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Peeping Tom (1960)

Director(s): Michael Powell

Theatrical Release: 1960

Cast: Karl Heinz Bohm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Shirley Ann Field, Jack Watson

Genre(s): Thriller, classic, cinema, Criterion Collection, Dean's List

Countries: United Kingdom


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Running Time: 101m.

Michael Powell's controversial meditation on violence and voyeurism effectively destroyed his career when it was first released, but later generations have come to regard it as a masterpiece. Karl Heinz Boehm stars as Mark, the son of a psychologist who kept a video journal of the boy's upbringing for research purposes. The constant intrusions profoundly affected the boy, who grew up to be a photographer himself; but his principal subject matter consists of women whom he murders before the camera. He then runs the films of his victims in their final throes so that he can study their reactions to death—a perverse extension of his father's experiments, which tormented Mark to analyze his reactions to raw fear. The British press had long been hostile to the unorthodox films of Powell and his partner Emeric Pressburger; when Peeping Tom came around, they used the film to castigate him as "sick" and tawdry. The passage of time has proven Peeping Tom as profound and accomplished as any of Powell's earlier films, and it ranks with Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958) as a landmark exploration of the links among voyeurism, violence, and male sexual desire. Powell himself plays the evil father in the flashback sequences, and his son Colomba plays Mark as a child. — Hal Erickson (allmovie.com)

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Criterion Collection DVD #58 Special Features:

+ New widescreen digital transfer, created from restored film elements and enhanced for widescreen televisions

+ Audio essay by renowned film theorist Laura Mulvey

+ Stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos

+ A Very British Psycho, directed by Chris Rodley: the Channel 4 U.K. documentary about the life of screenwriter Leo Marks, as well as the making and critical reception of Peeping Tom

+ Original theatrical trailer

+ English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

+ Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
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