PEEPING TOM
1960, Rialto Pictures, 101 min, UK, Dir: Michael Powell

Almost universally reviled by critics on its initial run but now considered a masterpiece of psychological horror, PEEPING TOM all but killed Powell’s career when it was released. In an unforgettably creepy and affecting performance, Carl Boehm stars as a shy, gentle photographer, who is really a tormented serial killer filming his female victims at their moment of death. Boehm’s crush on boarding-house tenant Helen (Anna Massey) brings on a crisis that can result only in redemption or destruction. Insightful and subversive, PEEPING TOM poses difficult questions about the universal desire for voyeuristic thrills and the very nature of watching film.


THE BIG SLEEP
1946, Warner Bros., 114 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks

The second of the Bacall-Bogart-Hawks collaborations turns Raymond Chandler’s acidic novel into a surprisingly exuberant piece of escapist entertainment. Packed with quotable lines (courtesy not only of Chandler but screenwriters William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman) and colorful supporting players (including Dorothy Malone and Elisha Cook Jr.), it’s both an elaborately plotted detective story and a breezy (and hilarious) romantic comedy. Bogart is sardonic private eye Philip Marlowe and Bacall is the fast, funny and very sexy daughter of his wealthy and mysterious client.


THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, this classic mystery gives life to Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and a masterfully drawn group of characters involved in a dangerous and double-crossing hunt for a bejeweled golden falcon statue. The first-rate cast includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Huston’s father, Walter.


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