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Experiment in Terror
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Experiment in Terror More at IMDbPro »

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43 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Solid Crime Story With Nice Cast

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
11 February 2006

Although it's two hours long and there is nothing much resembling today's blood and guts-action-a-minute thrillers, this 1960s crime story still entertains, thanks to an interesting cast.

Sure, they could have chopped off 15 minutes of this to make it a bit tighter but watching Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers and Ross Martin isn't all bad, especially Remick, a gorgeous woman with one of the sweetest, softest voices I've ever heard. Powers, 19 when she filmed this, was easy on the eyes, too. Martin is effectively creepy as the asthmatic killer and Ford is good as the no-nonsense FBI man after him. I look at Ford as one of the better and underrated actors of his generation.

The DVD also shows off some nice film noir-type photography to its best. The clothing, cars and hairstyles might be a little out-of-date but the dialog isn't, and it's refreshing to watch a crime film without today's profanity laced through it.

Overall, it''s solid film-making.

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39 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

A Film That Lives Up To Its Title

9/10
Author: Rich-99 from New York
14 April 1999

"Experiment in Terror" is a superb example of how to scare the hell out of you without a trace of gore, blood or gratuitous violence. For all intents and purposes this is a police procedural where the aim is to track down a stalker/blackmailer/murderer. Filmed in black and white the film revels in darkness and uses it to create its more unsettling moments. Imagining what we are barely seeing in the dark and letting our imaginations run wild is scarier than seeing a graphic depiction. Ford and Remmick turn in excellent performances under Blake Edwards' deft direction. Best of all is Ross Martin as the world champion heavy breather. Martin is generally known for more lighter roles but his rather sinister turn here is very fine. Stark photography, often at night, and a subtle yet unsettling score by Henry Mancini are icing on the cake. To be watched with the lights out.

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37 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Did this inspire David Lynch?

9/10
Author: jwaterman from Seattle
10 July 2003

Just saw this movie for the first time and the DVD transfer just released is fine.

From the moment this film opens, I couldn't help but wonder how many times Lynch has seen this movie. Those of you who've seen Experiment should know what I mean.

The score, the angles, the subdued dialogue all help to create one heck of a moody, brooding piece of work. I couldn't agree more with some of the other IMDB comments here...this is a great piece of film noir, if not the last great piece of film noir for a particular generation!

What I so admire about classic film-making from years past is how directors, like Blake in this instance, don't or couldn't resort to gratuitous blood and nudity to creat atmosphere. Unlike Lynch, who exploits graphic gore and nudity, Blake thrills with mere thoughts of sexual deviency and violence.

The opening scene to Experiment is one I shall not forget soon! As our villain forces himself on Remick and proceeds to dirty her ears with the filth of what he could do to her is just simply incredible film-making. It reminded me of the scene from Lynch's Wild at Heart where Dafoe's character has Dern's character in his filthy clutches. Except in Experiment, I think it works even better...why? Because there were no profane words or over-the-top characterizations, just simple text and superb acting that later matches a villain who seems quite normal as he strolls the streets of San Fran. I really believed the characters in this film...Blake puts everyone in context.

Congrats to Blake Edwards on his only serious movie...I wish you had done more! And, Mancini is as sly as ever on the score. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed this movie and am happy to have it as part of my DVD collection. Although, I'd love to see Criterion get a hold of this one...I'd love to learn more about the history of this film.

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31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

"A successful experiment in terror."

Author: bengleson from British Columbia
29 September 2002

There are so many things to praise about this frightening little picture. The performances are uniformly excellent. San Francisco is captured in a 40 year old time capsule yet the fear and terror are as vivid in 2002 as they must have been in 1962. Ross Martin is an able and elusive villain with some ability to engender loyalty in friends. As has been noted, the terror visited on Lee Remick's character Kelly Sherwood, is real and intense and persistent. In an age that equates terror with fanaticism and major special effects, all that this little noir required was poor breathing, a telephone, skilled camera work, great performances and a slam-bang script. Bravo.

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27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Great thriller from Blake Edwards

7/10
Author: FilmOtaku (ssampon@hotmail.com) from Milwaukee, WI
20 April 2004

Since my exposure to Blake Edwards beyond his comedies has only been `Days of Wine and Roses', which is one of the most depressing films I've ever seen, I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of a thriller from a director who I largely respect. `Experiment in Terror' which stars Lee Remick and the always great Glenn Ford, turned out to be an outstanding and slick film which was thoroughly enjoyable.

