Wait Until Dark (1967) Poster


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In an interview, Alan Arkin talked about the Oscar nominations he received for his early major film roles (The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966) and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)). When asked if he was surprised that he was overlooked for "Wait Until Dark", his second movie, he replied: "You don't get nominated for being mean to Audrey Hepburn!"
During World War II, 16-year-old Audrey Hepburn was a volunteer nurse in a Dutch hospital. During the battle of Arnhem, Hepburn's hospital received many wounded Allied soldiers. One of the injured soldiers young Audrey helped nurse back to health was a young British paratrooper - and future director - named Terence Young who more than 20 years later directed Hepburn in Wait Until Dark (1967).
In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, Stephen King declared this to be the scariest movie of all time and that Alan Arkin's performance "may be the greatest evocation of screen villainy ever."
The role that eventually went to Alan Arkin was difficult to cast because the producers couldn't find actors willing to be cast in such a villainous role - not only terrorizing a blind woman, but terrorizing beloved Audrey Hepburn to boot! Alan Arkin later went on to say how easy it was for him to get the role because of the reluctance of other actors to take it.
During the credits there is no credit for costumes, this is because Audrey Hepburn herself picked the clothes she wore from the stores in Paris.
Audrey Hepburn's only horror film, despite it more commonly being categorized as a suspense-thriller.
As a way to get people to see the movie, the filmmakers made a print ad and cautionary trailer that read: 'During the last eight minutes of this picture the theatre will be darkened to the legal limit, to heighten the terror of the breathtaking climax which takes place in nearly total darkness on the screen. If there are sections where smoking is permitted, those patrons are respectfully requested not to jar the effect by lighting up during this sequence. And of course, no one will be seated at this time.' It worked and the film became a huge success because of it.
Each of the products in the refrigerator (an all-important prop) were carefully angled so that no brand names were recognizable.
Audrey Hepburn and director Terence Young visited a school for the blind to learn more about the visually impaired. Hepburn learned enough Braille to appear to be reading and writing it, although she really isn't, a fact which wasn't apparent to audiences until home video, with rewind and freeze frames. Susy's use of Braille is a change from the Broadway script, where she uses things like sugar cubes to keep track of phone numbers. Writing phone numbers in Braille is a better real-world choice, and realistic touch, that developed from Hepburn's meeting with blind people.
"Wait Until Dark" originated as a play by Frederick Knott (who also wrote "Dial M For Murder"). The play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City on February 2, 1966 and ran for 374 performances. Lee Remick starred as Susy Hendrix and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Robert Duvall, Mitchell Ryan and Julie Herrod were also in the cast. The play was directed by Arthur Penn.
Produced by Audrey Hepburn's then-husband, actor Mel Ferrer. Working on this movie together was a last-chance attempt to save their marriage, which ended one year later, in 1968.
Despite getting an Oscar nomination for this movie, Hepburn would not make another film until Robin and Marian (1976).
Although she later admitted that she didn't intend to do so, Audrey Hepburn retired from films after this role, turning down all parts offered to her in order to devote time to raising her children. She would eventually return to the screen several more times, beginning with Robin and Marian (1976).
Although Audrey Hepburn is given top-billing, she does not appear until over 21 minutes into the film.
Julie Herrod also played Gloria in the 1966 stage version.
In order to create a sense of unease, the film's composer Henry Mancini had his two pianists, Pearl Kaufman and Jimmy Rowles, playing instruments tuned a quarter tone apart. Initially uncertain as to whether this novel approach would achieve the desired end, Mancini was reassured in short order, when, after just a few takes of the main title, Kaufman turned to him and said, 'Hank, can we please take a break? This is making me ill!' 'She made my day,' the composer recalled fondly. 'The device was working.'
Jack L. Warner first considered George C. Scott for the role of Harry Roat and Robert Redford for the role of Mike Talman before casting Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna in the parts.
Audrey Hepburn was always the first choice to play Susy Hendrix in the film version.
During an interview for the DVD of the film, Alan Arkin claimed that he was once attending a viewing of the film when he heard what he called "a scream from like a thousand people, which scared the hell of me." When he asked what it was, the interviewer replied, "it's you!" Also, Arkin mentioned that this went on at screenings of the film for months, and at the climatic moment of the film, everyone went "berserk!"
Audrey Hepburn tried to get this film shot in Europe, but relented when she was told not filming it in the US might have led to the closure of underused studio facilities in Hollywood.
A revival of the play, directed by Leonard Foglia, opened on April 5, 1998 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 97 performances. The cast included Marisa Tomei, Quentin Tarantino, and Stephen Lang.
Actor Robby Benson makes his first film appearance in "Wait Until Dark". At age 10, he appears uncredited as a boy tossing a football in an early airport scene.
This film was ranked #55 on AFI's '100 Years, 100 Thrills' special.
Julie Andrews was considered for the role of Susy Hendrix.
Audrey Hepburn's film residence is at 4 St. Luke's Place in Manhattan.
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Sean Connery was mentioned in press as possible choice for role of Harry Roat.
The red sports car driven off by Suzy's friend is a Triumph TR3.
The location of Susy's apartment is listed in IMDb as 4 St. Luke's Place in Manhattan (New York, NY). These days the street is called Leroy Street (between 7th Avenue S. and Hudson). The park seen across the street from the apartment is Hudson Park.
Lee Remick was nominated for the 1966 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Drama for "Wait Until Dark".
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After Susy knocks on the apartment door, Sam says "Susy, is that you?" She answers, "No, it's Batman." Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Sam) went on to play Alfred Pennyworth on "Batman: The Animated Series" in the 1990's.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In "The Book of Lists: Horror", the climactic heart-stopping confrontation between Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin is #1 on Stephen King' list.
The film's climax between Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin is #10 on Bravo's TV's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments (2004).

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