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How Awful About Allan (1970)

TV Movie  -   -  Thriller  -  22 September 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 398 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 10 critic

After an eight-month stay in a mental hospital, a tormented man comes home to live with his sister; but a mysterious boarder may be trying to kill him.



(teleplay), (novel)
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Title: How Awful About Allan (TV Movie 1970)

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Complete credited cast:
Kent Smith ...
Robert H. Harris ...
Dr. Ellins
Molly Dodd ...
Billy Bowles ...
Harold Dennis
Trent Dolan ...
Dr. Ames (as William Erwin)
Jeannette Howe ...
Katherine - Child
Kenneth Lawrence ...


After a fire which killed his father and scarred his sister, a guilt-ridden victim of psychosomatic blindness is released from a mental hospital and goes back home to stay with his estranged sister. However, it appears that someone is out for revenge and wants to drive him crazy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Tense Psychological Thriller See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some violent images and mild thematic elements | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

How Awful About Allan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Anthony Perkins had special contact lenses made that he could barely see through, so he'd actually be nearly blind while filming his scenes. He popped the lenses in just prior to filming and was led onto the set by a crew member. See more »


When Katherine and Olive go to Allan's room after Allan destroys the tape recorder, you hear the firm knocking on the door before Katherine even touches the door and after she touches the door. See more »


[after rescuing his sister from a house fire]
Allan: I'm blind.
See more »

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User Reviews

Moody, creepy, intense, and effective psychological thriller.
15 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

For some inexplicable reason, this telefeature is but rarely accorded the respect it merits. In point of fact, it is a most accomplished, gripping, and well acted affair, from the days when a "made for TV" movie, could still boast performers, writing, and technical credentials of the first water.

The story is an intense, psychological study of a young man suffering from hysterical blindness following the death of his professor father in a fire. Set in a large, shadowy, Victorian house, this very Gothic story hinges on the sibling rivalry between the young man and his spinster sister, both of whom blame themselves, in different ways, for their father's demise. Eventually, the young man's sanity begins to give way, in the face of a series of inexplicable hauntings, which may, or may not be supernatural. Only the denouement will tell.

With its pronounced subtext of repressed, family guilt, the film has literary antecedents in the work of Shirley Jackson, Walter De La Mare, and Nathanial Hawthorne.

Starring a cast of major (big screen) movie and stage actors, this film has everything that is conspicuously absent in current television: an excellent musical score, evocative photography, muted lighting, accomplished art direction, an interesting premise and script, intelligent dialogue, (gasp!)and a very good sense of pacing.

Add to that, a baseline story that improves on the novel upon which it was based, (yes I read it) and you have a viewing experience very different from the "made for TV's" of today, which are,(I'm told--since I don't watch them) an endless stream of tedious, politically correct, AIDS,Anorexia, and spouse abuse victim propaganda studies--I believe the catch phrase is "victim of the week" stories.)

All in all, "How Awful About Allan" serves as a sad reminder of what was still artistically possible in the world of commercial television, in the not too distant past.

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