28 January 2014 | hitchcockthelegend
The Penthouse is written and directed by Peter Collinson and is an adaptation from the play The Meter Man by Scott Forbes. It stars Suzy Kendall, Terence Morgan, Tony Beckley, Norman Rodway and Martine Beswick. Music is by John Hawksworth and cinematography by Arthur Lavis.
Alligators and Sharks
Home invasion 1960s style. Story finds Kendall and Morgan as illicit lovers tormented by two deranged intruders in the penthouse apartment they use for their nights of passion. It's a five person play, well for the majority it's a four person production, and it's 99% set in a dimly lighted apartment. Narrative subjects our two hapless lovers to an hour and half of mental cruelty and sexual humiliation.
The two main perpetrators, Tom (Beckley) and Dick (Rodway), are fascinating nutters, they are childlike in a chilling way, yet always they exude a sense of intelligence. They feed off of each other like some double-take twins, and always they have handy a deep meaning monologue or a philosophical justification for the black heart of the human being.
Collinson does a grand job of keeping things claustrophobic, making sure the emotional discord and sense of menace haunts every frame. The camera zooms in and out of focus, something which proves to be a masterstroke for the sex scenes, while the various angles that the camera looks through during the course are suitably nightmarish.
Originally Collinson was at pains to say his movie didn't have a message, but over the years the only thing consistent was his inconsistent viewpoint on the film. It's nigh on impossible not to seek out a message here, the film is just too odd-ball and unsavoury to not court a deeper meaning than the lazy "it's just a thriller" statement that Collinson trundled out upon pic's release.
Pretentious? Absolutely, but this film has the ability to get under your skin, either in a good way to make you ponder, or to utterly irritate you. If someone said to me it's the worst film they have ever sat through, I would understand. Yet for me I felt challenged and uncomfortable, that's the medium of film doing a good job as far as I'm concerned. 7/10