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Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM starring KARLHEINZ BOHM, MOIRA SHEARER, ANNA MASSEY, MAXINE AUDLEY, BRENDA BRUCE, MILES MALLESON and JACK WATSON

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 colorful 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 (THE RED SHOES, BLACK NARCISSUS). In modern times, the equivalent would be if Steven Spielberg were to make a graphic and reviled film about pedophilia 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 (Karlheinz Bohm, billed here as Karl Boehm), is a quiet, unassuming, good-looking young man with a very dark undercurrent. It is revealed that when he was a child, Mark was used as a guinea pig by his father (played by 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 faces during moments of fear. His dearest wish is to capture on film the very last terrified moment of someone’s life.

PEEPING TOM is one of the few films that still has the power to shock all these years on. Alfred Hitchcock’s 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. PEEPING TOM, on the other hand, is an altogether more disturbing piece of work. Boehm is excellent as the pathetic, doomed young man 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 colors 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 desensitized 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.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.