Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom/USA, 1973. Brut Productions, Nightwatch Films. Screenplay by Tony Williamson, additional dialogue by Evan Jones, based on the play by Lucille Fletcher. Cinematography by Billy Williams. Produced by George W. George, Martin Poll, Barnard Straus. Music by John Cameron. Production Design by Peter Murton. Costume Design by Yvonne Blake. Film Editing by John Jympson.
The closest Elizabeth Taylor ever came to starring in a horror movie was her appearance in this quickie thriller that has only a few brief chill-worthy moments. She is recovering from a nervous breakdown, her husband (Laurence Harvey, in one of his last films, released the year he died) and best friend (Billie Whitelaw) at her side to help her get better. Taylor’s bedroom window looks onto the back of a giant, dilapidated house and one stormy night she believes she witnesses a murder through its swinging shutters. Police are summoned and the property investigated but no traces of human activity are found in the old house: did she see something or are her visions related to the cause of her breakdown? Harvey and Whitelaw become increasingly concerned about her welfare while Taylor becomes suspicious about what the two of them have cooking behind her back. Adapted from a play that is clearly more concerned with the manner in which women’s emotional issues are treated by modern day patriarchal society, this one does a poor job of being taken into genre territory, it’s a Rear Window where not enough happens to sustain interest and whose psychological suggestions of terror could stand to be bumped up a notch. Taylor’s technical perfection as a performer who spent her whole life in front of cameras still makes her endlessly reliable, however, and the concluding sequence’s dubious morality is delicious to behold (particularly since she really goes for it in the last few scenes).