MovieChat Forums > Wait Until DarkĀ (1967) Discussion > Wait Until Dark Play vs. Film

Wait Until Dark Play vs. Film


Has anyone seen Wait Until Dark as a play version? We're doing a production of it at the Edinburgh Fringe this year and I'd be really interested to know what people feel about the differences between the play and the film, and which works better...www.waituntildarkfringe.com

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I had never actually heard of this film until the Edinburgh festival where i saw your production of the play
I thought your show was absolutely amazing, the performances, the script and the set were all incredible and it has made me want to see the film so thank you :)

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I saw the play a good 35 years ago. The only difference between it and the film I remember is toward the end, when Susie asks the girl to take Susie's cane and break all the light bulbs in the apartment. "Will do!" she says with relish. The audience liked that.
She also asks her to fill a vase with ammonia, and pour a small amount of cooking oil on top to cover the smell. During the final confrontation with Roat, she asks if he's wearing his trademark dark glasses (a parallel with his character and the blind?). He's not - and she tosses ammonia right in his eyes.
So they made Susie a little more independent in the movie.

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I know it's a tad late to add my 2 cents about play vs movie but here goes. I attended a performance of the Broadway play sitting in the 5th row center. When Roat got up after being stabbed at the end and grabbed Suzy's leg everyone in the audience screamed in fright for Suzy. I did feel that the original broadway actress (can't remember who it was but I do remember it was a "name" actress who played the role) played Suzy a bit better and a bit more convincing than Audrey Hepburn. Although I love Audrey's work and her dearly, I felt that the original actress Lee Remick(?) played the part much better and was actually disappointed she was not cast in the movie. Other than a few things here and there the play was like the movie. At tne end of the play the entire stage was a royal mess though!!! It was a very physically demanding role as well playing Suzy in the play.

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The actress who starred in the play on Broadway was indeed Lee Remick, and the audience reaction at the performance I attended was the same as you experienced: screams, followed by nervous laughter. Although I am not a great fan of Audrey Hepburn, I thought her performance in the film was phenomenal, as was Lee Remick's in the play. By the way, when I first saw the film in the movie theater, the audience reacted in much the same way. It's all down to the skill of the director, the "leaping" of Alan Arkin at the critical moment (when all is deceptively quiet), and the crucial lighting of the scene. A terrific play became a terrific movie.

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I've never seen the play. But, as to this film? Suzie had no obligation to apologize for calling that neighbor girl a brat and a monster. Because, that's precisely what she was acting like, just seconds earlier!

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Agreed, completely. That whole thing confused me. Why should Susie had been sorry?

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They did have it on stage in the UK back in 2005 but I didn't get to see it.

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I have seen the movie a few times and I have read the play many times. I just auditioned for the play here in Kalamazoo, MI. In my opinion, the play is FAR SUPERIOR to the film. The film started out with the character Lisa giving the doll to Sam and you also see the world outside the apartment.

The reason the play works so well is it is done in a CONFINED space. The audience can not see what is outside the window. They are required to listen very carefully to the dialogue for clues as well as the clues given in the stage direction. Frederick Knott was an AMAZING playwright and everything in the play is in there for a specific reason. He leaves no stone unturned in his execution of every scene. His character depth is amazing.

In the film, there is crucial dialogue missing and the character of Roat doesn't seem as sinister as in the play. He is a very bad guy but can be very charming. I don't feel that Alan Arkin pulled off Roat.

In the original Broadway production Roat was played by Robert Duvall. Duvall is the calibur of actor needed to pull off Roat.

The play is only as good as the ensemble. For instance, Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei did a revival on Broadway of "Wait Until Dark" and it completely BOMBED! Why?? Because Tarantino played Roat as he does every person he plays in his other movies. He OVER did Roat, and Roat came off as laughable instead of Evil like he really is. It is a fine line and Tarantino fell over the line.

So the PLAY gets my vote, but only if the ensemble is GREAT.

However, Audrey Hepburn completely OWNED the role of Susy. She did an AMAZING job. There again is the problem. Not everyone did a GREAT job, and therefore some scenes fall flat.

