The Sentinel (1977)

Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) is a successful model, beautiful and with a handsome lawyer boyfriend. However Alison has attempted suicide in the past and is fragile to say the least.  In an attempt to spread her wings, she decides to get her own apartment and gets shown around an ideal one by a real estate broker.  It’s a good price and appears to have only one neighbour, an old blind priest on the top floor.

Alison moves in and is greeted by an eiderly tenant played by the Penguin himself, Burgess Meredith. Soon she meets the other residents including a creepy old lady and one half of a female couple, who pleasures herself in front of Alison.  When asking the real estate agent about them, she is told the priest and her are the only ones living there.  Is Alison going mad?  Why is she seeing her dead Dad with his scary nude girlfriends and why are catholic priests creeping around?

The Sentinel is a thriller with some horrific overtones.  It is quite disturbing in parts and although the 70’s clothes date it somewhat, it is an old fashioned good vs. evil story with some really good performances.  The late director Michael Winner used to get regularly slated for his films but this one is a good ‘un and it doesn’t star Charles Bronson!!  It’s rammed with quality Hollywood talent (at the time) including Eli Wallach, Jose Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Jerry Orbach and John Carradine.  It can be picked up pretty cheaply and is worth 90 minutes of your time although some bits you may consider tasteless as Winner used real life disfigured people.  Oh yes, a very young Jeff Goldblum turns up as a photographer as does Tom Berenger.

  • Starring Chris Sarandon  Cristina Raines  Burgess Meredith  Sylvia Miles  Ava Gardner
  • Director Michael Winner
  • Distributor Medium Rare / Universal