DATELINE: Grand Taylor Horror!
Liz @ Her Best
By the time Elizabeth Taylor reached the end of her prime, she ditched Richard Burton. Her first theatrical movie without him, after 11 extraordinary teammate movies, including the notorious TV film Divorce His, Hers, was something called Night Watch from 1973.
Now streaming for the first time ever.
This is vintage Taylor: extraordinary wardrobe, great hair, jewels to die for, and a svelte damsel Liz in distress.
Night Watch is a paranoid’s nightmare.
As the rich and disdainful Ellen with a swish of silver in her hair, she does jigsaw puzzles and entertains her girlhood friend (Billie Whitelaw) in indolent luxury. Her palacial home, unfortunately, is next to some abandoned, ramshackle mansion that seems haunted.
As she does a jigsaw of Bosch’s painting of Hell, she thinks she has seen a murder in a thunderstorm across the garden. Alas, police think she is bonkers, and her husband (Laurence Harvey) isn’t more helpful, trying to find an old psychiatrist to commit her.
Before you can say Gaslight, the old classic about a mad wife, you may have Hitchcock’s Suspicion on your hands. Perhaps too the director and writer saw Barbara Stanwyk’s chestnut called Night Walker.
It’s all in the horror/mystery family, though this one is definitely high-end in its hoots & laughs quotient.
All while she suffers, Taylor’s insanity is a joy to behold. The suspects line up from every direction: former dead husband, his lover, a smarmy neighbor, a hostile housekeeper, and even cavalier police.
Who wants to drive her crazy? Or is she actually seeing dead people?
As the drama grows more overwrought, the pay-off is way beyond anything Taylor fans could ever desire. We loved every cliché moment. The ending was considered a surprise shock by most fans. Marvelous.