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A film that was half a century ahead of itself.

PEEPING TOM 50th ANNIVERSARY (15) Verdict: HE'D already made classic movies like Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes a year later, but when Peeping Tom was released in 1960 it all but ended Kent-born director Michael Powell's career.

The then X-rated story showcased voyeuristic filmmaker Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) as he filmed the deaths of his victims.

His twin obsessions could not be greater were he alive in today's digital age.

Years after its failed release, the emerging Martin Scorsese wondered 'if the film was a rumour'.

Once he had found somebody who had a print, he helped to save what has matured into a masterpiece which has been fully restored for a Blu-ray DVD release on Monday.

Last month Peeping Tom was reclassified as a 15, with the BBFC declaring 'There is a complete lack of any blood and injuries'. But it remains a singularly fearsome piece of work that was literally half a century ahead of itself.

The clipped accents of the female cast, including Shirley Anne Field, Anna Massey, Moria Shearer and former Birmingham Rep star Brenda Bruce as Dora, probably date Peeping Tom the most.

Like James Whale's Frankenstein (1931), the direction is unsurpassable and the casting of German star Boehm as the killer remains a master stroke.

Now resembling a cross between Michael Caine and Leonardo DiCaprio, Boehm's dispassionate performance remains wholly untouched by time.

Powell himself played the killer's scientist father, A N Lewis, who cruelly experimented on his boy (Powell's own son, Columba) to see what frightened him.

Five months before the Lady Chatterley trial, its original critics completely missed the point that it's a chillingly-believable insight into fear and the dark side of all of us.

But as a whole, Peeping Tom feels like it was made yesterday - the mark of a truly great film.

Scorsese's still-loyal multi Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, now 70, was aged just 44 when she married the 78-year-old Powell in 1984 for what were to be the last six years of his extraordinary life.

Tomorrow, 20 years after Powell's death on February 19, 1990 and 50 years after Peeping Tom was released on May 16, 1960, this unforgettable classic is back on the silver screen.

It plays the Electric Cinema tomorrow and Sunday (1pm and 3pm) and at Warwick Arts Centre on November 29 (6.30pm) and 30 (8.30pm). Don't miss it!

GRAHAM YOUNG

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Chilling: The disturbing Peeping Tom has been re-released.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 19, 2010
Words:410
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