From the cast of the movie:

Richard Crenna(Mike): 11/30/1926 - 1/17/2003
Jack Weston(Carlino): 8/21/1924 - 5/3/1996
Alan Arkin(Roat): 3/26/1934 -
Audrey Hepburn(Susy): 5/4/1929 - 1/20/1993
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.(Sam): 11/30/1918 -
Julie Herrod: NO INFO

From the original Broadway Production:

Mitchell Ryan(Mike): 7/11/1928 -
Val Bisoglio(Carlino): 5/7/1926 -
Robert Duvall(Roat): 1/5/1931 -
Lee Remick(Susy): 12/14/1935 - 7/2/1991
James Congdon(Sam): Unknown
Julie Herrod(Gloria): NO INFO

To purchase the Play: http://www.amazon.com/Wait-Until-Dark-Frederick-Knott /dp/0822212161/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291866861&sr=1-1

To purchase the film: http://www.amazon.com/Wait-Until-Dark-Audrey-Hepburn/dp/B00009NHC5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291866846&sr=8-1

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After I posted this I discovered some of it was accidentally deleted.

I only read the play and wasn't impressed. I wish I had seen it. But it reminds me that there was a tv version (I think) with Stacy Keach (I think) as the villain which as I recall wasn't too good. Anybody else see this and remember more?

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There was a videotaped stage performance that aired on television in 1982 which starred Katharine Ross as Susy and Stacy Keach. It wasn't bad; Katharine Ross in particular was quite good in the role of Susy (a dream role for any actress; Lee Remick originated it on Broadway), but Stacy Keach as Roat (another dream role for any actor; I am sure Robert Duvall, who created the role, was sensational) is a complete misfire, a state of affairs that cannot be blamed on the actor alone. I don't know whose idea it was, but at the climax of the play Keach's Roat becomes a raving queen for no reason at all, even going so far as to apply lisptick. If the intention was to link his criminal pathology to homosexuality, it was a singularly bad move to make in 1982, nearly a decade after the psychiatric community declared that homosexuality was not in itself pathological nor was it a symptom of pathology.

Aside from that, it did benefit from the feeling of being in a theatre with a live audience and live actors; at the very least it is an interesting curiosity.

Never mess with a middle-aged, Bipolar queen with AIDS and an attitude problem!
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I too saw the original play with Lee Remick in on Broadway. I totally forgot that Robert Duvall played Roat. Thanks for the memories. I did remember that Roat was a very charming evil man. Sorry to disagree with you but I thought Lee Remick should have played Suzy in the movie version and not Audrey as Audrey is too "soft" a personality vs Lee Remick's down to earth quality that she projected in the play. Other than that I, too, agree that the play really outdoes the movie any day for sheer, utter suspense.

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I saw the play off Broadway in about 1998, with Marisa Tomei, Stephen LAng and Quentin Tarantino - guess who got the biggest cheer and was a crap actor also?

Whilst I loved the movie, I think the play was more involving, because we too were enveloped in darkness towards the finale to the accompaniment of shouts, gunshots etc, this was dramatically very effective.

Good luck with your production - guess it's over now - anyway - how did it go?

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Well I'll tell you one thing some years back HBO had a version with Katherine Ross as Susy and Stacy Ketch as Roth in this one before he goes after her he puts on lady's makeup.
I guess they didn't want to do that in a 1967 film.


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On the whole, the play is much better dramatically, and the character Susy is better drawn-- a lot of the "hits" that Audrey Hepburn takes for being melodramatic in the film role, I think wouldn't be there if the stage script had been followed more closely. What is better, and this is mainly attributable to Hepburn's influence, is, the "blind stuff." I used to work as a sign language interpreter, and I had a certificate in Deaf-blind interpreting, so i know quite a few blind people, and once even went to a National Federation of the Blind convention. Most of the things Susy does in the play, like using sugar cubes to remember phone numbers, are just stupid, and are not really things someone going to rehab after losing her sight would ever do. Learning Braille, and using it to keep track of phone numbers, and that sort of thing IS what someone would do (few people who become blind as adults ever learn to read Braille fluently, though, but using it the way Susy does in the film is totally plausible). What's more, going to rehab classes, aka, "Blind school," is something Sam's character would encourage, over inventing things on his own for Susy to do.

But more than that, it's nice that we aren't hit over the head with it. No one has a long speech about how Susy got into rehabilitation, or the whole process or physical recovery, and rehab. She goes to blind school. She does the things we see her do, like feeling the clock (I really, really want to give her a raised-bump watch, though). That's it.

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I played Mike Talman in a stage production. Play and film are very similar.

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I've done the play (playing Talman), seen the play, and seen the film. Film is a completely different medium. The film works better for this type of melodrama because you can heighten the suspense factor with editing.

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