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Night Watch (1973)

Elizabeth Taylor stars here in a film that plays like a Hammer Production and had it been made 10 years earlier should have starred Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. Or both!

Liz plays the wife of Laurence Harvey. They live comfortably in England in a new home.  Next to them is an abandoned house that has seen better days.  While looking out her window during a late night storm, Liz is positive she witnesses a gruesome murder through some slamming shutters in the “old dark house”.

liz taylor

Harvey sees nothing and would prefer Liz to lie down and forget about it. It seems Liz has a past. She’s an insomniac who suffered  through a terrible ending to her first marriage which plays out in some eerily done nightmare scenes when she does drift off for a brief sleep.

To appease her, Harvey brings in the police while good friend Billie Whitelaw tries to keep Liz calm. Is it just me or are Harvey and Whitelaw playing around behind Mrs. Burton’s back?

As Liz slowly loses her senses she is continually hounding the local police inspector with tales of murder in the house across the way forcing Harvey to possibly seek a home for her and power of attorney in all her affairs. By this time Liz is convinced that Whitelaw is sleeping with Harvey. Is this set up a red herring? Are they trying to drive Liz mad?

nightwatch

Get a copy and find out. It’s a rather enjoyable outcome for a film that I admittedly didn’t expect too much from. Once it started to play like a Hammer Studios film, it got my attention and held it through the twists and turns that are sure to come in this genre.

To see Elizabeth Taylor in a film of this type is somewhat of a surprise. Not so much when it comes to Billie Whitelaw. She still haunts my dreams as Mrs. Baylock in The Omen.

OriginalBaylock

Laurence Harvey reunites with Liz here. They had starred together in Butterfield 8 back in 1960 for which she won the Academy Award. Sadly, Harvey would die the same year this creepy effort was released at the age of 45.

Night Watch  1973 Laurence Harvey

Coming off some early seventies hits as director is Brian G. Hutton. He had done Kelly’s Heroes as well as working with Liz on X, Y and Z where she starred opposite Michael Caine the year previous to this outing.

Thanks go out to the Warner Archive Collection for making this title available. Glad I picked it up.

8 Comments »

  1. I don’t believe I’ve seen this, Mike. Yes, it doesn’t sound like the kind of movie we normally associate with Taylor but I’m drawn by the comparison you make to Hammer thrillers. I shall have to look out for this.

  2. I vaguely remember this since I had a major Taylor fan in the family so I’ve seen all her stuff, even from this era of unusual and lesser known films. Should check it out again though, sounds like a thriller worth a revisit.

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