Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peeping Tom (1960)

Michael (The Red Shoes, Stairway to Heaven, The Tales of Hoffmann) Powell's 1960 film Peeping Tom caused quite a bit of controversy upon it's initial release. The very dark subject matter proved shocking to many movie goers, putting this in the same league as Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 fright flick Psycho. Also troubling to some was the combination of violence with a then rather unrestrained kink and sexuality on display, with some of the first views of female nudity in a big budgeted, Western studio produced film. An example is shown in the photo below. Heavily censored and initially unappreciated in the United Kingdom, the film also failed to find much of an audience in the United States or elsewhere until many years later. A chief supporter was Martin Scorsese, who would eventually assist in the films re-release in the late 1990s. In Roger Ebert's Chicago Sun-Times review of the 1999 reissue, Mr. Scorsese is quoted as having stated that this movie, and Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, "contain all that can be said about directing."

Much like Dario Argento's eyeball numbing Suspiria (1977) Peeping Tom also pursues an almost over saturated spectrum of vivid colors, brought richly to the screen. Actor Carl (Karlheinz) Böhm does a superb job of portraying a fragile and very dangerous character who produces a wide array of emotional responses in both those he interacts with in the film, as well as those watching the story unfold.

the trailer

the feature


  1. Great writeup. I've never seen this movie before. Hope you've had a wonderful week.

  2. Thanks Keith, for a movie from 1960, it packs quite a punch. Hope your week is going well too, almost the weekend.

  3. Great film. I really enjoyed your take on it.

  4. CDM, thanx for the feedback - much appreciated. Definitely my favorite Michael Powell film.