Experiment in Terror

Synopsis: Terror stalks a beautiful bank teller in this classic thriller from Blake Edwards.

Glenn Ford plays the dedicated F.B.I. agent, John Ripley, who fights to protect Kelly Sherwood (Lee Remick) from a ruthless killer. Unless his plans to rob the bank succeed, the unseen assailant (Ross Martin)-identifiable only by his asthmatic breathing-threatens to murder Kelly and her teenage sister, Toby (Stefanie Powers). To save the two terrorized sisters, the F.B.I. sets up an elaborate trap using Kelly as a decoy, but the killer gets away. Nerve-racking suspense builds as Kelly, now panic-stricken, continues to act as bait long enough to let the Feds trap the killer. Unless they act quickly, the woman in distress will become the casualty of a deadly Experiment In Terror!

Experiment in Terror 8.25

Our story begins with a woman returning home, late at night. Out of the shadows creeps a man with a disturbing voice, threatening her and her loved ones with violence if she doesn’t do exactly what he tells her to do. Terrorized, she confronts her own fears and attempts to get this man caught by the law. It’s a battle of wills and wits, all the way until the last scene of the film.

Blake Edwards demonstrates here just how good a director he could be. Despite his reputation, he wasn’t only a comedy director; it turns out that he was far more versatile. In ‘Experiment’ he finds ways to scare us without any violence and manages to sustain tension throughout the piece, even as we see the law sometimes outplaying the villain. As well, there’s notable camera work: this black and white film is extremely stylish and there are ingenious uses of angles, shadows, …etc,

There are all around great performances from everyone: Lee Remick plays the young woman admirably, Glenn Ford imbues his character with resolve and the villain (I can’t reveal who it is for obvious reasons!) is played with enough complexity to inspire fear and compassion – a difficult task to say the least. The supporting cast is all very good, too, making this quite an appealing motion picture. And a gripping one, too.

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