I Saw What You Did Blu-ray Review

Typical William Castle semi-shocker with a decent if flawed Blu-ray transfer 3 Stars

There are a couple of genuinely creepy moments in William Castle’s I Saw What You Did, moments that don’t rely on skeletons flying overhead in a theater, electronic shocks delivered on cue, or a viewer card which can erase the ghosts from the screen for the faint of heart.

I Saw What You Did (1965)
Released: 21 Jul 1965
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 82 min
Director: William Castle
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Cast: Joan Crawford, John Ireland, Leif Erickson, Sara Lane
Writer(s): William P. McGivern (screenplay), Ursula Curtiss (novel)
Plot: Teenagers Libby and Kit innocently spend an evening doing random crank calls. These calls lead to murderous consequences.
IMDB rating: 6.2
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 05/17/2016
MSRP: $29.99

The Production: 3/5

There are a couple of genuinely creepy moments in William Castle’s I Saw What You Did, moments that don’t rely on skeletons flying overhead in a theater, electronic shocks delivered on cue, or a viewer card which can erase the ghosts from the screen for the faint of heart. Yes, this is a William Castle movie without gimmicks (one trailer tries feebly to insure potentially frightened viewers that seat belts will be provided for all seats) and which relies instead on a decent set-up for some honest suspense. The tension isn’t sustained well, and there is a lot of filler between shocks, but I Saw What You Did offers a decent chill or two down one’s spine.

Two teenaged girls (Andi Garrett, Sarah Lane) spend the evening playing telephone pranks on unsuspecting callers. They choose the wrong person in phoning Steve Marak (John Ireland), who has just murdered his nagging wife by butchering her in the shower, by teasing that they “saw what you did and know who you are.” Had one of the girls not been so curious as to what their attractive-sounding male victim looked like, they might have gotten away with the trick, but when they drive to his house to get a peep at him, they’re accosted by his jealous neighbor (Joan Crawford) who’s in love with Steve and is suspicious that younger women are seemingly now to his taste. She strips the registration card from the car steering wheel and flings it is his face asking for an explanation thus giving him an address where he can have a private encounter with his pranksters.

The screenplay by William McGivern is based on a novel Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtis, and the plot with the psychopath stalking these young girls who have no idea what he’s done or that he would feel threatened by their prank is a sound one filled with genuine menace and the potential for lots of shocks and scares. Director William Castle does provide a couple of real “boo” moments in the movie, and the shower murder is practically straight out of Psycho with point of view shots, a knife continually thrusting through the air, and blood swirling down the drain, but he’s undercut himself by his reliance on his big star name Joan Crawford to bring in patrons by inserting her into the shock fest with a dreary, soap opera-toned subplot about her lusting for Steve (even after she learns he’s a murderer) and her suspicions that he’s hiding affections for someone other than her. Those scenes and the too-lengthy set-up with the teen girls and their younger charge (Sharyl Locke) frittering away the night with pranks and gossip make it difficult to get the terror up and running or to sustain it with continual interruptions (the sitcom-like bouncy background score by Van Alexander likewise is no help when it pops up dissipating the menace and evil on the prowl). A fog-shrouded, isolated home in the country does help with the climactic scenes though they, too, waste precious moments that could have been filled with shadowy threats and potential death around every corner where minutes pass by without anything scary happening.

Joan Crawford’s performance is almost as if it’s from another movie, one of her overheated potboilers from the 1950s like Female on the Beach or Queen Bee as she throws herself onto the obviously disturbed character played by John Ireland and not noticing that he’s completely unbalanced and capable of anything. Ireland himself doesn’t quite get the menace perfectly (the shower murder is disturbingly vicious, but later acts are less so), and he could have turned his Steve Marak into something truly frightening. The real stars of the film are the two young ladies Andi Garrett and Sarah Lane. Both give decent performances as typical teens out for fun without thinking of the consequences. Leif Erickson and Pat Breslin play Garrett’s parents concerned that the telephone line is busy for three hours and then suspiciously frightened when there’s no answer at all.

Video: 3/5

3D Rating: NA

The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is outstanding throughout the presentation (clear enough to see the make-up demarcations that give Miss Crawford a straight jawline), and the grayscale features rich, deep black levels and crisp whites. Contrast has been consistently maintained, and the fog drenched later scenes prove no problem at all for the transfer. Negatively, however, there has been little to no clean-up on this title with continual dust specks and debris (some scenes feature a flurry of speckles), and the reel change markers have been kept in place on several occasions. The film has been divided into 8 chapters.

Audio: 4/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix is very typical of this era of programmer film production. Dialogue is very clear and easy to understand, and it’s been mixed quite professionally with Van Alexander’s erratic score (bouncy-then-ominous) and the atmospheric effects which are important for the suspense to take hold in the latter half of the movie. There are no real problems with age-related hiss or crackle.

Special Features: 2/5

Photo Gallery (3:41, HD): a montage of stills, theatrical posters, lobby cards, and pages from the movie’s press book.

Theatrical Trailers (2:38, SD): two trailers in montage, the second of which features producer-director William Castle assuring the audience of its safety while watching the film.

Overall: 3/5

I Saw What You Did is a fairly typical William Castle shock programmer from the mid-1960s featuring a potentially frightening plot that never quite reaches a boil. Still, fans of Joan Crawford or of Mr. Castle’s movies will likely be delighted to add another one even in flawed high definition to their shelves.

Published by

Matt Hough

administrator

16 Comments

  1. This movie is far fetched (what are the odds of prank calling someone who just committed a murder?) but it's fun and an enjoyable movie aimed at 1960's teens.

