Sunday, November 5, 2017

Experiment in Terror

The name Blake Edwards is usually synonymous with comedy. The Pink Panther series, Victor/Victoria, Operation Petticoat, The Great Race...apart from the occasional romance, this was how his legacy was shaped. But in 1962, he had two San Francisco-set films starring Lee Remick that were most definitely not comedies.

The most famous of the two is Days of Wine and Roses, which got Remick her lone Oscar nomination. The other was Experiment in Terror, which is decidedly more diabolical than Edwards' other works. (Seeing that it opens with Remick's Kelly Sherwood being threatened by a shadowy figure in close-up, that explains everything right there.)

Alongside Remick is Glenn Ford, a regular amongst film noir. As FBI agent John Ripley, he does a role similar to The Big Heat in that he'll seek justice by any means possible. (Okay, not in the same ruthless ways as Dave Bannion.) But will Ripley succeed in capturing the raspy-voiced sociopath?

In very stark contrast to Edwards' other films, Experiment in Terror is not interested in the sake of laughs. (Same with his other 1962 release.) It's an anxious picture, borrowing cues from the likes of noirs past. (It's also one hell of a follow-up to Breakfast at Tiffany's, that's for sure.)

Experiment in Terror may not be Edwards' usual fare but boy, he certainly knows what he's doing. (Apparently, his output from that year convinced him to focus more on the sillier side of life afterward.) And with it being released in a very stacked year for movies, it's clear as to why it's not as known as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Miracle Worker. But should that fact lessen one's curiosity towards it? Of course not.

My Rating: ****

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