While the story, about a bank teller who is threatened with the kidnapping of her younger sister if she doesn't steal 100K from her employer, and the FBI agent (Ford) who tries to both protect her and find out who the extortionist is, does not rely on cheap thrills in order to create suspense. Rather, the black and white film and noir-like shadows help build the tension while not taking away from the story. The cinematography is extremely crisp, and, like many well-made noir films of the 40's-mid 60's, you can almost imagine each frame as a beautiful photograph.

While I'd never heard of this film until coming across it on one of the movie channels, it is well worth looking for.

--Shelly

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Excellent and suspenseful

8/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
8 February 2006

Glenn Ford is an FBI agent; Lee Remick is the victim of someone she's never seen in "Experiment in Terror," directed by Blake Edwards and also starring Stefanie Powers and Ned Glass. Remick is very effective as a plucky bank teller who's approached from behind and told to steal money from the bank where she works. The only thing she can tell the FBI is that it's a man who has heavy, asthmatic breathing.

Ross Martin plays the criminal. He's a thief and murderer; he also is in love with a Chinese woman and is paying for her son's operation. Her terrorizes Remick and her sister (Powers). Martin really died too soon. He was a wonderful actor, and this was a great role for him.

Glenn Ford is a dream FBI agent, and why do I think there are no FBI agents like this? He's gentle, kind, and concerned, not to mention handsome. He has a nice chemistry with Remick.

There are some great scenes in "Experiment in Terror." One of the best takes place in the apartment of a woman who makes mannequins; and several take place right at the beginning, when Martin accosts Remick and later surprises her in her home. The scene in which he kidnaps Stefanie Powers is downright scary. Powers is unbelievably young here, but she was a good actress even then and gives a convincing performance.

The big scene takes place in Candlestick Park which several posters have written about. Not having their expertise, I won't.

I really love the atmosphere Blake Edwards created in this film, and I love the casting of Ford, Remick, Martin, and Powers. This is a fine film, definitely worth a watch if you want to see how good movies are made. Suggested rather than shown violence, no special effects, black and white - yet it still works.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Before the concept of "serial killer" really caught on.

10/10
Author: theowinthrop from United States
22 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the film that really established character actor Ross Martin as a superb performer. Up to 1962 he had become a face on television shows, such as a couple of episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. But he was possibly best known for appearances on PANTOMINE QUIZ, which showed his own wit and talents - but very lightly. He had not been given a sizable acting part in a film, and Blake Edwards cast him here as "Red" Lynch, the asthmatic criminal mastermind, who uses and abuses women across the country, leaving their bodies as his calling card.

In 1962 there had been several cases of spree killers in recent years, such as Starkweather in Nebraska only five years earlier. But the last serial killers of note were probably the "Lonely Hearts Killers" Beck and Fernandez in the late 1940s. But to find one like Lynch, who criss-crosses the country and leaves victims, one would have to go back to the 1920s or so, with figures like Charles Pazram, Albert Fish, and Earle Nelson. But (except for Pazram, who occasionally committed burglaries), most of the serial killers concentrated on depraved sexual killings of one type or another. One would have to go back to H.H.Holmes to find one like the fictional Lynch, forcing his victims to assist him in thefts or robberies. As for the concept of these special multiple killers as "serial killers", the title had not become popular with the public in 1962. It really was not until the 1980s, with figures like De Salvo, Corona, Dahmer, Gacy, and Bundy that people started to discuss killers who moved about and killed over several states over a long period of time as in a special category.

Lynch also has two other characteristics. One is that he is asthmatic. The idea of any villain having a physical condition that might gain him or her sympathy was a new one (but Blake Edwards always has a habit of thinking ahead on his movie characters). Secondly, Lynch turns out to be a hero to at least one little family. Despite his propensity to murderous rage and violence, he actually cares for a young sickly boy and his mother. This too, by the way, is not unusual among serial killers. They can pick out somebody to be domestic with - a kind of oasis of quiet and apparent normality in their world of violence.

From the start of the picture, the villain is shown and not shown. We see Martin's lips moving in their threatening manner when he confronts Lee Remick in her suburban garage, informing her how easy it is for him to get at her and her sister Stephanie Powers, unless she agrees to help rob her business for Lynch's/Martin's sake. The scene is mostly in the dark - like evil snatching at Remick (which it really is). Martin's features are only revealed later in the film, as Glenn Ford slowly pulls the clues together. But he gets real mileage with the little we occasionally see - watch him on the phone, accusing Remick of talking to a cop. He makes the word "cop" sound like a slang term for a venereal disease.

Remick is a woman who is very reluctant to get police help, especially as this unknown fiend has threatened her sister as well as herself. She goes to Ford (the local FBI man) and almost is lost to further openness about her danger, but Ford is soon aware of a second woman who also was trying to contact him - one that he was too slow to respond to - whom he finds as a corpse. Soon he is openly seeking out Remick, and gradually getting her to trust him and the Bureau to assist her and Powers.

