my point of view greatly increases the terror of the scene, since we must use our imaginations, which are working overtime, as usual, when filmmakers make these kind of imaginative sequences. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

It's just badly phrased in the article. It only says that she becomes frightened (or is she shocked more than frightened?) when she is watching the film. It doesn't say what frightened (or shocked) her -- SteveCrook (talk) 04:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Bad assertion[edit], have you got any sources to back up the assertion However, film critics have also noted that despite being one of the first of the 'slasher' genre, the poor quality of its acting make it closer to a comedy when shown to contemporary audiences. Odd pieces of dialogue such as actress Anna Massey's line: "I'd adore a glass of water." and Carl Boehm's overracting somewhat diminish the tension and horror of the film. Viewed from a modern perspective, audiences may well wonder whether the film's status is overrated.Until you do I think I'd better remove it as not NPOV SteveCrook 00:26, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I tried to remove it. The anonymous user reinstated it & ignored my requests for more information on their sources here & on their User talk page. I'll not get into an editing war so I've put it up for NPOV dispute resolution SteveCrook 01:34, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, "I'd adore a glass of water." gets no hits on Google other than those from this article. If the film critic is somebody other than herself/himself, then he/she doesn't seem to be on the web. - Victor Lighthill 01:32, 28 November 2005 (UTC)


In the first paragraph of the plot summary, it is stated that Mark Lewis is the antagonist:

The antagonist, Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm), meets a prostitute, covertly filming her with a camera hidden under his coat. Shown from the point-of-view of the camera viewfinder, tension builds as he follows the girl into her house, murders her and later watches the film in his den as the credits roll on the screen.

However, in the Themes section, the exact opposite is stated:

On the surface, the film is about the Freudian relationship between the protagonist and his father and the protagonist and his victims. However, several critics argue that the film is as much about the voyeurism of the audience as they watch the protagonist's actions.

So which is it? Is Mark Lewis the protagonist or the antagonist? Sincerely, Thrashmeister [ U | T | C ] 16:17, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Of those two, I would say that he's the protagonist, although that's not the best word to describe him as it usually applies to heroic leads. Maybe anti-hero would be better in the first case and the second case should just use Mark's name. He's certainly not the antagonist because he's not struggling against anyone else, only his own inner demons -- SteveCrook (talk) 20:30, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


The screenshot in the article, File:PT60.jpg, does not have a sufficient fair use rationale. There is nothing in the rationale that explains why the exact image should be used in the article. Please see File:American Beauty jail cell.png and File:Changeling closing sequence.png to understand how explicit the rationale needs to be. It has to be critical commentary about the film. Showing two actors in a scene from the film is not critical commentary. Erik (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

If there is not going to be any discussion rationalizing the screenshot, I will be removing it tomorrow. Erik (talk) 11:07, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Genuinely critical commentary needed[edit]

This is a terrible film. Not because of its subject matter, but because of the implausible story and generally "unstylish" direction. (To even talk about it in the same breath as Psycho is to commit a form of artistic sacrilege.) Hasn't Peeping Tom ever received the critical drubbing it deserves from a respected critic? WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 11:18, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Read the article. There was plenty of genuinely critical commentary when it was first released, from lots of respected critics. But since then, some of them have formally apologised and admitted that it is a great film. Other respected critics have also put it (and Psycho) on their list of great films of all times. Maybe you don't like it and don't appreciate it, but the Wikipedia isn't the place for personal opinions like that -- SteveCrook (talk) 14:06, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
It is, if it provokes an improvement of the article. The issue isn't whether I like or don't like the film. It's rather that you need to find a respected reviewer who's willing to speak the truth -- that the reasons for Mark's psychosis are so ludicrously complex and downright implausible, that they destroy our ability to believe the story. There is such a thing as over-explaining something to the point where you destroy it -- and Peeping Tom does this exceptionally well. WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 23:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
So the issue isn't whether or not you like it, but you feel that the only valid commentary that will "speak the truth" will be one that agrees with you? :) Have you read the Killer Reviews referenced in the article? -- SteveCrook (talk) 23:27, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Category dispute[edit]

Sorry Steve, but I have to go along with Lord Crayak on this one. It's not a snuff film, but snuff films in fiction is an appropriate category IMO. Clarityfiend (talk) 23:53, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it's such a wide-ranging category definition "Media where the plot concerns death being purposely filmed for either financial gain or the personal entertainment of the filmmaker(s)" that I suppose it does include this film, as well as every other film where anyone is killed. I think it's a bad category -- SteveCrook (talk) 00:34, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I realize that multiple movie database entries such as we have here are fairly common in movie articles. Still, they are rather redundant, so I'm not against removing some. The TCM and AllRovi could go.

The Reviews and articles site is a directory of links. There's some interesting, relevant information, but quite a lot of redundancy and trivia as well.

The Independent article 18 June 2010, 50th anniversary classics feature article should be a source if there is encyclopedic information in it that's not redundant. It doesn't belong in External links.

I removed the IMDB link for A Very British Psycho. It gives little or no information relevant to the topic of this article, and "A Very British Psycho" is already included and referenced in the article.

On set with Michael Powell by Pamela Green. Is a lengthy essay supposedly written by Green, mostly about her experiences during shooting. It is hosted on a fan site. I don't think it should stay. --Ronz (talk) 21:20, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

The documentary A Very British Psycho contains a lot of information about the film, why and how it was made, and rare interviews with Leo Marks, the writer and instigator.

The article by Pamela Green was written by her. It is on what was her own web site until she died. The site is now maintained as a fan site. But that doesn't detract from the quality or authenticity of the article which gives her view of what it was like to work with Michael Powell -- SteveCrook (talk) 23:59, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
So you are saying that the external link to A Very British Psycho is there to promote the film, not for the information linked. I've removed it as a promotion. Note again that the film is mentioned in the article and even used as a reference, so the link is redundant as well.
If that is indeed what the blog post is, but where on the blog is it identified as such? --Ronz (talk) 00:29, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
It's not a "blog", it's an article that was originally written for a magazine but they decided not to publish it. It's written in the first person by Pamela. Isn't that enough? Just read the first paragraph. Who else could have written that? -- SteveCrook (talk) 08:50, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
It's hosted at a blog. Do the owners of the blog explain this somewhere? Am I overlooking something? --Ronz (talk) 16:38, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Call it what you like, do what you like with it. I'm fed up with Wikipedia -- SteveCrook (talk) 00:04, 12 July 2013 (UTC)


The word, "Oon." defines Jason Cline's grammar. (Oo-oo-n) «Jason's awful grammar may kill your brain. Beware.»  — Preceding unsigned comment added by ShodowCresent556 (talkcontribs) 02:14, 27 October 2016 (UTC) 

Cleanup and Expansion[edit]

This article is poorly written, developed, and requires cleaning up and expansion. The Production section is way too short and needs to be expanded in more detail with proper citations given for its information. Having a "Comparisons" section seems unnecessary and should either be deleted or the information could be incorporated into other sections if appropriate. The Home media section is way too long, giving too much unnecessary detail on each home media release. This section only needs information on when and who released it and not the details on the features of each release, so it should be rewritten to incorporate this. The reception section also needs some work done to it, and should be separated into two sub-sections detailing its initial response and reevaluation/modern response as well as more reviews from notable critics added to it. The Cultural references section should be renamed "Legacy" and should include more information on the film's legacy and not be formatted into bullet points. There are so many things that need to be done to this article in order for it too meet Wikipiedia's guidelines and standards of a well developed and well written article.--Paleface Jack (talk) 16:07, 10 November 2016 (UTC)