Nightfall 1956 (1956) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: There is money missing from a bank job, an attractive model, an insurance investigator, and two extremely dangerous thugs. James Vanning (Aldo Ray) portrays an innocent man on the run, being pursued by the criminals who stupidly misplaced their take from the crime and think he has it or knows where… Runtime: 78 min Release Date: 09 Nov 1956
Chance and coincidence in one terrific film noir (by Kalaman)
Although it is far from a masterpiece, "Nightfall", a low-budget film noir stunningly photographed by Burnett Guffey , is one of Jacques Tourneur's finest films. What amazed me about "Nightfall" was the way it resembles Tourneur's previous films in its depiction of chance and coincidence. The similarity to "Out of the Past" the duality between past and present, city and country, the use of flashbacks is somewhat obvious. But consider the opening chance encounter between Vanning Aldo Ray and Marie Anne Bancroft . It recalls the similar though <more>
different chance meetings between Irena and Oliver at the zoo in Tourneur's "Cat People" 1942 , and Dr. Bailey and Cissie on the train at the beginning of "Experiment Perilous" 1944 . If you watch it closely at the opening scenes, Marie's seat beside Vanning at the bar is empty BEFORE she appears. So, we expect the seat to be filled. I didn't notice it when I first saw the film, but critic Chris Fujiwara's observations in his splendid book, JACQUES TOURNEUR:THE CINEMA OF NIGHTFALL, were immensely helpful. Fujiwara adroitly notes, "Throughout Nightfall, chance and unconscious processes determine key events. Tourneur's standard procedure of showing the effect before the cause underlies the inexplicability of these events, their fantastic nature".
Taut, low-budget, film noir with an edge (by rollo_tomaso)
Jacques Tourneur, director of the highly acclaimed Out of The Past, leaves out the melodrama and the fanfare, to deliver the goods. Anne Bancroft is luminescent in her film debut as the model who comes to anti-hero Ray's aid. And James Gregory is fabulous as the detective shadowing Ray. But Rudy Bond steals the show whenever he's on screen as Brian Keith's sadistic partner. The pacing is taut, and the mood is gritty. This is a must for all film noir fans. 9/10.
Even better than Out Of The Past (by lobbykiller)
Most things been already said here by folks who love this flick. What i wanted to add is that NIGHTFALL beats the well-hyped, but also great Noir OUT OF THE PAST by same director. The B-Movie roughness is a little deeper here. Also, great acting by James Gregory. As i read, he didn't have that many major roles, was more a regular in TV-series besides. Something that could be typical for our glamour-tributary society. Mitchum was hyped and a superstar, Gregory wasn't. Mitchum ain't bad for sure, but at least in the comparison of these two Tourneur sure shots, Gregory wins by all <more>
masterpiece film concocted of improbabilities (by RanchoTuVu)
One watches Nightfall and the story seems or actually, is full of glaring improbabilities. Yet, in spite of that, it's hard if not impossible, to stop watching the film. The characters and imagery are remarkable. So what if Brian Keith and Rudy Bond stupidly lose 350,000 dollars just so they can move the story along and chase protagonist Aldo Ray from snowy Wyoming to sunny LA. Losing the money is but one of those points in the film where the viewer has to go along and have faith in the superb craftwork of director Jacques Tourneur. He was not about to let one's expectations down in <more>
this late 50's noir excursion which is full of disturbing imagery and menace that more than makes up for holes in the plot, if that's even necessary. Especially eye-catching are scenes of the mechanical movements of an L.A. oil derrick in the middle of the night as it neatly snaps a two by four, and later, the glistening blades of a Wyoming snow plow shining in the morning sun.
A terrific B-movie with A-list credentials, Jacques Tourneur directed, Stirling Silliphant did the screenplay from a David Goodis novel, Burnett Guffey was the cinematographer and the cast included Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith, James Gregory and Jocelyn Brando though it is Rudy Bond's psycho-killer who steals the movie . It's a tale of robbery and murder and of an innocent dupe, Ray , who gets caught up in both. It's economical almost to a fault; there certainly isn't a wasted moment in all of its 78 minutes and you can see how it might have influenced the Coen <more>
Brothers yet for some reason it's almost totally unknown. Seek it out immediately.
