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Peeping Tom Special Edition [Blu-ray] [1960]

55 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Karlheinz Böhm
  • Directors: Michael Powell
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003YXZHC6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,149 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Michael Powell's controversial serial killer classic. A clean-cut focus puller (Carl Boehm) at the local film studio supplements his wages by taking girly photographs in a seedy studio above a newsagent. By night he is a sadistic killer, stalking his victims with his camera forever in his hand trying to capture the look of genuine, unadulterated fear. On its initial release the film, now regarded as a masterpiece of the British horror movement, was savaged by critics and public alike. The fearsome reaction went a long way to ruining director Powell's career and the movie was unavailable for many years.

From Amazon.co.uk

Michael Powell lays bare the cinema's dark voyeuristic underside in this disturbing 1960 psychodrama thriller. Handsome young Carl Boehm is Mark Lewis, a shy, socially clumsy young man shaped by the psychic scars of an emotionally abusive parent, in this case a psychologist father (the director in a perverse cameo) who subjected his son to nightmarish experiments in fear and recorded every interaction with a movie camera. Now Mark continues his father's work, sadistically killing young women with a phallic-like blade attached to his movie camera and filming their final, terrified moments for his definitive documentary on fear. Set in contemporary London, which Powell evokes in a lush, colourful seediness, this film presents Mark as much victim as villain and implicates the audience in his scopophilic activities as we become the spectators to his snuff film screenings. Comparisons to Hitchcock's Psycho, released the same year, are inevitable. Powell's film was reviled upon release, and it practically destroyed his career, ironic in light of the acclaim and success that greeted Psycho, but Powell's picture hit a little too close to home with its urban setting, full colour photography, documentary techniques and especially its uneasy connections between sex, violence and the cinema. We can thank Martin Scorsese for sponsoring its 1979 re-release, which presented the complete, uncut version to appreciative audiences for the first time. This powerfully perverse film was years ahead of its time and remains one of the most disturbing and psychologically complex horror films ever made. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Anton on 30 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
At last a decent DVD release for this disturbing classic from nearly fifty years ago. Vilified and treated like a video nasty on its initial release this trip inside the mind of a pyschopath is still so fresh and refreshing. Recommended for all students of serious horror, the tale of a disturbed young mind with a blade on his camera tripod filming his victims expressions as he kills them is utterly gripping. Acting all round is top notch in a production way ahead of it's time. Recommended.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By oblong2001@hotmail.com on 11 Jan. 2001
Format: DVD
Also released in 1960, Peeping Tom disgusted the censors and outraged the British Press to such a degree that Director Michael Powell found he had to move to Australia if he wished to continue his filmmaking career! The theme of scopophilia (pleasure from watching) is at the centre of this daringly ground-breaking movie as an affected cameraman (Mark) films the fear of the girls he murders to watch again and again! As he becomes emotionally entangled with his live-in tennant, his love for her becomes confused with his sociopathic desire to film her when she becomes frightened. A dark and interesting film, Peeping Tom addresses the very nature of cinema and the viewers' apparent complicity in the subject matter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Biffer Spice on 4 May 2012
Format: DVD
Peeping Tom (1960)

This is one of those films that is well preceded by its backstory. Director Michael Powell, one half of one of Britain's most famous filmmakers, Powell and Pressburger, committed career suicide with this film. The British public were so offended by this offering that the studios pretty much closed their doors to him, and one of our greatest filmmakers ever was prematurely finished, at the height of his powers. Only later, championed by the likes of Scorcese, did the world reevaluate Peeping Tom, and come to agree that it is a masterpiece. As a loss to filmmaking, it seems a similar story to that of Buster Keaton, after making the General, when it was a massive flop, and Keaton was not allowed the freedom to make his own films any more. He became a sideman, tied to a long-running inescapable contract, and ended up a frustrated alcoholic. Later, the film was recognised to be a masterpiece, some say the greatest silent film ever made, and one wistfully wonders what he might have produced had he not had his creative hands tied in such disastrous fashion.

This film, as you'd expect upon hearing of the reaction it forced from the public of the time, is brutal and shocking. Compared to Psycho (although Hitchcock suffered no similar public disgust), it is the story of a man who is only a "focus puller" in the movies, but who longs to be a film-maker. In his part time, he kills women with his camera, filming their last moments. By seeing what he sees while he does it, we are drawn into the murderer's mind perhaps more than in other killer films, and one wonders if this is one reason it feels so much more uncomfortable than other killer movies. Another reason for the outcry is that we don't see this man as just a cold-blooded killer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
This is a great, unpleasant, disturbing film made by Michael Powell three years after he and his partner in the Archers, Emeric Pressburger, went their own ways. British critics loathed it, said so loudly, and the movie died within weeks of its release. Some say it destroyed Powell's career.

Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) is a young man who works as a camera puller at a movie studio, who also at night photogaphs girlie pictures for magazines. His father, a psychologist, studied the effects of fear by putting his son in terrible situations and then photographing the child's reactions. Lewis lives in the second floor of a house and often watches those movies while he sits alone in the dark.

Lewis also does something else. In the tripod of his camera there is a concealed knife. As he photographs a girl the knife pushes into her, while the camera films her face as she realizes she is going to die and then while she is dying. He plays back these movies, too. As you watch Peeping Tom you become a voyeur participant in what he is doing. He meets the young woman who lives below him and it is apparent that she is at first curious about him, but then attracted to him. He finds within himself an attraction that might be love, might be salvation, but which is conflicted. The movie plays out with tension, remorse and even sympathy. The ending is somewhat unexpected, but with hindsight also inevitable.

And maybe that is what made this movie so controversial. Lewis is a sympathetic figure. You know what his father put him through because you've watched those old movies. Boehm playes Lewis as a shy, nice, rather sad young man. Anna Massey, who plays Helen Stephens, the girl on the first floor, is a first-rate actress and in this role she is excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD
This excellent edition of Peeping Tom from Studio Canal really has very good colour and image quality, giving you the full immediacy of Michael Powell's startling film. By any reasonable reckoning it should be an appalling film to sit through if you're not a fan of the serial killer genre, but Powell manages to subvert this expectation by presenting a story so human that a huge gulf opens between the nastiness of the killings and the sympathy you feel for the sad, psychopathic character who is perpetrating them. This is only possible in cinema, but it does incline us to try to understand more than make easy judgements in real life, so to that extent the film has a strong humanist core. Mark is in many ways a very gentle character who has been destroyed by his childhood, in which he was subjected to appalling experiments in fear by his father. The casting of Carl Boehm is an amazing coup, as you can only think how gentleness is this man's essential nature, however it may have been distorted. When he meets Anna Massey who lives downstairs with her blind mother, the stage is set for a tender drama of the heart that sets you reeling, such is the contrast with the flipside of Mark's actions. The film is shot in quite a lurid way, showing you what the character sees through his lens right up to the last second before he murders them. It is both intensely voyeuristic and a vivid Technicolor creation in which the viewer oddly feels buoyed up, generally, by the humanity of the director's gaze, and of the characters and mise-en-scene. It's hard to see how Powell pulls this off, but it is completely different from any other film of this type.Read more ›
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