An antique doll stuffed with a small fortune in heroin falls into the unwitting hands of a blind Manhattan housewife who has no clue as to its true value. Desperate to get it back, a pair of low-level crooks and their psychotically evil boss stage an elaborate ruse involving fake IDs and role-playing in order to trick her into surrendering the toy. But she proves to be smarter than they think and a relatively tame deception quickly escalates into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Set almost entirely within the confines of a small New York apartment, director Terence Young manages to wring a surprising amount of dramatic tension out of his limited space especially during the final crucial moments which he wisely filmed in near total darkness. And in the lead role a luminous Audrey Hepburn is given free reign to showcase her enormous star power, deservedly garnering an Oscar nomination in the process. But the concocted plot is so blatantly outlandish that I found its clever little twists more amusing than suspenseful while Alan Arkin’s hissing malevolent gangster (complete with affected New York twang) seemed straight out of an underground comic book. Finally, a highly improbable (though intricately staged) climactic showdown gave the envelope that final push. A fine piece of entertainment nonetheless, as long as you don’t overanalyze it.

Nursebob's rating:
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