  2. Yep, is your Icebox running? you better go catch it! This movie scared me back in the day. Also I was arrested 4 playing on the phone back in 1960. The elderly operator supervisor tried to put me away, if it wasn't 4 the The two Police officers that took me to court,they stood up and talked to the Judge when it was going against me. They told me she was crazy,on the way home she was really going all the way. What did I do you ask yourself, well I never could sleep even though had to be at school @ 8am, after tv went off the air @ 1am, I would dial the operator up and talk with them. That's it,that's all.

  3. I love this film.  I remember seeing it when I was a kid on TV and it scared me to death.  There are some genuinely suspenseful and scary moments.  Also is very entertaining and fun to watch.  Joan Crawford does chew the scenery and there are some hilarious moments of unintended humor:  WARNING SPOILER AHEAD…. 3… 2… 1 okay, you were warned.  One hilarious moment is when she is moving in to the killer for an embrace and he stabs her.  She hesitates for a moment then moves in anyway to get the kiss even though he just stabbed her!!!!  Her death rattle is also hilarious when her head rolls back with a jerk and her wig almost falls off.  The shower scene is a PSYCHO ripoff and funny as well as disturbing.  Not only does he stab his wife after pulling her in the shower with him, but then shoves her through the glass door!  A thoroughly entertaining film.

  4. I don't know if it's saying much, but I think this is Castle's best horror film, although "horror" might be too strong a word — "suspense" would be better.  It's mildly far-fetched, but at least it conceivably could happen — which I doubt anyone could say about "House on Haunted Hill", "The Tingler", "13 Ghosts", "Strait-Jacket", etc.As far as Crawford's horror movies are concerned, I can say unequivocally that it's a masterpiece compared to TROG!In this one, Crawford is good at times, such as when she yells at the kids.  But, as pointed out above, her death scene is hilarious.  Also, she walks around wearing a necklace that must weigh 50 pounds.  Who wears such a ridiculous thing around the house?This movie was also an example of a widescreen movie that wasn't matted in the camera.  When it was shown on television in 1.33:1 ratio, you could see Ireland had on swimming trunks in the shower.  So besides being a nut, he was overly modest. 🙂

  5. This print looks excellent!  And yes, Joan Crawford's performance is tops in perfect camp!  And yes, you can see his swimsuit in the shower in this framing, too.  Don't miss this fun film — although the soundtrack sounds like it's taken from an episode of the Munsters or Bewitched.

  6. I was crazy about the Crawford and Davis "hag" films and I know I went to this when it came out.  But I never saw it again in all these years and don't really recall anything about it except the obvious plot line.  Looking forward to it.

  7. matt-hough has published a new article.

    I Saw What You Did Blu-ray Review

    There are a couple of genuinely creepy moments in William Castle’s I Saw What You Did, moments that don’t rely on skeletons flying overhead in a…

    Continue reading the original article.

    I   see   that   the   Review    states    that   ENGLISH   SUB-TITLES     are   included   on   the   BD    for   the   Main  Feature ……..but   I   have   also   seen     another   Review    elsewhere    on   the   Internet   for   the   same   BD  …..stating   that   there   are   NO   ENGLISH   SUB   -TITLES  ………………so   which   is   correct  ?????????????……………….sadly   I   need   Eng. sub-titles   as   I   am   HOHearing…….. please   someone    let   me   know   as   soon   as   possible   as   I  will   have   to   cancel   my    order    on   Amazon   ……..THANKS  !!

  8. The subtitles are definitely there. There is a button in the main menu to turn them on. I tried it, and they turned on as they should.

    Many   Thanks…………..for   letting   me   know   so   quickly…………….I   shall   therefore   keep   my   order   in   at   Amazon………and   should   receive   it   next   week  when   released……I   am   a   fan   of   Crawford   and   she   made   some   terrible    films   in   her   twilight   years……I   expect   this   movie   is   one   of   them   and   I    saw   TROG   on   DVD    last   week………..it   is   so   awful   that   after   a   time  it   becomes   enjoyable   to   watch    and   every   word     she   spoke   in   the   film   she   read   off  queue   boards   as   her   memory  simply   could  not   retain   the   lines…………….nevertheless   she   was     Great   Actress   who   is   greatly   missed…..

  9. Many   Thanks…………..for   letting   me   know   so   quickly…………….I   shall   therefore   keep   my   order   in   at   Amazon………and   should   receive   it   next   week  when   released……I   am   a   fan   of   Crawford   and   she   made   some   terrible    films   in   her   twilight   years……I   expect   this   movie   is   one   of   them   and   I    saw   TROG   on   DVD    last   week………..it   is   so   awful   that   after   a   time  it   becomes   enjoyable   to   watch    and   every   word     she   spoke   in   the   film   she   read   off  queue   boards   as   her   memory  simply   could  not   retain   the   lines…………….nevertheless   she   was     Great   Actress   who   is   greatly   missed…..

    It's not that bad of a film. Some over acting but still has a couple of tense moments.  You could count on William Castle to give you some entertainment that is until his remake of the OLD DARK HOUSE.

  10. In this one, Crawford is good at times, such as when she yells at the kids.  But, as pointed out above, her death scene is hilarious.  Also, she walks around wearing a necklace that must weigh 50 pounds.  Who wears such a ridiculous thing around the house?

    What makes me laugh about Crawford's dialogue in this (and in many of her latter day efforts) is the way she refers to any younger woman who pursues a man as a "tramp." Both his wife and the young girl are referred to as such by her in this movie, and it's a favorite expression in some of her other films, too. And yet it's OK for an older woman to go after a younger man. That doesn't make HER a tramp.

  11. This movie was also an example of a widescreen movie that wasn't matted in the camera.  When it was shown on television in 1.33:1 ratio, you could see Ireland had on swimming trunks in the shower.  So besides being a nut, he was overly modest. 🙂

    You can still see a sliver of his bathing suit on this disc too.

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