Web Site Created Monday 17th May 1999. This page updated Sunday 13th September 2015.
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Persistence Pays Off!
This'll probably be my last update until the Christmas-themed update during November for which I have absolutely no ideas for at the moment. Except that it will be Christmas-themed. And available from some point in November.
I recently got hold of a film I'd been trying to remember the name of / see again / get hold of for over 30 years: it's a long and completely uninteresting story as to how I finally got hold of it so here goes:
I once saw a film years ago (mid '70s when I was around 10 years old methinks) which had started off dull then got very interesting. I hadn't really paid much attention to it at the beginning as I was reading a book (I think) and didn't think this film had looked very interesting. Anyway as it went on I could sense it was getting more interesting and started watching. By the end I was hooked on it as it was a film (the only ever one) that made me really fear for the lead character and even scared me in places.
Never bothered noting the title of the film at that time as I thought it would be on again as all films were. Kept an eye out, never came on that I could see. As years went on I started to try and remember what the film was about and I remembered it was about a blind girl finding dead bodies and dead bodies moving around her house before she finally gets help from somebody. Or that she thought she was getting help but it turned out that the help she was getting was from the bad guy. And wasn't it her husband who was doing all the killings? And didn't it star Valerie Harper from Rhoda? And wasn't it a TV movie? If it had Valerie Harper in it wouldn't that make it an American film? But didn't it feel British?
So along came the internet and from within a little time of being on the internet in the mid '90s I started to hunt for the title of this film. Various search engines came and went and I couldn't identify it. Then when films like Gaslight were on TV I'd watch them in the hope it was the film I was looking for. I'd literally know within a minute or two that the various films I watched wasn't the film I was trying to remember having watched in the '70s.
When I got into looking at the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) I once again started the search. I looked up Valerie Harper and went through her list of films. Night Terror was the only one that I recognised though I sensed this wasn't the one because she didn't play a blind character. I got hold of it anyway, watched it and remembered that I had seen this one around the time that I had seen the film I was after and had really enjoyed it. Some of the memories I had associated with the film I was after had actually come from this film instead. I was pleased to get it, it's a tremendous TV movie, a great thriller and is currently on YouTube I notice.
TV station Bravo used to broadcast relatively rare films such as No Blade of Grass and Melody (two faves of mine) so I kept an eye on this channel. During the '90s a film came up titled Twisted Nerve which was described as being about a girl terrorised in her own home so I switched this on in the excited anticipation that I might have finally found the right film only to be disappointed that it wasn't the film I was looking for only to be rewarded by the fact that it's a fantastic film anyway. Hywel Bennett, Hayley Mills & Billie Whitelaw all star in a brilliant thriller that's also now one of my favourite films. I hadn't found the right film but I had found a brilliant film. I knew it wasn't the right film as soon as I saw that Hayley's character wasn't blind. It made me think that perhaps Hywel had starred in other thrillers and I knew that Hayley had herself (Deadly Strangers, 1974) so when I saw another Hywel Bennett & Hayley Mills thriller coming up on Bravo I wondered whether this might be the film I was after. Nope, as soon as I saw that the film Endless Night was based on a book by Agatha Christie I knew it wasn't the one, let alone that the atmosphere was completely different from the one I remembered this mysterious film having, or that Hayley's not in the film too much. I liked it anyway and I've seen it a couple more times since as it's one of the more accurate Christie adaptations and the book is one of my top Christie books. The search and wait continued, Bravo disappeared.
I had always remembered with great interest the '70s TV series Thriller which had aired on ITV; this was a must-get series for me as it had been one of the few series to ever creep me out. Great stories, scary atmosphere, with some scripts by the legendary Brian Clemens of The Avengers fame. This came out on DVD and I only had to wait a year or two before my bank account could afford to buy it. I avidly watched the series and within a series or two started to think that perhaps the film I'd been after had actually been part of this series. It would tie in with watching Night Terror around the same time. It also seemed to be in the same style as what I thought I remembered of the film. There was one episode where a woman is stalked in a block of flats but that was about the closest it came plot-wise to the film I was hunting. I watched every episode of Thriller (it's a brilliant series if you like scary stuff, possibly the best series of its kind) but my hopes of this blind-girl-menaced-by-killer memory that I had belonging to this series were dashed. I started to think I had imagined this memory; perhaps I'd dreamt that I'd watched it.
