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on January 31, 2005
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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on November 1, 2011
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. It's a nifty, intelligent mystery with some genuine surprises. Taylor is excellent, and she's matched by the rest of the cast. Director Brian G. Hutton (WHERE EAGLES DARE) uses every trick in the Hitchcock handbook to build the tension, and the final scenes are truly terrifying. The newly remastered DVD has great picture and sound, much better than all previous versions. The very dark night scenes have been clarified so you can actually see what's happening, and some of the music cues have been altered for the better (they replaced that incessant theme song with more appropriate music in several scenes). If you're already a fan of this movie, you've never seen it like this. And if you're simply looking for sleek suspense, you won't want to miss this Taylor tour de force.
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on August 26, 2011
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. The viewer feels a sense of compassion for the increasing emotional fragility of Miss Taylor's character in view of her past experiences, and begins to understand her paranoid thoughts with regard to her husband's suspected infidelity and her friend's deceit and betrayal.

Finally, after reluctantly agreeing that she must be hospitalized once again for treatment of a mental breakdown precipitated by past emotional trauma, she prepares to depart for a stay in an expensive private hospital and signs various legal papers which lead the viewer to believe that her husband is, indeed, conspiring to gain control of his wife's wealth and drive her over the edge of sanity. As a wild storm rages at night, she runs outside and heads to the deserted house next door, certain that everyone is conspiring to make it look as if she is insane and determined to prove that what she has been seeing is, in fact, very real. Her husband runs after her, to the deepening and ominous fright of their house guest. The denouement is terrifying and leaves the viewer stunned at the completely unexpected and macabre turn of events. Miss Taylor's final scene makes one realize what an accomplished actress she is, both in reality and in the character she portrays in this film.

Definitely a film that builds suspense while providing the viewer with the visual treat of Miss Taylor's unique beauty , Valentino wardrobe, and famous magnificent jewels, Nightwatch is one any Elizabeth Taylor aficianado will want to add to their collection.
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on October 10, 2012
The movie was based on a story by Lucille Fletcher. I was familiar with the play, based on the same novel. I will be producing the play in the Spring of 2013. I ordered the dvd to study the characterizations and the production requirements as they would apply to my play. I was disappointed in the movie, because it gave almost complete emphasis on Elizabeth Taylor, to the detriment of the story and the other characters. On its own, for people who are not familiar with the story, it is a good thriller and Ms. Taylor did well. People will be surprised at the ending. Sets, etc. are beautiful. So if you want a thriller in the same vein as Suspicion, Gaslight, and Rear Window, you will be satisfied.
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on December 30, 2012
This is a departure for the late, great Liz Taylor. I had never seen her in his type of suspensful vehicle. I believe she was terrific and really displayed horror and and suspense very well. The movie is quite creepy in spots and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I was really happy to see her reunited with Laurence Harvey from Butterfield 8. They have great chemistry. The movie is kind of frightening if you watch it alone! Great movie...You should pick it up!
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on December 9, 2014
This is a very well done and well acted thriller. Elizabeth Taylor is excellent as a beautiful, wealthy woman haunted by a tragedy from her past and now faced with a new terror...after seeing something horrible in the creepy, dilapidated, boarded up old house next door. Her husband and best friend begin to doubt her sanity and so do the police. Set in modern day England, this Gothic style chiller has all the trappings one could ask for... wealthy settings, beautiful but unstable heroine, thunderstorms, gorgeous clothes , spooky music and a perfect cast. Laurence Harvey and Billie Whitelaw are the husband and best friend who may be up to no good. And, as a plus, there's a strange neighbor digging in his garden that unnerves Taylor. The suspense builds and builds until a terrifying climax and a wonderful twist ending. The DVD is a clean, good print and the sound is right on the mark. This is the kind of film where you don't want to miss a thing. Enjoy. And avoid those creepy, boarded up old houses...if you can.
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on December 4, 2015
Miss ELIZABETH TAYLOR one of the greatest Hollywood superstars EVER, DOES A "PSYCHO" TURN!!!!! Terrifying suspenseful well written, directed & acted movie by a stellar ensemble cast. Ms. BILLIE WHITELAW (Mrs. Baylock the DEMONIC NANNY from 1976's scarefest classic THE OMEN!!!) & Mr. LAURENCE HARVEY (from the original 1962's equally suspenseful THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) playing Ms.Taylor's best friend & husband respectively AND BOTH TRYING TO DRIVE Ms. TAYLOR OUT OF HER MIND ALL THE WAY TO THE LOONEY FARM!!!!! OR ARE THEY?????? A MUST SEE FOR ALL Ms. TAYLOR's FANS LIKE ME!!!! The movie kept me guessing all the WAY TO THE HORRIFYING BLOODY CONCLUSION & TRULY MADE MY SKIN CRAWL (very graphic for a 1973's film)!!!!!!!! WATCH IT DURING A DARK STORMY NIGHT WITH ALL THE LIGHTS OUT!!!!!
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on October 25, 2015
Anybody who has seen a haunted house thriller won't be blown away by this entry in the genre. That said the selling point is a delicious performance by Elizabeth Taylor as the matron who may have witnessed the aftermath of a double murder or maybe is only imagining it. Liz brings so much gusto to the part that you'll forget that the ending is telegraphed early. Good supporting cast includes Laurence Harvey as Taylor's harried second husband, Billie Whitelaw as her concerned best friend, and in a small but notable part Robert Lang as the neighbor with the gardening fixation. The film is tautly directed by Brian G. Hutton from the stage play by Lucille Fletcher keeping the film atmospheric without resorting to staginess. The ending here is false so wait for the epilogue which is a doozy.
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on December 28, 2013
Idle and wealthy Ellen Wheeler (Elizabeth Taylor), the neglected wife of loving but desperate-to-prove-he’s-not-living-off-her, workaholic husband, John (Laurence Harvey), is still, after eight years, haunted by memories of her first husband’s death in a violent automobile crash that also took the life of his 20-year-old mistress. After suffering a crippling breakdown, Ellen has since been plagued by nightly bouts of insomnia and subtly treated as a mentally fragile time-bomb by both her husband and her visiting girlhood friend, Sarah (Billie Whitelaw). On one particularly stormy night vigil with too little sleep and too many inner demons to battle (and there are a LOT of rain storms in this London-based thriller), Ellen glances out the window to the abandoned house across the courtyard and sees, in a flash of lightning and flurry of storm-tossed shutters, the horrifying image of a murdered man.
Thus this unjustifiably-forgotten thriller of the "Is she crazy or being driven crazy?" variety, kicks off. A nice surprise from Taylor's late career.
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on September 28, 2012
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