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Auteur Pick: Experiment in Terror

By Peter Tonguette

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(Twilight Time, $29.95)

Experiment in Terror Blake Edwards

If Blake Edwards’s expertly made but jejune 1962 thriller is any indication, times were simpler in early-Sixties San Francisco. When criminal Ross Martin involves prim teller Lee Remick in his plan to rob the bank where she works, Remick turns to friendly neighborhood G-man Glenn Ford. Taking down her name with pencil and pad, as if preparing a grocery list, Ford doesn’t initially inspire confidence, but there’s something comforting in his earnest simplicity—upon learning that someone is romantically involved with Martin, he asks, “How could she protect a man like that?” The proof is in the pudding as he brings the bank robber to justice. Even more appealing than the film’s visual style (a pan revealing dozens of mannequins or a close-up of an unsettling toy tiger) and cozy settings (smoky nightclubs and hushed movie houses) is its quaint notion of the FBI as an affable helpmate in times of trouble.

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