Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Peeping Tom (1960)

Director: Michael Powell
Writer:    Leo Marks
Cast:       Katlheinz Bohm, Anna Massey, Moria Shearer

A young man with voyeuristic behavior murders women using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of fear.

The Peeping Tom character 'Mark Lewis' was used by his scientist father as a guinea pig for his studies on fear and nervous system. He never experienced privacy during his childhood and this experience growing up has led him to invade other people's privacy subjecting them to the terror he faced as a child. He falls in love with a young woman from the floor downstairs to his home and while this does not stop him from his usual activities, he cares about the girl and actively tries not to capture her on camera and thus end up killing her. 

The film at the center  of it has a character who do terrible things but for whom we feel sympathy for. Not surprisingly it got widespread criticism upon release. Directed by Michael Powell of the Powell-Pressburger duo, it is said that Peeping Tom was a huge setback for Powell's career as a director in England. Over time it has gained a cult following and people like Scorsese consider it as a masterpiece and rightly so. One will be reminded  of Hitchcock and can positively say that this film would have influenced several Polanski films (Apartment Trilogy). Considering its release year of 1960, it is kind of a bridge between the Hitchcock films before 60s and the much more surreal fare from Polanski in the 60s.

Rating: 4.5/5