Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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Review by a seller of the DVD on eBay
It takes a pretty special film to destroy the career of one of Britain's greatest directors practically overnight, and Peeping Tom is just that sort of film. While its content isn't terribly shocking by today's standards (at least compared to the floodgates of gore opened by Blood Feast a few years later), psychologically Peeping Tom has lost little (if any) of its original, disturbing impact. Director Michael Powell, with tongue slightly in cheek, once described Peeping Tom as a film about a film fan, and behind Powell's jest lies the key to the film's impact. Mark Lewis (Karl-Heinz Boehm) is a murderous voyeur who obsessively films the deaths of young women (whom he stabs with the sharpened leg of a tripod); in the first few minutes, as we watch one woman's agonies through the viewfinder of Mark's camera, Powell forces us to watch Mark's crimes through his own eyes. And later, as Karl views the deadly images projected onto a screen in rapt silence, we see an unpleasant reflection of ourselves; if the appeal of the cinema is to a large degree voyeuristic, as the camera allows us to silently observe the lives of the figures on screen, then Mark Lewis is the ultimate extension of the ugly side of the filmgoing experience, taking erotic pleasure in the pain and fear of the people he films, and Powell is all too willing to indicate the audience's complicity as they follow Mark's actions. And while the standards of its day imposed certain limits on Powell, Peeping Tom doesn't shy away from a clear focus on the fetishistic voyeurism inherent in the story: Mark supplements his career as a focus puller by doing cheesecake photography (at a time when the legality of girlie magazines was still questionable in England); one bit of comic relief is pegged on a timid man's buying under-the-counter pornography from a tobacconist; and the U.K.'s most famous nude model of the day, Pamela Green, appears in a small role (the relative equivalent of, say, giving Linda Lovelace a supporting role in Frenzy). While Powell carefully documents the emotional conditions that made Mark what he is, he also clearly intimates that his twisted psyche merely amplifies (and distorts) the voyeuristic impulse that lurks in us all, making Mark Lewis unexpectedly sympathetic and the audience an unwitting accomplice in his crimes. While often compared to Psycho, another ground-breaking terror film of the same year, Peeping Tom is a more daring and audacious film than Alfred Hitchcock's masterful whodunit, and it has more in common with Hitchcock's Rear Window. An unusually frank and non-judgmental portrayal of deviant psychology and sexuality (Mark's actions are not condoned, but he's more a tragic victim than a villain), the film asks questions and raises issues guaranteed to make nearly any audience uncomfortable.