This is one of those classics I can’t remember if I’ve seen, which usually means it’s been over 30 years if I did see it. And speaking of classics, if you’re not in a “Turner Classic Movies” mood, the action may seem to slow-paced and tame… and you might focus on the fact that this film was so clearly based on a play.
However, the excellent use of the main set, with all its many details gives you a fabulous sense of location which becomes critical in the heart-racing final 10 minutes or so of the film.
Before then, and what really tickled me with both my “writer” and “filmgoer” hats on was that every character has a point of view, corresponding motivation, and agency. This goes double for Audrey Hepburn as the blind protagonist, who pulls off a delicacy with fierceness as you may well imagine Audrey Hepburn can. Speaking of fierce, you’ll also want to check out the film for the performance of Alan Arkin, who is shown to be positively feral in the closing act. The image of him with the knife and the floor is villainy gold.
If you want to do a survey course of home invasion films, this is on the list.
I’ve been back and forth about exactly where this lands, but it’s that last factor of it being required viewing for many a filmmaker embarking on a tense thriller that leads me to give it four and half out of five stars. Again, if you’re not in a Turner Classic Movies mood, this really isn’t for you… and that goes double for the Henry Mancini song at the end. Jeez, lighten up, film snobs of my imagination.