FILM: IT'S THE CRITICS' PREROGATIVE TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS

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The Independent Culture
The only satisfactory way to dispose of Peeping Tom would be to shovel it up and flush it swiftly down the nearest sewer. 'Tribune', 1960

Peeping Tom hit us like a hammer, like a battering ram, in 1960. Newspapers were more conventional then. My first reaction was that it was an unpleasant expression of the director's own fascination with sadism. I think the film exists in a moral vacuum, in much the same way as David Cronenberg's Crash. It has an underlying quality of perverse viciousness. Alexander Walker, 'Evening Standard', 1994

I was shocked to find a director of Powell's standing befouling the screen with such perverted nonsense. From its slumbering, mildly salacious beginning to its appallingly masochistic and depraved climax, it is wholly evil. 'Daily Worker',1960

In 1960, I hated the piece, and, together with a great many other British critics, said so. Today, I am convinced it is a masterpiece. If, in some afterlife, conversation is permitted, I shall think it my duty to seek out Michael Powell and apologise. Dilys Powell, 'Sunday Times', 1994

Stinks more than anything in British films since The Stranglers of Bombay. Of course, being the work of Michael Powell, it has its excuse. 'New Statesman', 1960

I was one of the antis at the time, then I warmed to it, and now I've gone a bit cold on it again. Thirty-five years ago ... it was quite an extraordinarily explicit piece of sadism. I think [it] would still make me uneasy, as it did then - because it was so personal, and one felt like one was prying. Michael Robinson, who in 1960 reviewed the film for the 'Financial Times', 1994

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