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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Blindfold (Blu-ray)
Blindfold (Blu-ray)
Kl Studio Classics // Unrated // September 10, 2019 // Region A
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Stuart Galbraith IV | posted September 20, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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Yet another Universal title seemingly inspired by their success with Stanley Donen's Charade (1963), Philip Dunne's Blindfold (1966) is slickly-made but not very good, despite its game cast. An espionage thriller, the movie doesn't seem to understand the difference between the witty dialogue and black humor of Charade and the incongruous sitcom-style broad slapstick found in Blindfold. At times the picture takes itself seriously; elsewhere, well, its attempts at satire and physical comedy fail pretty miserably.

One note up-front: Though Kino's packaging list the film as being in black-and-white, it's actually in full color, and in 2.35:1 Panavision to boot.

In Central Park in Manhattan, well-known psychiatrist Dr. Bartholomew Snow (Rock Hudson), is approached by "the General" (Jack Warden), a national security chief, who drafts a reluctant Snow into a top-secret case involving one of Snow's former patients, Arthur Vincenti (Alejandro Rey), whose genius mind is clouded by a recent mental breakdown. Snow agrees to treat Vincenti but the General has him hidden away at "Base X," a safehouse. Enemy agents are after his genius, too.

To get there, Snow flies with the General and his aide, Barker (Paul Comi), to somewhere in the American Southeast, then he's driven for many miles, during which time Snow is blindfolded. The treatment will require many arduous trips back-and-forth, as the General wants to ensure Snow otherwise lives and works according to his usual schedule to avert suspicion.

Back in New York, Snow encounters Vincenti's sister, Vicky (Claudia Cardinale), who insists that her brother is not mentally ill, that, in fact, he's been kidnapped. Further, a stuttering patient of Snow's, Fitzpatrick (Guy Stockwell), claims to be a CIA agent looking for Vincenti, telling Snow that the General is, in fact, an enemy agent and kidnapper. Who's telling the truth?

The story, adapted from Lucille Fletcher's 1960 novel, operates from two rather thin premises. One, that Snow has no way of knowing for certain who the good and bad guys are, and that, Two, the gimmick of Snow and Vicky trying to locate "Base X" in order to rescue the brother.

In the movie, Dunne attempts something like satire in depicting the various government agencies hopelessly dysfunctional due to their paranoid security procedures, but this is done with considerable clumsiness and with no clear purpose. (Dunne considered it a spoof on national security, but the movie certainly doesn't play like that's what it's supposed to be.) Meanwhile, Snow and Vicky's efforts to retrace the former's steps is slow-moving and obvious. For instance, Dunne's direction draws far too much attention to the General's habit of tying the cellophane wrappers of his cigars into a knot, a clear indicator that Snow is going to find at least one of these discarded wrappers while looking for Base X. The one moderately clever idea is that, while blindfolded, Snow hears what he thinks is a wild party of revelers whopping it up, a strange sound to hear as soon as their plane lands. But Dunne doesn't handle this very well, either. It turned up again, in the movie Sneakers (1992).

The biggest problem with the picture is its lame attempts at broad, physical comedy, particularly a chase sequence, Snow running from bad guys, during which Snow turns to that trusted weapon of the underdog, the overpowering fire extinguisher, spewing, in this case, something resembling whipped cream. Another hoary cliché, the use of the U.S. Cavalry "charge" bugle, disrupting Lalo Schifrin's otherwise fine score.

On the plus side, Rock Hudson's usual relaxed charm helps, as does Claudia Cardinale's fiery personality, she provided with a particularly skin-hugging wardrobe for most of the film. Indeed, so revealing is her costume in scenes where she and Rock get soaking wet traipsing through a swamp, the actress is clearly positioning her arms to cover certain parts of her anatomy.

Video & Audio

  Licensed from Universal by Kino, Blindfold looks fairly good, with strong color and with little signs of damage or wear. The DTS-HD Master Audio (mono) is likewise very reasonably strong. Optional English subtitles are provided on this region "A" disc.

Extra Features

Supplements include an animated image gallery and something billed as a TV promo which is actually nothing more than a short, randomly selected clip from the movie, presented in high-def and widescreen, perhaps to promote it for streaming services.

Parting Thoughts

Not bad but definitely disappointing, Blindfold is a harmless time-killer, but not much more than that. Rent It.






Stuart Galbraith IV is the Kyoto-based film historian currently restoring a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse.

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