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Night Watch

Liz goes loopy.

Rod Lott November 18th, 2011

It's fitting that a movie about being haunted by the ghost of a former spouse stars the woman who did more to destroy the so-called "sanctity of marriage" than Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor.

Now on DVD courtesy of Warner Archive, the 1973 thriller casts Taylor as Ellen Wheeler, a woman of privilege, which means she doesn't have a whole helluva lot to do around the huge house she calls home. Therefore, looking out the window is a viable option, and one night, she swears she sees her dead husband in the empty house next door.

As happens in these things, no one believes her, especially her new husband (Laurence Harvey, "The Manchurian Candidate"), who's really too busy cheating on her with Billie Whitelaw ("The Omen") to care. The question posed by the picture: Is Ellen for real, crazy or the victim of a prank just for being the weak-but-loaded side in a love triangle?

The answer provides the power, but prepare for slow going to get there. "Night Watch" was based on a play, and feels like it for each minute. The magic of the movies is that you can spruce up what's spare on the stage (see: "The Bad Seed"), and this one doesn't do it soon enough or often enough. —Rod Lott

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