Peeping Tom

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You can see why the knives were out for Michael Powell, already a veteran of masterpieces such as ‘The Red Shoes’, when he released this still-shocking essay on childhood trauma, voyeurism and murder in 1960 – even if its sly avoidance of gore is comparable to Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ of the same year. With this tale of Mark (Carl Böhm), a loner, film assistant and porn photographer, Powell managed to offend guardians of decency with scenes of killings, semi-nudity and easy chat among prostitutes. But more troubling, original and daring are the film’s suggestions that we, the audience, and he, as part of the film industry (of which the film is a comic satire), are complicit in seedy invasions of privacy for entertainment and that filmmakers are predatory, even life-sucking creatures. The film’s psychological underpinnings (Mark as a victim of his father’s experiments) feel a little dated, if appropriately mid-century, but most wondrous in this restoration are the film’s colours, especially the scenes at night around Charlotte Street and those with Moira Shearer at Pinewood.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday November 19 2010
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Powell
Screenwriter: Leo Marks
Cast: Karl Böhm
Anna Massey
Maxine Audley
Moira Shearer
Esmond Knight
Michael Goodliffe
Shirley Anne Field
Brenda Bruce

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|8
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Godfrey Hamilton

Apart from confirming the utter idiocy of the critics (most of them dead or in their dotage now) who, 50 years ago, effectively destroyed Powell's career, it is worth noting that the film still is rated '18', suggesting it has lost none of its ability to disturb and shock. Actually the element that feels most dated is Ms Massey's deeply irritating upper-middle-class accent, which almost (but not quite) makes you long for a bit of Estuary.

Godfrey Hamilton

Apart from confirming the utter idiocy of the critics (most of them dead or in their dotage now) who, 50 years ago, effectively destroyed Powell's career, it is worth noting that the film still is rated '18', suggesting it has lost none of its ability to disturb and shock. Actually the element that feels most dated is Ms Massey's deeply irritating upper-middle-class accent, which almost (but not quite) makes you long for a bit of Estuary.

Mickey Finn

Go see it you lucky people. Then treat yourself to The Archers back catalogue for some of the most magical and profound moments in cinemas history,

Mickey Finn

Go see it you lucky people. Then treat yourself to The Archers back catalogue for some of the most magical and profound moments in cinemas history,