Peeping Tom

1960

Drama / Horror / Thriller

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 25376

Synopsis


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June 19, 2018 at 10:21 AM

Director

Cast

Anna Massey as Helen Stephens
Nigel Davenport as Det. Sgt. Miller
Michael Powell as Mark's Father - A.N. Lewis
Moira Shearer as Vivian
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
838.3 MB
1192*720
English
NR
24 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 7 / 14
1.6 GB
1776*1072
English
NR
24 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 3 / 27

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jonathon Dabell 9 / 10

Notorious murder thriller which was years ahead of its time, and resulted in the downfall of its great director.

To understand the stir that Peeping Tom caused when it was released in 1960, you need to think about what audiences at that time were accustomed to when they went to the cinema. Innocent love stories, historical epics, action-packed westerns and colourful musicals were the staple cinematic diet of the time, certainly not dark, disturbing and intensely violent murder thrillers like this. What probably unsettled contemporary film-goers even more was the fact that a film of this kind could come from a much-loved and revered director like Michael Powell. In modern times, the equivalent would be if Steven Spielberg were to make a graphic and reviled film about paedophilia or bestiality, consequently never being allowed to stand behind a movie camera again. When Peeping Tom hit the big screen, it was rejected by the public and crucified by the critics, and left Powell's hitherto glorious career in ruin.

A film cameraman, Mark Lewis (Karl Boehm), displays psychotic tendencies as he murders women with a spiked tripod attached to the bottom of his camera, capturing on celluloid their final screams of agony. It is revealed that when he was a child, Mark was used as a guinea pig by his father (Michael Powell) in a series of psychoanalytical experiments about the symptoms of fear. Among other things, Mark's delightful dad would wake him throughout the night and shine lights in his eyes, drop lizards into his bed, and on one occasion even forced him to pose for photographs next to the dead body of his mother. As a result, Mark has an unhealthy obsession with fear and, in particular, the expression that people have on their face during moments of fear.

Peeping Tom is one of the few films that still has the power to shock all these years on. Psycho, released roughly at the same time, is still a great film but its shock value has been diminished by years of repeat viewings and increasing permissiveness in the cinema. But Peeping Tom is an altogether more disturbing piece of work. Boehm is excellent as the killer whose entire outlook has been skewed by his father's experiments. Also impressive is Anna Massey as the killer's fragile and unsuspecting fiancée. Powell directs the film brilliantly, using bold and dazzling colours to disguise the horrific atrocities that punctuate his film. It is understandable that the film was met with revulsion and rejection at that time, but in retrospect it is a film of real importance and power. In a 21st century world bombarded and desensitised by harrowing images on the news and in the movies, the theme of losing one's grasp on what is and isn't morally acceptable is more pertinent than ever. This is not easy viewing, but it IS essential viewing.

Reviewed by rmc129 9 / 10

Watch And Learn

Despite a long and distinguished career the production team of Powell and Pressberger were effectively ruined by the furore of criticism and demands for censorship generated by this film.

'Peeping Tom' is a great film and one that modern film makers could learn from. Even good films like 'Seven' and 'Silence of the Lambs' have a regretable tendency toward melodrama and gross overacting in the portrayal of serial killers. 'John Doe' (Kevin Spacey) and 'Buffalo Bill' (Ted Levine) are laughable travesties of their real life counterparts, who seem harmless when approaching or luring a potential victim.

One of the things that critics of his time could not forgive Powell is that he makes his killer 'Mark Lewis' (Karl Boehm) human and likeable. a sensitive and intelligent young man, he is the product of bestial cruelty inflicted upon him in childhood (the scenes showing film of him being tortured as a boy by his scientist father are horrifying in the true sense of the word)

This is a sophisticated film demanding of the viewer that he or she not only takes part in watching a compelling thriller but are also provoked into contemplating the forces that work on a man who commits such crimes.

After watching 'Peeping Tom' one does not have the customary closure common in such thrillers of seeing a 'monster' the viewer could not emphasise with destroyed and the world made safe again, (much the theory behind the justification of capital punishment). Rather we have the experience of seeing the tragic self destruction of a man arguably as much a victim as those he killed.

To critics this was reprehensible - 'siding with the murderer'. The man who wrote the script, however, knew at first hand what makes a killer - since he was responsible for selecting secret agents to fight behind enemy lines in World War 2. He had to choose men - and women - who would not hesitate to kill. How many writers can claim this level of insight?

'Peeping Tom' is a classic and I rate it an eye catching 9 out of 10

Reviewed by jotix100 10 / 10

Macabre voyeurism

Michael Powell, the distinguished English director, probably contributed to his own demise from the film industry with "Peeping Tom", a movie that proved to be well ahead of its times and a masterpiece by this man who gave so much to enhance the industry in Great Britain. In fact, it's a shame this was almost the last film he directed before going on to a kind of exile in Australia.

"Peeping Tom" is an exercise in voyeurism Mr. Powell, and his screen writer, Leo Marks, created to prove to what extent how one is capable of watching things one shouldn't watch. At the same time, Mr. Powell created a psychological essay about what makes Mark Lewis, the central character of the film, act the way he acted. Mark has been scarred for life thanks to what his own father did to him during a period of his growing years that formed his character into the reclusive man who feels at home doing the despicable crimes he commits.

One of the strengths of the film is the amazing portrayal of Mark Lewis by the German actor, Carl Boehm, who made a superb contribution to the movie. Mr. Boehm is perfect because by just looking at him, one would never guess what's inside his soul, or what motivates him to kill and record his crimes.

Mr. Powell brought together an amazing cast that shines in the film. Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxime Audley, Brenda Bruce, Bartlett Mullins, are among the most prominent players one sees in the film.

The newly restored copy we saw as part of the retrospective shown at the Walter Reade this year has been enhanced in ways one didn't think would be possible and it's a tribute to the great director, who should have been proud of how today's audiences are reacting when they discover his movies that seem will live forever.

It's ironic that Mr. Powell didn't get the recognition he deserved during his lifetime.

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