The Seventh Seal & Wait Until Dark

A couple more old reactions to movies. I watched these years ago. Not seen the Seventh Seal since but have watched Wait Until Dark a few times. It remains compelling. Hepburn was a brilliant actress and her role as a woman who happens to be blind but remains defiant, yet still has to deal with the issues and fears of being blind is superb. She remains strong but never so much that you don’t feel for her or genuinely fear for her. Arkin is the stand out performance yet she shows her qualities as an actor in this movie. Highly recommend it.
As for the Seventh Seal, I should try and watch it again. Not a movie I see on tv often though. It did surprise me at the time how humourous it could be and how much of a roving report on medieval Europe it was.

Anyway, here’s the stuff I posted way back when (obviously some spoiler stuff involved):

I watched the Seventh Seal today. Often heard of it, never seen. An excellent movie, although I’m sure that by today’s standards some would find it dull and uneventful.
It reminded me a lot like a Shakespearean play, or one of Chaucer’s stories. The knight competes with Death and quests for God, while meeting with various standard folk from medieval Europe.
It has a very vivid portrayal of the time of the Black Death, full of misery and fear and superstitious reactions and answers to the terrible plague. Also the girl to be burned was dealt with well – I’m sure a remake *shudder* would have the knight and his squire rescue her.
Ending was a bit odd. I didn’t feel that the knight’s ordeal was concluded, and the dancing line seen only from a distance was frustrating, but hey, that sort of movie.
Some good dark humour in here, with Death cutting down the tree the man hides in, and the drunk, jilted husband talking with the squire results in wickedly merry banter about women. But mainly grim, dark and thoughtful.
Me, love that stuff. Most others wouldn’t.

Just watched Wait Until Dark. Brilliant. Had Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman being conned by three criminals after a doll, but she figures them out and then things get nasty.

It is mainly in one place, her apartment, and few people are in the movie. The three criminals – two work together, both smart enough, both morally dubious enough but not evil. They are blackmailed by the third and do the job well, yet never forget their dislike of him. They’re crooks, but he’s a creep.

He is Harry Roat Jr from Scarsdale. Played by Alan Arkin. I love Arkin, really funny, but in this he is scary as hell. I mean he is the right side of psycho. He wears these black glasses and smiles and even when faced down by the pair early on, he remains in control of them and the situation.
He’s vicious and vindictive and maybe my new favourite baddie.

Seriously good movie, if the con goes on a bit for me. Hepburn vs Arkin works really well at the end. There’s a battle of wits with an edge. Ends very well too.

Oh here are some more thoughts from me today:
Thinking back on Wait Until Dark, I found the girl who helped Hepburn annoying and bratty, yet helped create an interesting relationship for her. Being blind, she depended on the girl’s assistance, and the girl knew it. They argued but both felt bad about it and they pull together later – if I still felt the girl was a brat earlier. Hepburn’s husband is a good character too, being someone who clearly cares for his wife yet forces her to act for herself. He won’t see her become weak. Even at the end, he leaves her to make the step. It is never done or portrayed as being cold, but for her good. The crooks are a likeable pair for all their flaws. The two of them have their morals, weak as they are, and you’re glad when they turn because you want Harry Roat Jr to get his. He’s a cut above, however.

Wish I could remember more about the Seventh Seal. I do recall being impressed by it. It is never easy watching a movie you know by reputation but little else. It had a very sombre, but intelligent tone, also moving and with insightful social commentary. Really need to check it out again.


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