MovieChat Forums > Wait Until Dark (1967) Discussion > Some things that didn't make sense to me...

Some things that didn't make sense to me... *spoilers*


1) Why would Susy go through that much trouble for a china doll that she has no sentimental attachment to? She has no idea what's hidden inside it, and all she knows is that some crazy lady unloaded it on her husband Sam at the airport. In other words, it has zero significance to her. So when the bad guys finally reveal what's really going on, why not just give the damn doll up? Why fight so hard to keep it?

2) Why didn't Susy turn out/break ALL the lights in the apartment? She left the light in the dark room on, and it ended up helping her attacker later on. Did she just plain forget about this light, or keep it lit on purpose?

3) Instead of sending Gloria to go wait for her husband, why not send the little girl straight to the police? This was the one point where I really had to overlook extreme stupidity in order to enjoy the movie.

Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

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1. She knows her husband is in trouble and that it's connected to the doll. As to why she fought to keep it, once she gave it up, they would have NO reason whatsoever to keep her alive. As long as she knew where it was and they couldn't find it, they couldn't kill her.

2. Remember that stuff she threw in Roat's face? Turning on the light in the dark room would have blinded him, which was her intention. So he couldn't see her either.

3. Her husband's life was in danger, she wanted to make sure that when Sam arrived, nobody caught him alone. Gloria was to give him the message as soon as she saw him so that the criminals would never have a chance at getting him without witnesses.

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About leaving lights on: it was probably to help visitors like Gloria. Also, I don't think blindness means total blackness - maybe she could still feel light and dark.

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Thanks for the responses. I just saw this movie for the first time, and I have been wondering the exact same things.

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Good responses, but a little more...

2. She not only LEFT that red light on in the darkroom, she deliberately TURNED it on after she smashed the light bulbs. Why? So Roat could see her when he first entered and they talked (remember, he knew she had the doll, but he needed her to tell him where it was). She needed to know she was right in front of him when she splashed him with the Hypo, then she pulled the plug on the light so he'd be in darkness, where she has the advantage.

3. Even though she figured it out toward the end, as far as she'd known all along, the police believed the doll connected her husband to the murdered girl. That's why she didn't tell Gloria to go right to the police.

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Maybe she knew that if Sam ever made it back with the police, they'd need SOME light.

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Can't remember if we got to see the interior of the frige that well, but isn't possible that it might just not have been that easy to break it? I don't know how fridges were designed back then, but nowadays you don't see many fridges lit by an unprotected bulb. The light in my fridge is pretty well protected.

Also, if I went blind tomorrow I wouldn't know where in my fridge the lamp was located. Okay, now that I've gone to look at it, I would, but you get my drift. It's just one of those things you don't give much thought too.

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1. She was using the door for cover.

2. The inside of the fridge had a lot of frost and rime, and the bulb may have been hard to get to because of that. Sam tells Susy the refrigerator needs defrosting, and we can see that it's pretty iced up.

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Good posts from you on a number of threads maccaby, I've appreciated the thoughts. A very minor thing that struck me is how the director makes quite a bit of Mike pretending to dial a police number while actually dialing a payphone number, when with those old style phones the sounds of the digits being dialed are very different from each other, and yet we see no reaction from Susy, although she acutely notices other less obvious sounds - shoes, blinds, etc. Also, Mike needlessly announces each digit he's supposed to be dialing simultaneously with dialing a different digit - which invites attention to the difference, and provides a recipe for confusing oneself and ending up having dialed a third number by mistake! If it was intended that Susy should not at this point be seen to have any suspicions, it would have been better if she hadn't been next to Mike as he dialed but instead gone to make coffee or suchlike.

"I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken."

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Oh yeah, I noticed that too. But there were many many things that bugged me more...

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i think it's important to take in the context when this movie was released. that being said, one MAJOR plot hole that i haven't seen mentioned is the heroin. are we to think that that little amount of heroin in the 60s was worth millions? i man, alan arkin's character offers to pay those 2 dudes 2,000 a piece (in 1960's money!) let alone pull this elaborate scheme where she doesn't lock her door ever, involving a few murders. etc.
was this little bit of heroin worth all the trouble?
really? you're kidding right.

that said.
take in the context when it was made.

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This is my guess on it, Roat who just wanted the doll with the Heroin. Maybe he needed a fix, he knew this heroin was of good quality. He had someone to torment in the process Susy, a helpless blind woman, alone, easy prey. In the 1960's people rarely locked their doors, they trusted people.

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In the 1960's people rarely locked their doors, they trusted people.

Yeah? Maybe in Mayberry. . .but this was New York City. Ever hear of the Boston Strangler? Richard Speck? Charles Manson? In Cold Blood? Next theory. . .

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Even in New York, Boston people rarely locked their doors in 1960s' Maybe you should read the script of Wait Until Dark, it will tell you why the doors were unlocked.

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I agree it couldn't have been worth THAT much - but part of his motive could be the old "going to prove no one can get the best of me so I don't have trouble like this again." His whole operation can't consist of just himself and Lisa. Pride?

