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Night Watch (1973)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 466 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 21 critic

Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. But does anybody believe her?

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Title: Night Watch (1973)

Night Watch (1973) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Ellen Wheeler
...
John Wheeler
...
Sarah Cooke
Robert Lang ...
Appleby
Tony Britton ...
Tony
Bill Dean ...
Inspector Walker
Michael Danvers-Walker ...
Sergeant Norris
Rosario Serrano ...
Dolores
Pauline Jameson ...
Secretary
Linda Hayden ...
Girl in Car
Kevin Colson ...
Carl
Laon Maybanke ...
Florist
David Jackson ...
Wilson
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Storyline

Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. But does anybody believe her? Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once her nightmare begins...the terror never ends! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

10 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Noite dos Mil Olhos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Soundtracks

The Night Has Many Eyes
by George Barrie & Sammy Cahn
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User Reviews

 
NIGHT WATCH (Brian G. Hutton, 1973) **1/2
6 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Back in the 1980s, the local TV channel had a now long-defunct custom of showing several movies throughout the week; since my film-buff father worked on Saturday nights, he used to record on VHS any movie shown during that time-slot which he had missed out on during its local theatrical run and watch it on Sunday afternoon; one of those films I distinctly recall receiving this 'treatment' is NIGHT WATCH.

Director Brian G. Hutton is better-known for directing action pictures like WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968) and KELLY'S HEROES (1970) and he might not seem ideally suited to an "old dark house"-type of chiller; the probable sequence of events is that Richard Burton (star of EAGLES) had recommended him to his wife Elizabeth Taylor for X, Y AND ZEE (1971) and she later asked for his services again on NIGHT WATCH. Sadly, he only made two more films after this – THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (1980) and HIGH ROAD TO CHINA (1982) – before retiring to become a plumber!

Although the "let's-drive-an-heiress-mad" plot line had recently been done to death in Britain by Hammer Films following the success of their TASTE OF FEAR (1961), here we have a similar tale that harks back to an even closer degree to GASLIGHT (1940 and 1944) but, thankfully, cleverly adds an effective twist at the finale. Even so, it speaks of the dispiriting lack of direction in British cinema at the time that, with the opening-up of censorship, film-makers responded by merely updating creaky old properties (that were outdated even 30 years earlier) with the newly-sanctioned gore and nudity than letting their creative juices flow more freely! Actually, NIGHT WATCH (obviously unrelated to any of the films with which it happens to share its profusely-used title) is based on a Lucille Fletcher play from 1972 but, as already intimated earlier, the standard genre thread to which it adhered had long since been established; incidentally, Fletcher is best-known for penning SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948; yet another stage property on similar lines) and for having been married to legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann between 1939-48!

Taylor is a mentally disturbed woman (haunted by images of the car-crash death of her former philandering husband and his mistress – played, via intermittent silent appearances, by Linda Hayden) married to stockbroker Laurence Harvey, who is himself two-timing Taylor with her own best friend Billie Whitelaw. Insomniac Taylor starts seeing mutilated bodies propped up in a chair by the window of the neighboring dilapidated house and she keeps pestering the local Police about her 'visions' which, needless to say, produce no result when actually investigated – and, initially, a lonesome widowed gardener who used to inhabit Taylor's mansion gets to become the prime suspect of the potential foul play!

The affair between Harvey and Whitelaw (quite subtly depicted in spite of a fleetingly bare-assed Harvey!) makes them the obvious red-herrings with the man's unexplained comings-and-goings and the woman constantly mixing odd-looking drinks to calm the wife's shattered nerves. Indeed, the ingenious twist takes one by surprise when it comes and, I for one, did not recall that this was how things would play out from my sole viewing all those years ago. It should be said here that Harvey had previously co-starred with Taylor in her Oscar-winning BUTTERFIELD 8 (1960); besides, all three leads would follow this atypical appearance in a horror film with even stranger ones: Taylor in THE DRIVER'S SEAT (1974), Harvey in WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH (1974; like the film under review, also "A Brut Production") and Whitelaw in THE OMEN (1976; her most famous role as the diabolical nanny).

Although the film uses the admirable pictorial talents of cinematographer Billy Williams (of WOMEN IN LOVE fame), the shoddy VHS quality of the copy I acquired nullifies much of the effect – particularly in the garbled first few minutes and the frustratingly murky climax (where one is often uncertain of just what is going on)! Even so, when these obscure but nevertheless worthwhile pictures are neglected by both DVD-producing companies and TV-channel programmers, one is grateful for getting the film any which way he can! Incidentally, NIGHT WATCH is also available to view in its entirety on "You Tube" in both English and Italian languages!


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