I Saw What You Did
Written by William P. McGivern
Directed by William Castle
Steve Marak...John Ireland
Teenager Libby and her kid sister Tess are left alone overnight for the first time, and Libby invites her friend Kit over to keep them company. Living out in the country, there's not much to do after the pet goat has been put to bed (seriously!), so the girls entertain themselves with some good, wholesome crank phone calls. Oh, the days before caller ID!
These calls range in variety from taunting people for their last names (Hamburger? Ileak?) to causing wives to suspect their husbands of infidelity. Eventually it evolves into the titular prank, telling whoever answers, "I saw what you did, and I know who you are." Because everybody is guilty of something, right?
Well, when they call Steve Marak, they have no way of knowing that he is a henpecked hubby who has just murdered his wife, and the "I saw what you did" line makes him understandably nervous. The girls moon over the seductiveness of his voice (talking about kissing like kids today talk about sex: 'Would you let him kiss you? Just once, as much as he wants?'), and decide to swing on by his house to see what the murderous Mr. Marak looks like. There's a confrontation with his mistress Amy (a femme fatale Joan Crawford) that inevitably leads him right back to the girls' country home.
At the opening, there were strange moments that felt as if I were watching a sit-com, and fully expected a laugh-track to kick in at any moment. And although those moments vanished about twenty minutes into the film, when the tone drastically changed, oddly enough the soundtrack didn't, remaining inappropriately upbeat practically throughout. When Steve murders his wife, it takes place in the shower, and although it will never replace the classic Psycho scene, it's still pretty damned good.
While I Saw What You Did may seem tame by today's standard, you have to realize and appreciate that this was a different era; It just took less to shock people back then. But without these classic films, the genre as we know it wouldn't even exist, which is why it's always good to pay an occasional tribute to the past.
A great deal of fun, with even a few tense moments along the way. Besides, it's William Freakin' Castle. The guy could film a senior citizen golf tournament, and I'd give it a whirl.
Black and White
Uxoricide: murder of a wife by her husband