Kehr Capsule of the Week: Peeping Tom (1960)

 

Michael Powell‘s suppressed masterpiece, made in 1960 but sparsely shown in the U.S. with its ferocity and compassion intact. The German actor Carl Boehm plays a shy, sensitive British boy (Powell doesn’t try to cover his accent, which is typical of the film’s deliberate sacrifice of realism for effect) who loves movies with all his heart and soul because he knows what they’re really about—sex and death. This seductive, brightly colored thriller isn’t about the “problem” of voyeurism as much as the sub-rosa fascinations of the cinema. It’s an understanding and at times even celebratory film—attitudes that scandalized critics years ago and are still pretty potent today. The uniformly excellent cast includes Anna Massey, Moira Shearer (the ballerina of Powell’s The Red Shoes), and Maxine Audley.


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