However, some time later I returned to the chase. Had I really imagined this film? Not all the memories I had had turned up in Night Terror so was there hope yet?
I shifted my attention to Amazon and by chance, having brought Thriller some time ago, an Amazon recommendation came up for a film called Taste of Fear. As soon as I saw the title I recognised it so I looked at the brief synopsis and saw it was about a wheelchair-bound girl being menaced in her own home. I thought, could this be the one? Had the main female character been injured rather than blind? I brought it, watched it the day I got it and loved it. Some of the memories I had associated with the hard-to-find film were in this movie! Success! It's a great film with Susan Strasberg and it's a very effective thriller. This was it! Wasn't it? I had definitely seen this film around the time I'd seen Night Terror with Valerie Harper.
Still reading? Fine, fine, I'm still writing, we'll get there.
Time passed and the feeling grew that I still hadn't got the whole answer to what film I had been after. I had found two films that had contained parts of what I remembered about the mysterious film but the nagging feeling that the film had been about a blind girl kept coming back to me. Google searches on 'blind girl stalked by killer film' produced Wait Until Dark and by coincidence that film turned up on TV within a day or two of Google searching but I knew it wasn't the one I was after even before I saw it. I'd have remembered it starring Audrey Hepburn surely. Plus it looked colourful and I didn't remember the film looking 'pretty'. I watched it anyway and it's very watchable. It wasn't the film I was after though.
This year, yep, we're getting there, I noticed a film channel on satellite that I hadn't noticed before titled Talking Pictures. This channel shows a curious mix of British films, some '70s Southern TV series (Flockton Flyer, Tell Me Another), a few '60s series made by the US-based Four Stars Productions (The Rogues, Honey West) and various other items of interest. On the day I spotted this channel I saw they were showing another film I had been after since the '80s, The Girl Who Couldn't Quite, which I had first and last seen on defunct cable channel Mirrorvision back in the '80s. Unlike the blind-girl film, I had noted the film title at the time and had kept an eye out for it ever since. It stars Bill Owen as a tramp who helps a woman to laugh again and is based on a play by Leo Marks. I had literally scoured the internet (including Amazon UK & US) to get hold of this film and through Bravo and The Oxford Channel (that used to show rare British films) but with no success. It's a fantastic film, and by chance it was on Talking Pictures on a day off from work. A quick look on Amazon revealed they'd released the film very recently so I grabbed it. I can't recommend this film enough, it's a lovely film with that wonderful actor who played Compo so brilliantly in Last of the Summer Wine. This film contains Bill Owen's best ever role in my opinion. To cut a long story even longer, it was because I had finally got hold of this other much-sought after film that I returned to the Blind Girl film search.
I hadn't thought about the elusive film in some time but this channel interested me; isn't this the kind of channel that would show relatively rare British films? And they were showing some of the films Mirrorvision had shown in the '80s, films that Bravo had shown in the '90s and films that The Oxford Channel had shown in the 2000s. So I kept an eye on it, well both eyes in truth, and soon after saw a listing for a film about a blind girl being targeted by a killer in her home titled Witness In The Dark. I knew instantly that this wasn't the one I was after as it was made in 1959 and something told me that when I had seen the film it had been set in what was then the current day. I watched it anyway because frankly I just thought what the heck, I've seen so many good thrillers out of not finding the one I was after so why not try this one and and it's a pretty good film. Patricia Dainton plays the blind woman in this one and it's got a good atmosphere. Not the one I wanted though. I noticed that the title of the film had the word dark in it just as the Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark did. Was this just coincidence or did the film I was looking for also have the word dark in it? It was a good theory I thought, so a brilliant, long and dedicated search on the internet finally revealed that I was absolutely right in thinking it was just a coincidence and that my theory was, basically, wrong.