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Point 1 still kind of stands because there was no need to kill her as she obviously couldn´t have identified the bad guys anyway. And in her mental state, it certainly would have made more sense if she´d hand over the doll and be done with it; certainly the Crenna character who asked first didn´t give much of a sinister vibe.



"facts are stupid things" - Ronald Reagan

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As for the value of the heroin there are a few comments. If the heroin was a pure compound it would be "cut" by the dealer/distributor, usually with sodium bicarbonate increasing its volume and street value many times over.

I just saw Dirty Harry again, made in the same time period and the villain who is holding a whole busload of kids hostage is asking for a ransom of $200,000. A ridiculous sum today.

One needs to view an older movie with the appropriate filter. Part of the fun IMO is inserting yourself into the time.

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I love this movie and watching it again right now, for the umpteenth time but the thing that always bothers me is at the end when she is trying to unplug the refrigerator light; as if that would have made a difference between life and death! that was a very tiny apartment. total darkness would not have saved her.



"the best that you can do is fall in love"

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the thing that always bothers me is at the end when she is trying to unplug the refrigerator light; as if that would have made a difference between life and death! that was a very tiny apartment. total darkness would not have saved her.
Roat had been stabbed and was badly disoriented. The light may have been the last thing keeping him alert.

Imagination is everything. It's a preview of life's coming attractions.

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What bothers me is how Hepburn never bothers to lock the door! What kind of person lives in a city apartment building and doesn't lock their doors!

Great film otherwise, but that really bothers me.

http://www.last.fm/user/399796kms/

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The door is clearly locked at one point because the character "Mike" is seen picking it.

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What bothers me is how Hepburn never bothers to lock the door! What kind of person lives in a city apartment building and doesn't lock their doors!



People didn't always lock their doors back then, even in cities, people didn't do a lot of things back then that they wouldn't dream of not doing now. People also used to leave their keys in the cars at all times, but who would do that today? But back then it was as common as breathing.

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Admittedly, story wouldn't have held together without these many lapses in logics/plotting but good points, all.

I also wondered why this insane drug-addled thug would have resorted to all these elaborate masquerades (What? He had an on-call make-up artist waiting outside?), particularly since (despite supposedly being located in heart of Greenwich Village) this was the most deserted street in all of New York City.

And the minute someone starts splashing gasoline around an apartment, doesn't really matter who's lighting matches--EVERYONE'S in danger. Fumes!

Still, a great thriller.

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"I also wondered why this insane drug-addled thug would have resorted to all these elaborate masquerades"

Oh, the doll was just the MacGuffin. That's the fun of these kinds of movies. It could have been secret espionage plans or diamonds or whatever. The fact that it was heroin made the characters seem a bit shadier though.

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1. Thank you. This single key point ruined an otherwise exception movie for me. The entire time I could not stop thinking, "wouldn't it be easier to just make up a story and ask sam directly for the stupid doll the next day?" or how about, "wouldn't it be easier for susy to just give them the stupid doll once you figured out what was going on?"

also,

why in god's name did he sit there in the kitchen, whistling, while opening the doll? He should have said, thank you kindly and peaced out. or if he wanted to check, quickly cut open the doll, peak inside, then bail and sort it out later.

i've read a lot of reviews that say this is an incredible movie, but then go on to state the significance of suspension of disbelief... i'm pretty sure suspension of disbelief is not a cop-out for allowing a glaring gaps in logic.

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1. As others have said, she didn't know the whole story about the doll or its connection with Sam (might it incriminate him?) and she was also using the doll as a delaying tactic to stay alive: once they had it she feared they'd kill her (and Roat, whom she sensed was "different" certainly would have. He was a cold-blooded killer; the other 2 were merely con men).

2. Roat was a sadistic nut who enjoyed his domination of Susie - he thought he has won and wanted to lord it over her and, it's implied, rape her and kill her) - remember they were on the way to the bedroom where the other woman's corpse was. It's in keeping with his character as we see it.

Neither point is that hard to buy. The make-up and costume changes are a bit harder (it's an elaborate scheme) but as someone said it was so any witnesses would be confused (and also part of Roat's going along with the others, who were con men used to pulling such scams).

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As far as number two goes Susy is blind remember, it was mostly luck and her memory of the apartments layout that she managed to reach the light and turn it off and not get knifed by Arkin. It's possible she just didn't know the light was on or didn't want to be in the dark, this sounds insane since she is blind and cant really tell but humans are hard wired to fear or be wary of the dark and even blind people have reported leaving lights on for comfort.

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Susy left one light on intentionally. It was not a mistake. Her plan was to kill all the lights and level the battlefield. But if she had turned off or destroyed all the lights immediately, then the intruder(s) would have tried to turn on a light as soon as he came into the apartment. And he would have discovered that none of the lights were operational. So she left one light on. Then, after she made her attack (with the hypo) she killed the solitary light, plunging the apartment into darkness and equalizing matters.

It was important that she draw the intruder into the apartment so she could get past him and exit. With that light on, the intruder thinks he has the upper hand and relaxes his guard.

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