Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Brian Keith and Aldo Ray
NIGHTFALL (1957). Director: Jacques Tourneur.

James Vanning (Aldo Ray) and his friend Doc (Frank Albertson of Man-Made Monster) are on a hunting trip when they come to the aid of two men -- John (Brian Keith of The Parent Trap) and Red (Rudy Bond) -- who, unbeknownst to them, have robbed a bank. The ingrates murder doc and try to kill Vanning, who takes off with them in pursuit. The crooks take the wrong bag and assume that Vanning has the bag with the money in it. While on the run, Vanning meets a model named Marie (Anne Bancroft of Gorilla at Large) in a bar and she becomes embroiled in his problems. James Gregory plays an insurance man who is also following Vanning, albeit with less sinister intent. Although well-acted for the most part, and well-photographed by Burnett Guffey, Nightfall is a fairly weak entry in the film noir department, only really coming alive at the climax when thieves fall out and there's a sequence involving a runaway snow plow. Bancroft is good, if miscast as a model, and Ray pretty much walks through the movie, barely getting by on a little bit of charm and showing little emotion. Given a lead role, he pretty much muffs it. He kept acting right up until his death in 1991, however.

Verdict: Not much to this cheapie. **.

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