Director: Jacques Tourneur
Writer: Stirling Silliphant
From novel by: David Goodis
Producer: Ted Richmond
Keywords: Crime, Film Noir
||American character actor
||Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate
||A Streetcar Named Desire
||Inspector Lugar on Barney Miller
||Uncle Bill on Family Affair
||The Green Berets
Review by Enival (posted on 29-May-2005)
Nightfall is an exceptionally well-made example of the type of film more commonly associated with late 1940's noir films. Coming as it did late in the cycle (1957) it teeters on the brink of anachronism, but redeems itself through a stylish presentation and superb performances.
Aldo Ray stars as Jim Vanning, an artist who has, through a misfortunate coincidence, been drawn into a crime involving $350,000 in stolen money. Innocent of any wrong doing, he is nonetheless pursued both the the criminals who think he knows the whereabouts of the money and by an insurance investigator who has nagging doubts surrounding his culpability.
Enter into the picture Marie, a beautiful model (Anne Bancroft) who has been unwittingly duped by the criminal pursuers (Brian Keith and Rudy Bond) into luring Vanning into a trap designed to bring them into contact with the stolen loot.
If the plot seems somewhat convoluted, consider that the original source material is a novel by David Goodis, whose work often reflects an inner turbulence not dissimilar to that of Cornell Woolrich. The film benefits from the stylish direction of Jacques Tourneur, whose 1947 noir masterpiece Out of the Past remains for many, one of the key films of the genre.
Nightfall, although not quite as successful of Out of the Past, is nevertheless a highly satisfying film noir with a genuinely moody and melancholy tone; beautifully photographed by Burnett Guffey. Highly recommended.
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