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Night Watch

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Taylor ventured but once into the scarified world of Grande Dame Guignol, and Night Watch is the striking result. Taylor's matron in menace role is that of Ellen Wheeler, a lonely insomniac trapped in a loveless marriage and by an obsession with a creepy gothic manse next door. One night while indulging in her alcohol fueled ramblings, Ellen spots a corpse inside the vacant house. A corpse that resembles her deceased, two timing first husband...a corpse that no one else thinks exists. Adapted from a play by suspense mistress Lucille Fletcher (Sorry, Wrong Number, The Hitch-Hiker, Night Man), Night Watch re-teams Liz with her Butterfield 8 co-star Laurence Harvey, playing Ellen's emotionally distant second husband in one of his final film performances. Genre stalwart Billie Whitelaw rounds out the cast.

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey
  • Directors: Brian G. Hutton
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: December 3, 2011
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,112 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By DonnaReviews on January 31, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Absolute delicious fun. Standard plot of woman (with shaky mental history) in big house witnessing murder as storm rages and then having her husband and "best friend" doubt her sanity is very well done here and loads of suspenseful fun to watch. Are her husband and "best female friend" in a plot to drive her mad and steal her fortune? What's going on in the house next door?

Elizabeth Taylor is perfect as the beleaguered woman -- magnificent looking, as usual, and waltzing around in Valentino gowns with plenty of "rocks" on view (gifts from Burton?) (hey -- what's with those kaftans and the Gothic sleeves on the cranberry dress? She was in her jet-setty "kaftans-and jewelry" stage, ever a glamorous movie star!). Whether waking up in the wee hours or running through a thunderstorm, her makeup is always perfect replete with glossy lipstick! That's part of the fun.

But the suspense is handled very well and hubbie and best friend are indeed well cast, too. Are they or aren't they in league? Yes, calvalcades of female stars have been put through this sort of wringer (Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia DeHavilland, Jean Simmons, Mia Farrow, the list goes on) and the results can be hit or miss, but here it's hit. Entertaining stuff with some genuinely surprising twists (that are a hoot alone to behold!)
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. on November 1, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Lucille Fletcher wrote several clever suspense stories back in the mid-1900s, the most famous one being Sorry, Wrong Number, in which a homebound paraplegic woman accidentally overhears a terrifying phone conversation and realizes that her life is in danger. Fletcher's 1971 Broadway play, NIGHT WATCH, had a similar premise, only this time the troubled woman doesn't hear something awful--she sees it. The play was filmed in 1973 as a vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor.

Taylor plays Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow who has recently married again. She's recovering from a nervous breakdown caused by her first husband's death in a car accident while running away with another woman. Ellen sits in her big house in London, fretting over her dead spouse's betrayal and growing increasingly suspicious of her new husband (Laurence Harvey) and her best friend (Billie Whitelaw). Is hubby #2 cheating on her like #1? Is he having an affair with her friend? Are they trying to drive her crazy, planning to do her in for her fortune? These are her thoughts one dark and stormy night when she happens to look out her rear window, over at the abandoned mansion that shares her backyard. A shutter has come loose on an upstairs window of the empty house, and it's flapping in the storm. She leans forward, staring at that window, and...I won't say any more, but I will say that the original posters for the movie showed an extreme closeup of Taylor's terrified face above the caption: "What this woman sees will haunt you for the rest of your life."

I've been a fan of this dark thriller ever since I first saw it in a theater in 1973, and it's now available as a DVD-R from Warner's wonderful Archive Collection.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Moira on August 26, 2011
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The first time I saw this back in 1973, it was so scary that I was afraid to turn off the lights after dark for several nights. After many years, I wanted to add it to my video library and was thrilled to get a copy even if it was only VHS instead of DVD. This film seems to not be well known in the US and isn't even mentioned in some of the biographies written about Miss Taylor; however, it was a British film and that could explain this fact. Laurence Harvey, who starred with Elizabeth in Butterfield 8, once again stars opposite her, this time in the role of her second husband who is somewhat aloof and superficially concerned about his wife's fragile state of mind and increasing descent into madness .

Elizabeth Taylor gives a convincing portrayal of a woman who is on the brink of losing her sanity, repeatedly seeing a dead body through a window in the spooky abandoned house next door to her lovely London home. Flashbacks to a traumatic past when her first husband and his young lover were killed in a car accident lend credence to her tenuous hold on sanity. Her fragile emotional state offers a creepy insight into what appears to drive her continued sightings of a dead body that police are unable to find, as well as her increasing hysteria when the police do not take her seriously after their searches of the decrepit abandoned old mansion next door reveal nothing.

Coupled with her paranoia and suspicions about her new husband's (Laurence Harvey) infidelity with their house guest who is supposed to be her best friend (Billie Whitelaw), the portrayal of a woman who is losing her grip on reality is compelling.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anna V. Carroll on December 20, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was living in London when this film came out. Being a HUGE Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey fan, of course I saw it! I have been waiting for years for this film to be reissued on a DVD. At last, it has. It isn't at all dated. Even the Valentino clothes that Ms. Taylor wears are up-to-date looking.

The diamond and ruby ring (it is huge!) she wears throughout the film was sold a few days ago at an astronomical price.

To watch the film knowing the Ms. Taylor and Mr. Harvey are gone from us forever is very sad. Billie Whitelaw, the wonderful, talented English actress is still very much on the scene. The colors in the film are lush. Her London home is beautifully appointed and her English Garden lovely.

The story line is a bit over-the-top but that is why we went to see Liz Taylor back in the 60s. She was over-the-top! Every hair in place, her wardrobe spectacular, her jewels only the biggest and brightest. Her make-up flawless. Women wanted to be her and men wanted to have someone like her on their arm.

The film revolves around her delicate emotional hold on life. Her emotional problems started after the death of her first husband in a car accident. The fact he was with a young girl at the time sent her over the edge. Many flashbacks of that fateful night pepper the film.

The film begins a few years after her husband's death. She is now married to Mr. Harvey who always looks like he stepped out of a Gieves & Hawkes ad! I literally ran into him one afternoon in London and he was positively anorexic! But I adored him!

Billie Whitelaw (a very familiar face in the 60s)is her best childhood friend and has one guessing from the first frame. By the end of the film you realize why you don't really trust her, but it's too late.
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