“See No Evil” Sparkles In UK Blu-ray Premiere

See No Evil sparkles in a new UK “Indicator Series” Blu-ray from Powerhouse Films. Richard Fleischer’s 1971 thriller, which enjoys a high definition remaster, is complemented on the presentation by the alternatively titled Blind Terror, a re-edited version for UK theatrical release.

Richard Fleischer’s 1971 thriller See No Evil is a tense stand-off between a blind woman (Mia Farrow) and a mysterious killer. The antagonist’s murderous rampage is characterised solely by the bodies he leaves behind and the image of his cowboy boots as he stalks his prey. His identity remains hidden until the final reel when this twisty precursor to the slasher movie unveils its twist ending.

It’s an effective post-Psycho suspense thriller, the English countryside backdrop reminding of British cinema’s finest folk horror as well as Hammer’s back catalogue. However, its real power comes from Farrow’s performance as a tragically blinded young woman who finds herself battling a killer without the ability to see who or, importantly, where he is. It makes for some very tense sequences, the potency of the film unlined by Farrow’s emotional and physical fragility.

That the killer’s identity remains hidden throughout adds another level of intrigue. See No Evil doesn’t possess the groundbreaking revelations of Hitchcock’s Psycho, and in some respects, its final reel reveal is underwhelming, but it does maintain an foreboding atmosphere, a genuine sense of threat, and a heroine who we care about. The whondunnit motif also adds to the paranoia of Farrow’s desperate protagonist, her appeals for salvation unwittingly leading her further into danger.

In Powerhouse Films’ new UK Blu-ray, we get to enjoy the film following a high definition remaster. The natural aging of the film stock is evident but See No Evil looks good despite being over 40 years old. An accomplished presentation, the Blu-ray features a wonderfully intriguing comparison between two different versions of the film with side by side comparison. The alternate UK cut re-titled to Blind Terror features very subtle changes to scene length, dramatic pacing, perspective and thematic focus. This feature, which also allows you to watch Blind Terror is its entirety, showcases how directors can impact mood, pacing, atmosphere and dramatic tension amongst other things with subtle changes to the final edit. It’s a great additional feature on this presentation.

The release also features a brand new interview with British actor Norman Eshley who plays Farrow’s boyfriend Steve Reding in the film, the alternative Italian title sequence, original theatrical trailer, image gallery, and new and improved subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Limited Edition Blu-ray also includes a new essay by Chris Fujiwara, an interview with Richard Fleischer, and an overview of contemporary critical responses.

See No Evil was released by Powerhouse Films on Blu-ray on September 25, 2017.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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    Mark Fraser Reply

    This was also released in Australia as Blind Terror and, as I was a kiddie at the time, I didn’t get to see it. (Nor have I, oddly, seen any TV runs or reruns of it since.) Having recently gained an appreciation for Richard Fleischer, however, I wouldn’t mind seeing it. Fleischer made some really interesting movies – I recently bought Compulsion (early sixties) starring Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman and Orson Welles and it was pretty good. Last night I sat through Mandingo the whole way (uncut) for the first time and it too was something of a revelation. A far cry from the trash it was deemed to be when first released (although the Bounty Collection DVD in no way provided a refurbished print). Then there’s Soylent Green which, despite some inoffensive cheapness, has also become seminal viewing for the sci-fi buff. As for See No Evil itself, one could make two observations. One – it’s release was fairly close to that of the Audrey Hepburn vehicle Wait Until Dark, so it might have been considered derivative at the time it came out. Secondly, the evil might have been a reference to Frank Sinatra. Of course one could say the same thing about poor Mia when she stumbled into her relationship with Woody Allen over a decade later.

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