[Movie] Experiment in Terror (1962)

  • Directed by: Blake Edwards
  • Cast: Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers, Ross Martin
  • Based on: 1961 novel Operation Terror by Mildred Gordon and Gordon Gordon 

Several elements of this film inspired scenes in David Lynch projects. To begin with, there is the Twin Peaks (1990) sign at the beginning of the film which served as obvious inspiration for the title card and setting of Lynch’s television series of the same name. Also, a scene or two later (the infamous “opening” scene,) when Kelly is in here garage, the killer mentions that he has “killed twice before” – this is something which “Bob,” the supposed killer from “Twin Peaks” also mentions.

from the IMDB trivia. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055972/trivia/?ref_=tt_trv_trv

After the huge success of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)“, Blake Edwards returns with the neo-noir thriller. Neo-noir, the revival of the film noir, films are generally crime thrillers with very stylish and visual effects. They often come with twisted dark humor.

Even though the film’s reviews were generally positive, the film is somewhat disastrous. Yes, the film has some good parts. You can see what the stylish noir thriller genre can deliver and how film noir had evolved in time – especially by camera and lighting work -. 

The main problem of the movie is in its storyline. Each plot or clue does not add up. Fragments remain as fragments, and viewers are lost while the scenes are jumping without any connection, and strong characters are coming and gone without contributing to the overall plot. I have waited for something to happen with patience, but nothing happened with a boring end, unfortunately.

The film’s opening scene grabs all viewer’s attention with the criminal’s harsh voice, the victim’s face contortion, and the very effective lighting work. But the tension ends here. The film failed to sustain its opening thrill to the end. After the opening shot, the film lost the direction except the stylish camera work. FBI’s – why FBI here, not local police? – investigation seems organized but lacks coherence. Above all, the villain lost his threatening character after the opening scene and seemed to remain a third-rate pathetic asthmatic blackmailer.

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