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

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee
NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (1973). Director: Peter Sasdy.                                                            
A number of trustees of the Van Traylen Orphanage on the island of Bela are dying in suspicious accidents. Then a bus crash puts one of the orphans, Mary Valley (Gwyneth Strong), in the hospital, where she is ministered to by Dr. Haynes (Keith Barron) and a reporter named Joan (Georgia Brown), both of whom have to contend with the girl's abusive and crazy mother, Anna (Diana Dors). Eventually Colonel Bingham (Christopher Lee) of the police and Sir Mark Ashley (Peter Cushing), a concerned doctor, head for Bela to find out exactly what is going on in the orphanage and check up on Mary. But the homicidal Anna is heading there as well, yet Mrs. Allison (Shelagh Fraser) and the other staff take it, strangely, in stride and even refuse special police guards. Bingham and Ashley discover that what's going on in the orphanage is even more horrible than they suspect ... 

Georgia Brown and Peter Cushing
With its two special stars, an adept supporting cast (especially Valley, Brown and Dors), an interesting premise, not to mention a skilled director in Peter Sasdy, Nothing But the Night -- which is not a Hammer production, unfortunately -- should be much better than it is. Unfortunately, the movie is lethargic -- there is no tension or suspense and you find yourself merely watching to see what happens instead of getting caught up in the events. There is a fairly exciting climax when all is revealed, but by then it's too late. Too bad. Georgia Brown, who is very good in this, first made her mark playing Nancy in the musical Oliver in both London and New York, but she wasn't in the film adaptation. Cushing and Lee were frequently teamed together, such as in Dr. Terror's House of HorrorsThe Curse of Frankenstein, and The Skull, among several others.

Verdict: An interesting failure. **. 


angelman66 said...

Another one I haven’t seen. Boy, Lee and Cushing made a LOT of movies together...I love them both dearly. And now Diana Dors has become a new favorite too, having enjoyed her so much in both From Beyond the Grave and Circus of Blood/Berserk.
- Chris

William said...

To use an old expression, Dors was a trip! She was so perfect as the kind of pseudo-sexy, obnoxious slattern. I think she actually got better roles once she put on all that weight. You're right that Lee and Cushing worked together innumerable times -- I hope they liked each other!