Peeping Tom

D: Michael Powell
Anglo Amalgamated (Michael Powell)
UK 1960
109 mins


W: Leo Marks
DP: Otto Heller
Ed: Noreen Ackland
Mus: Brian Easdale

Karl Boehm (Mark Lewis), Anne Massey (Helen Stephens), Moira Shearer (Vivian), Maxine Audley (Mrs. Stephens), Esmond Knight (Arthur Baden)

1960's audiences really weren't ready for this disturbing thriller, especially considering filmmaker Michael Powell's previous films were more conservative, family-friendly romantic fantasies, colourful dance movies and patriotic war pictures.
Dubbed British cinema's first slasher, the plot follows a cameraman at a film studio, moonlighting as a pornography photographer, who also murders women and films their terrified expressions as they die.
Karl Boehm, a German actor with a tinge of his native accent, is the perfect choice for the lead character, with a voice having an air of creepiness without being obviously sinister.
Though the film refrains from showing explicit gore and focuses more on the psychological side of a serial killer as well as being a study of the way an audience views a film (Peeping Tom was the first film to put the audience in the killer's POV).
Stuffy British film critics at the time of release completely missed the point of the film and found it totally repugnant. Sadly, Michael Powell's career never recovered from the negative press before his passing away. The film found favour in the late 1970's, when Martin Scorsese, a huge fan of the film, restored it for a re-release.

Karl Boehm in Peeping Tom
Karl Boehm in Peeping Tom