I didn't give up oh no. Well I did actually. I'll never find it was the conclusion I came to. I hadn't found it in 30 years of actively searching (on and off, I didn't spend every moment of every day searching for it otherwise how would I have fitted in any pub visits) so I thought I must have dreamt it up, that Night Terror and Taste of Fear had probably just got jumbled up in my head alongside other false memories.
Then, no we're really getting to the end now, then one day, as I was trying to think of reasons not to rush into work as it was a nice one I thought I'd do Google one last time. This would be it, the very final look. I'd abandon it if I couldn't find it this time. I'd never look again. Never. Ever.
I Google-d 'Blind girl stalked by killer in home film' and was completely unsurprised to see Wait Until Dark pop up a thousand times. Blimey, even Witness In The Dark was now appearing in Google results, hadn't seen that one appearing before. Page after page after page after page after page of search results later and then page after page after page after page more later, for some time I may add, I finally thought 'forget this, I'm going to work, that's got to be less frustrating than this' and pressed the home button. As I did so out of the corner of my eye I caught the name of a film that hadn't come up before and I said out loud "That's it! That's the bloody one!" And I scrambled to get back to that page of search results. I looked at the name of this film that had caught the corner of my eye again for a few seconds and thought "That's it. That's the one. That. Is. It." The name of the film that I saw? I'll tell you in 30 years time. Joking.
The film was titled Blind Terror. How the heck had I not even been able to guess at the name? It was a film about a Blind girl being Terror-ised. How ber-looming obvious. It just came to me that this was the title, I must have noted it somewhere in my subconscious at the time of watching it all those years ago. I knew I didn't even have to look at the IMDb or Wikipedia to prove it was the right film but I did anyway as I'm that compulsive.
A quick look at Wikipedia showed it was made in 1971 which would tie in when I saw it maybe 5 years later as that's how long it used to take films to go from cinema to TV. I didn't read much about it on Wikipedia, I went straight to Amazon to order it no matter what the cost, I could live without the odd kidney or two if it came to it and true to form it wasn't for sale on DVD. Blast it!!!! Now, I could have waited another 30 years or so for the film to turn up on DVD but, refusing to give up at this point, I'd come this far I wasn't giving up so easily, I searched deeper into Amazon and saw there was a VHS tape from years ago for sale. I Could buy that! Brilliant! £25 or so! No need to sell kidneys! Add to Basket, Add to Basket! Wait, wait...waiiiiiit. Didn't I notice Wikipedia saying something about an alternate title? Back to Wikipedia at a speed you don't normally associate with myself and yes there was an alternate title! See No Evil. Another frankly guessable title had I thought about it but by this time I didn't care, I just knew I was going to get hold of this film somehow.
Back to Amazon at the speed of a desperate film fan, searched See No Evil, "please be there, please be there!" I kept saying as my broadband connection teased me with its badly-timed slow speed (it knew, it just knew) and there it was!!!!! There it was!!!!! And it was cheaaaaaaaap!!!!! £4.46. Instantly ordered it for next day delivery and making its appearance only 3 days later than expected I finally managed to watch it. The film started, please be the one I thought, pleeeease!!! As it went on I thought oh, I don't recognise that house, blast, but there can't be another film, there can't be! How many blind-girl-being-stalked-by-killer films can there be?! But then all the memories I'd had that hadn't fitted into Night Terror and Taste of Fear began to show up and by the end of the film they all had appeared. Finally the circle was complete; I'd seen this film, Night Terror and Taste of Fear all around the same time back in the 70's and they'd merged into one in my memories years later.
Watching the film the first thing that struck me was that the name of the writer in the film's titles was named Brian Clemens. I almost slapped myself in the face when I read his name come up. Hadn't he written for the series Thriller? Hadn't I at one stage thought this film might have actually been a Thriller episode because it was similar in style? Why did I not think to search on the name Brian Clemens to see what else he had written?! I had been closer to finding this film years ago than I could ever have guessed at. Mind you, bet it was more expensive on Amazon at that time. If it was out then.
