Experiment in Terror (1962) Blu-ray Review

Director: Blake Edwards | 122 minutes | Indicator | Out 24th April

Glenn Ford stars in Blake Edwards post-Psycho thriller with Lee Remick as a bank teller who is terrorized by psychopath ‘Red’ Lynch into stealing from the bank in which she works.

Experiment in Terror is a early sixties crime thriller that actually feels more like a film noir crossed with a classic giallo. This mix makes for a compelling and highly rewarding feature.

What makes this movie even more noteworthy is that it was the first film made by Blake Edwards just a year he made Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). The fact that the same director can produce two completely different works so close to one another is a testament to the abilities of said director.

Edwards starts off the feature with a highly intense scene where a woman is grabbed from behind in her garage by an unseen man. The manner in which this is shot adds to the drama. The man’s face is never seen as it is obscured by a shadow, his black leather gloved hands clamping over the woman’s throat and mouth, his calm yet threatening voice slowly informing her of what he is capable of. It bares the hallmarks of giallo cinema, the archetypal villain toying with his hapless female victim. It is an excellent way to begin proceedings.

It’s hard to believe Edwards didn’t continue to direct more work like this. Instead he stuck with the Pink Panther franchise after the success he had with the first in the series in 1963. Experiment in Terror is an undervalued part of his filmography.

Glen Ford’s performance is one of the most memorable, playing the hardened FBI agent John Ripley. Ford took this role in what was the middle part of his fifty year career in Hollywood. He may be better known as Clark Kent’s ‘dad’ in Superman (1978). Ross Martin is the villain of the piece, harassing Lee Remick’s role into doing his dirty work. Martin is quite menacing and is convincing. He would mainly appear in television throughout his long career.

The 4k transfer for this disc is impressive, the black and white is solid. No signs of ageing are present and there is next to no grain on screen. The shadowy opening scene looks even better for it.

There is also a booklet, with written work by Kim Morgan (in which Blake’s darker works and Experiment in Terror are talked about) and Jeff Billington (in which he explores the strange case of the FBI investigating the writers of the main feature).

Limited to 3000 copies, this title has already sold quite well thanks to pre-orders.

Order here.