Olivia de Havilland is recovering from a broken hip, and uses a home elevator to get to thesecond floor of her very big house. One this particular sweltering day, her smothered son drivesoff, accidentally bumping a electric pole with is car, and cutting off the power to the house justas the elevator is reaching the upper floor. De Havilland is trapped in a cage, suspended a goodfifteen feet off the floor. Then a wino discovers her predicament, and helps himself to some ofhe… possessions. The home invasion becomes utterly nightmarish, however, when psychoticJames Caan (in his first major role) and his two friends arrive.
Psychological torture, murder, breathtaking brutality and violence and twisted Oedipalfantasies are the order of the day in this deeply nasty thriller. The unpleasantness would bestartling today, and this 1964 effort comes across as Panic Room revisited by TennesseeWilliams. Thrillers are rarely this unapologetic, and more’s the pity.
The sound is in the original mono and a new 5.1 mix. The latter isn’t very different from theformer, and there are virtually no surround effects (though there are no misplaced surroundvoices, either). The music has a decent rear-speaker presence, however, particularly during thenerve-jangling credit sequence.
There is some grain present, in some shots more than others, but for each shot that’s a bitiffy in this department, there are several more that are damn near perfect in every aspect. Theimage is sharp, and the black-and-white tones are strong. You can almost feel the heat.
Sometimes, these discs released with no fanfare really make you sit up and take notice. Thisis one of them. No extras, but one helluva movie.