All of the leads are fine in this, as well as Ned Glass in another one of his off-beat supporting roles. Here, as "Popcorn" he is an informant who has to be treated like he is a detective if you would get information from him - and he is prickly about this.

The suspense never lets up, as "Lynch"/ Martin seems to keep one step ahead of the authorities up to the conclusion at a baseball game. It is an exciting climax for a good thriller. And afterward, while Martin never had the full movie stardom his talents deserved, he was more than just an interesting "face". Artemus Gordon was around the corner, and television fame beckoned.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Ross Martin is Sensational! Best scenes even filmed at a baseball stadium!

10/10
Author: irish44 from Washington, DC
11 July 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's San Francisco in the very early 1960's. We've never heard of Inspector Harry Callahan of the SFPD. The Giants have recently moved to town from New York. When they play the Dodgers, it's always a sellout. And tonight, the Dodgers are in town and Don Drysdale is pitching. Great night to be at Candlestick Park if you're a baseball fan, or if you're a psychopathic extortionist!

Ross Martin is absolutely terrifying as the asthmatic extortionist who kidnaps little sister Stephanie Powers and demands $100,00 from bank teller Lee Remick. Glen Ford gives perhaps his finest performance as the FBI agent in charge of the investigation. Martin instructs Remick to deliver the payoff to a sold out Candlestick Park during a Giants-Dodgers game. Real major league stars make cameos during the baseball scenes.

The late Ross Martin is sensational! If you've never seen this film, I promise you won't be disappointed.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A taut psychological thriller

9/10
Author: Aldanoli from Ukiah, California
5 August 1999

Before Ross Martin became the amiable Artemus Gordon on "The Wild, Wild West," and before Blake Edwards began making those Pink Panther movies, they joined up for this complex, thoroughly convincing story of a sadistic thief who terrorizes bank teller Lee Remick to gain her complicity in a heist. Edwards makes effective use of the San Francisco locations, of Glenn Ford's portrayal of a tough FBI agent, and of Henry Mancini's jazzy score to weave this taut, psychological suspense tale.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Night And The Foreboding City

8/10
Author: Noirdame79 from Canada
11 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While director Blake Edwards is not predominantly known for his thrillers, this 1962 noirish entry is gripping and frightening - particularly the first hour. Henry Mancini provides an unnerving "mod" score similar to the one he would for Stanley Donen's "Charade" a year later. Shot in black in white, restored to widescreen format on DVD, the San Francisco locations (including the Golden Gate Bridge and Candlestick Park) gives this film a interesting aura.

Lee Remick is a young bank teller named Kelly Sherwood, who lives with her teenage sister, Tobey (Stefanie Powers). One night she is accosted in her own garage by an asthmatic psychopath, "Red" Lynch (Ross Martin, menacingly frightening), who promises to kill her and her sister if she doesn't go along with his scheme to rob her bank. He informs her that he is aware of her every move and is not afraid to resort to violence if she does not go along with his scheme. The shaken young woman contacts FBI agent John Ripley (Glenn Ford) who does all that he can to protect the sisters and explore every angle he can to bring Lynch down. He soon discovers that this sadistic criminal has a penchant for women who can get him loot, and then leaves their battered corpses for all their effort. Nancy Ashton (Patricia Huston) is one such lady who contacts Ripley for help but her fate is already sealed (watch the eerie, voyeuristic sequence in her mannequin filled apartment - shiver).

It begins to drag a bit in the second hour, with the introduction of a Chinese woman, Lisa (Anita Loo) who is an unwitting file cabinet for Lynch - the evil killer is paying for her handicapped son's medical treatment. While this element may not have been needed, Ford's interaction with the boy is utterly touching, as is his concern for Kelly and her younger sibling. When Lynch is able to catch hold of Tobey for leverage, he debates whether to molest her or not (forcing her to undress), but for some reason, cannot go through with it. With Kelly in the crossfire, Ripley and his fellow agents close in on him in a memorable climax in Candlestick Park's baseball stadium.

Unlike the gratuitous violence and nudity often found in films today, "Experiment In Terror" relies on plot development, effective camera angles and concentrated performance in order to bring out fear in the viewer, and for the most part, it does it in spades. Ford's courageous, quiet embodiment, Remick's strong yet gentle performance and Stefanie Power's moving, sweet vulnerability give this taut movie all that it requires. And Ross Martin is the perfect villain - menacing, stalking, cold-blooded, manipulative, and deadly! And by all means, keep the lights on! The DVD features subtitles and two trailers, "The Big Heat" and "The Lady From Shanghai".

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