It’s A Crime Alan Arkin’s Greatest Performance Isn’t Streaming Anywhere

The late Alan Arkin played a sadistic villain perfectly in Wait Until Dark, but the movie isn't available to stream, unfortunately.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark

Sadly, Alan Arkin passed away today at the age of 89. While it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to one of the world’s most iconic actors, the Little Miss Sunshine star lives on in the legacy of films he left behind. However, one of the best performances this actor ever gave comes from the movie Wait Until Dark, which isn’t available to stream anywhere, and that’s an absolute crime.

Wait Until Dark, released in 1967, is a gripping psychological thriller that captivated audiences with its intense storyline and exceptional performances, especially by Alan Arkin and Audrey Hepburn. Directed by Terence Young, the film is an adaptation of Frederick Knott’s successful play of the same name.

With a stellar cast and a suspenseful plot, Wait Until Dark has become a thrilling classic and is hailed as one of the best films ever made.

The plot revolves around Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn), a blind woman living in New York City with her photographer husband, Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.). When Susy unwittingly becomes the target of a sinister drug smuggling plot, a web of deceit and danger unravels within the confines of her own apartment.

Richard Crenna and Jack Weston deliver memorable performances as Mike Talman and Carlino, two con artists who are coerced into assisting the main antagonist, Harry Roat, portrayed by the talented Alan Arkin. 

Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark

Throughout the film, the criminals play mind games with Susy and manipulate her blindness, creating tension that escalates to a nail-biting climax. Audrey Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award for the role as she demonstrated incredible versatility in her character, evoking both vulnerability and resilience as she transitioned from a trusting woman at the beginning of the movie to a courageous fighter at the end.

Meanwhile, Alan Arkin shines as Wait Until Dark’s sinister and sadistic villain, Harry Roat.

Wait Until Dark received critical acclaim upon its release, with reviewers highlighting the strong performances by Alan Arkin, Audrey Hepburn, and the rest and applauding the tension-filled narrative.

Critics lauded Hepburn’s ability to showcase absolute terror in an authentic and relatable way, without crossing the line to becoming over the top and cheesy.

Alan Arkin began acting in film 10 years prior to Wait Until Dark’s release in 1967, and he had already begun to make a name for himself in Hollywood by the time the thriller hit theaters.

His breakout role came in 1966 in The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming, a war comedy spoof about the Cold War where he played Lt. Rozanov. Over a career that spanned 66 years, Arkin developed a name for himself as an incredible character actor who could completely disappear into his roles. 

Whether he played a goofy Russian soldier like in his breakout role, a villainous criminal going after a helpless blind woman like in Wait Until Dark, or a foul-mouthed grandpa like in Little Miss Sunshine, Alan Arkin committed everything he had to the parts he played.

Wait Until Dark

But it wasn’t always easy for him to disappear into a role. In 1998, Arkin recalled how difficult it was to get into character to play Harry Roat, saying it was “Just awful. [Audrey Hepburn]  was an exquisite lady, so being mean to her was hard.”

After playing the villain in Wait Until Dark, Alan Arkin switched gears and went from playing a terrifying drug dealer to the infamously terrible cop Inspector Clouseau in 1968’s Inspector Clouseau. As a member of Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe, Arkin always had a penchant for comedic characters and ended up building a career around his ability to make people laugh.

While he never joined the ranks of the most famous Hollywood actors, Arkin was a prolific actor who put on many faces and tried out many accents throughout his career, ending his filmography with a whopping 111 projects made at the time of his death.

With all that Alan Arkin has done throughout his lifetime, it’s truly a crime that Wait Until Dark is not available to stream anywhere. It’s a film that illustrates the full spectrum of Arkin’s talent as an actor and is one of the best thrillers ever made.

Wait Until Dark is an enduring psychological thriller that continues to captivate audiences with its suspenseful narrative, leaving them enthralled long after the credits roll.