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20 user 16 critic

What the Peeper Saw (1972)

Diabólica malicia (original title)
R | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 18 May 1973 (USA)
A wealthy author's second wife begins to suspect that her 12 year old stepson may have murdered his mother, who mysteriously died in a bathtub accident.

Directors:

James Kelley (as James Kelly), Andrea Bianchi (co-director) (as Andrew White)

Writers:

Trevor Preston (original screenplay), Andrea Bianchi | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mark Lester ... Marcus
Britt Ekland ... Elise
Hardy Krüger ... Paul
Lilli Palmer ... Dr. Viorne
Harry Andrews ... Headmaster
Conchita Montes ... Sophie
Colette Giacobine Colette Giacobine ... Sarah (as Collette Jack)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ricardo Palacios
Emilio Rodríguez Emilio Rodríguez
Ricardo Valle Ricardo Valle
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Storyline

In this stylish and atmospheric psychological thriller reminiscent of Henry James's Turn of the Screw, a widowed English writer brings a young, glamorous new bride to his bleak, isolated home in rural Spain. She soon becomes obsessed with her 12-year old stepson, who she learns has just been expelled from school for mysterious offenses; while the boy enjoys, exploits, and feeds her increasing paranoia about him. That he is a brilliant and lonely child is obvious. But is he the victim of a neurotic woman's overwrought imagination-- in Shakespeare's words, the innocent flower, or the serpent under it? Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What he saw is what he did.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Italy | West Germany | Spain

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

18 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Child See more »

Filming Locations:

Madrid, Spain

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is also known as "What the Peeper Saw" and "Night Child". See more »

Quotes

Marcus: Yes?
Elise: Marcus, it's Paul on the phone from Paris.
Marcus: Okay. Come in! Hello? Hello, Paul. Yes, chickenpox, that's right. The flight was fine. Yes? She's very beautiful. That's goes without saying. I'm sure we will. Quiet sure. Okay. Here she is.
Elise: Paul? Hmm? Darling it's a terrible Yes? Saturday night dinner with Clive? Huh? You don't have to explain. Paul?
[Marcus touches Elise's clothed breasts]
Elise: I must go.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing performances in a lacklustre thriller
13 July 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Night Hair Child has all the elements to be a disturbing and dark thriller; especially considering the sick and twisted plot line. However, despite a few interesting ideas; this film doesn't capitalise on them, and unfortunately it's only an average film that is nowhere near as disturbing as it could have been. The plot basically focuses on the idea of a 'problem child' causing problems between his parent and a new significant other. The problem child idea has been done many times throughout cinema; but a less common variant is a film like this, where sleaze take centre stage. However, such is the disappointment of Night Hair Child; not even the sleaze is all that prominent. The plot focuses on Elise; a beautiful young woman who has married older man Paul. Paul's wife apparently died in a strange bathtub incident and this has had a damning effect on her son Marcus, who unluckily for Elise, has returned home from school early and has took it upon himself to wreck their marriage by way of getting in between them with lies and bad behaviour.

The main problem with this film is definitely the acting. A plot like this needs strong performances from the leads and it just doesn't get them. Britt Ekland has been good in other films where a great performance is not needed; but she just doesn't have the talent for this role and despite looking nice, she doesn't deliver what is needed. Her opposite number is Mark Lester. I can completely understand the attraction of having the star of Oliver in a role as a twisted sex pervert; but unfortunately, he's a terrible actor that never conveys any emotion at all and simply does not convince in his role. He's also very irritating and every scene he features in is a struggle to get through. The plot is nowhere near as interesting as it could have been either; the exchanges between the central characters lack imagination, and only the scene where Britt Ekland strips for Mark Lester is really memorable; and it's not as memorable as a similar scene in Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling starring Barbara Bouchet. Overall, it's a shame but I wouldn't really say that this film is even worth a look.


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