Jump to: navigation, search

Film Quarterly (1980) - "Peeping Tom": A Second Look




Mark works at a commercial studio by day as focus-puller on a 35mm Mitchell, moonlights on his girlie pictures with an 8 x 10 view camera, and uses a specially equipped 16mm Bell and Howell Filmo for his personal project-which is not just a series of disconnected murder scenes but a documentary that includes the removal or discovery of the bodies and the police investigation-and culminates in Mark's suicide. On the one hand, the characters and settings look and sound as naturalistic as in any ordinary commercial film: where an artificial eyelid closed over the lens in A Matter of Life and Death, it is a real eye that opens at the start of Tom: where Sammy in The Small Back Room had delusions of a gigantic whisky bottle, Helen's alcoholic mother grapples with one of normal size; where the "Red Shoes" ballet used optical trickery to convert a flower into a knife, Mark's tripod becomes lethal with the simple removal of a sheath.