Experiment in Terror (1962)

Experiment in Terror (1962), produced and directed by Blake Edwards.

First review:

Very fine thriller and police procedural with Lee Remick, Glenn Ford, and the young Stefanie Powers. Many long tense sections. Good San Francisco locations and panoramas.

Black and white, traditional noir look. Apart from being wide screen many of the shots could have been composed 15 years earlier. The content has changed from the early years, though. Sometime in the 50s and 60s movies and and TV started featuring more terr-o-rama: psychos, home invasion, sadism and crimes against women. You see a new level of fear that hadn't been presented before.

The IMDB notes say that people think David Lynch must like this film. That's easy to believe from the opening credits, the way it is shot and the combination of ominous industrial drone and cool, bassy jazz.

In fact, Henry Mancini's score is tremendous throughout; it seems to have a keen following. You can picture Angelo Badalamenti given it a close listen.

The DVD is out of print. Netflix doesn't have it, but I was able to rent it from ClassicFlix.

Second review:

I reviewed this a few years ago ago and the DVD was out of print even then. Now a great-looking Blu-ray has appeared from Twilight Time. There is something about black-and-white in 1.85 aspect ratio: it looks big, like still photos from old large format cameras.

Bank teller Lee Remick and kid sister Stefanie Powers are terrorized by an asthmatic murderer who wants money from the bank. "Don't contact the police" he warns. Unusually for these stories, she calls the police. He stops her and beats her up, but rock solid FBI agent Glen Ford locates her and will do his best to see her through it. But the killer is clever and has many ways of applying leverage. Remick is in the hot-seat throughout: she may actually have to do the bank job even while the police are watching.

It's a dandy police procedural, maybe a bit long at 2h03m. Much watching and waiting and subplots with the killer's girlfriends. Vivid composition and great San Francisco locations. In one scene the killer appears dressed as an old lady and in another we find a murder victim hanging from the ceiling; both are a bit far for a film that is otherwise realistic.

People list references David Lynch makes to this film, starting with the Twin Peaks neighborhood in SF.

Great Henry Mancini score, suggesting Angelo Badalamenti for another Lynch connection.

The Blu-ray is a Twilight Times limited edition with a rather fine image. Isolated score.