I'm sure that the film was shown as Blind Terror in the '70s, it stars Mia Farrow as the blind woman (how could I not remember her?) and had Robin Bailey in it also who I should have remembered as he was tremendous as Uncle Mort in I Didn't Know You Cared. It also has Paul Nicholas in a very small role but I should have remembered him being in it, it's Paul-bloody-Nicholas after all. As soon as Lila Kaye appeared in the film whole swathes of the plot came back to me so I should have remembered her also: upon seeing her I laughed. At this point I knew I'd finally, definitely, absolutely got the film I had been after for so many years, one whose title I hadn't been able to remember, one whose cast I hadn't been able to remember. I'd seen a few other great thrillers along the way as a result of searching for Blind Terror (even though that's not my favourite type of film; Sci-Fi or comedy are the two biggies) but I'm pleased the search is over as I'd have always wondered whether I'd dreamt this film up or not.
And yes, I still think it's a very great film.
Persistence pays off.
Tim! (Saturday 13th September 2015)
|Left: The DVD
cover to the film that took me 30 years (or more) to find.
Available from Amazon.
Left: The videocover to the film I'd been
waiting to see again since the mid 1970s. The video was released
under the title I believe I saw it with back in the '70s, while the
DVD is released under the alternate title.
There have been other films released under the same title/s but it's this one with Mia Farrow that took me decades to find. Decades!
Holy Bat Crap!
Yet another one has popped off, this year seems to be a good one for well-know personalities popping off in fact.
This time it's the turn of Yvonne Craig who has passed on recently. She was Batgirl in the 3rd series of the definitive Batman series and also appeared in an episode of the one true Star Trek so she will always be remembered by people of certain generations.
Goodbye old chum.
Above: Me, December 2014
Plus: Various photos taken during 2013 and 2014. Older, better, wiser*
* not that wise
Far left: Patrick Macnee who played John Steed in the 1960s & 1970s series The Avengers / The New Avengers.
Left: Gone to the stars: Leonard Nimoy
Below: Andrew O'Day with Terry Sue-Patt of Grange Hill fame
Right: The best single comic strip ever
New website, Andrew O'Day and Guests: Andrew pictured with cult TV figures.
Doctor Who Season 8 Reviews: Peter Capaldi's series in no effort-spent & non in-depth detail:
Grange Hill Memories
On Sunday 25th May 2014 various well-remembered cast members from Grange Hill reunited for an event titled Grange Hill Memories. Andrew O'Day provided biographical notes for the event's brochure and obtained many photos whilst at the event.
For photos from the event go to the following page:
|Let's hear it for The New Gallery||And another recent arrival, Gallery3|
|A blast from the past! Tim Harris in comics.|
of the three comics I had my name published in. I'd entered a
competition to win a copy of a book titled Heroes of the
Spaceways and was one of the winners.
Super Spider-Man TV Comic No. 472
Captain America No. 57 (dated 24 Mar 1982)
I entered the competition as Timothy Harris and was named as such in the competition results.
Below: the covers to the comics the competition appeared in, and the cover to the book I won.
Super Spider-Man TV Comic No. 458
Captain America No. 43
The other comic I had my name printed in (thanks to my brother) was an early edition of Whoopee (which I don't currently have a copy of)
The competition was to unscramble
some simple space hero anagrams:
Elku Wykrakles And Rade Bleraa Ralb Nagol Trodoc How Trisem Copks Ramnedmoc Karrets
Slafh Groond Jor Kabel Sefoorpors Sutamseraq
Below: books you surely can't live without and all containing the words Tim Harris (and very likely the words Andrew O'Day too)
The Language of Doctor Who: From Shakespeare to Alien Tongues (Science Fiction Television) [Hardcover]
With a chapter (and Bad Wolf-related joke) written by Andrew O'Day.
Below: four must-buy books for
|Full Site Links||This is a full list of pages / links on The Tim Harris Website.|
|Just For You Photography||The web site for my brother Andrew's professional company.|
|Andrew O'Day Profile Page||This is the fully-authorised profile page for the author / editor / actor / teacher.|
|James Spence Profile Page||This is a brief profile page of the scientist / actor / editor / producer / keen film-maker.|
|Phil Young's Photography Site||Phil is a prolific photographer and this site shows a small sample of his work.|