Essential for fans of Aldo Ray (by jarrodmcdonald-1)
Nightfall is an essential film for fans of Aldo Ray. In most of his pictures, Mr. Ray is fresh and he's real, though not an overly studied actor like many of his peers. He puts his entire personality into the roles he plays without artifice. When the Columbia honchos cast him with more stage-trained costars Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith and James Gregory like they have done in this picture, the result is a truly interesting set of dynamics and interplay.The story is told mainly in flashback and the pacing is fairly brisk. Several breaks from the action occur with the characters reflecting <more>
on what has happened in the recent past and on what is about to happen in the immediate future. The outdoor winter scenes are truly breathtaking, especially the climactic ending where our hero battles a bad guy on a runaway snowplow.
Another Wonderfully Inventive Film from Jacques Tourneur (by evanston_dad)
Jacques Tourneur used his vast reserves of creativity to turn small-budget films into fascinating movie-going experiences. If "Out of the Past" is one of the best films noir to be released in the 1940s, then "Nightfall" must be one of the best from the succeeding decade.Aldo Ray plays James Vanning, who, with his doctor friend Edward Gurston Frank Albertson , finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up knowing the whereabouts of a bag of stolen money, wanted mightily by two bank robbers one played with droll relish by Brian Keith . Fate, always a <more>
principal character in any film noir, brings James together with Marie Gardner an impossibly young Anne Bancroft , a fashion model who becomes his girl Friday. Meanwhile, an insurance investigator James Gregory working on behalf of the robbed bank has James's number and comes calling. All of these characters finally collide in a memorable and rather grisly ending."Nightfall" is tremendously stylish and playful. It very much resembles Tourneur's earlier noir, "Out of the Past," in its thesis that a man can run but never hide from his past. But it also reminded me of "On Dangerous Ground," Nicholas Ray's strange offering from 1952, in its juxtaposition of a shadow-filled urban environment filled with anonymous and perhaps dangerous strangers with the wide open and no less frightening spaces of the country, where anything can happen and no one will know. I don't know if Aldo Ray was considered a good actor at the time, but he does a terrific job here -- who better to play an American everyman caught up in a sticky web than this all-American jock of an actor? He and Bancroft sizzle in their scenes together, and one of the movie's highlights comes when they are racing away from one of Bancroft's fashion shows with the bad guys in hot pursuit, and Ray, frustrated by the fact that Bancroft can't run in the impractical gown she was just modeling, picks her up and runs with her into the safety of a cab, after which she leans against him and says, "You're the most wanted man I know." This scene and line got laughs and applause at the screening I attended, but you could tell that people were laughing with the film and not at it.This film is one of the highlights of the noir genre, and I highly recommend catching it if you get a chance.Grade: A
Crisp, no-nonsense late noir from legendary Jacques Tourneur (by bmacv)
Having established his reputation in the 1940s with The Cat People and Out of the Past pinnacles among several others , Tourneur returned to the noir cycle as it was winding down to direct Nightfall. The film opens stunningly: we watch the hunted protagonist the, well, stolid Aldo Ray as Los Angeles day darkens into dusk, and the pace flows seamlessly to a "chance" meeting with the young Anne Bancroft in a cocktail lounge. Of course, the inevitable menace, here concerning $350 grand from a bank job, falls as swiftly as the night. The narrative weaves back and forth from the <more>
present in elegantly placed flashbacks which establish the backstory; present and past converge at the film's climax foreshadowing a memorable scene in On Her Majesty's Secret Service . Though Ray's curious career never answers the question, Why was he in movies at all?, the supporting cast -- starting with Bancroft -- is superb. Brian Keith is the heavy, while the underused James Gregory best remembered as the McCarthyite imbecile from The Manchurian Candidate, and from the Barney Miller show plays an insurance investigator who becomes an ally. On the other side of the law, Rudy Bond portrays one of the most despicable sadists in a cycle lousy with them.
I wonder if Jacques Tourneur's "Nightfall" was a kind of influence on the Coen Brothers' "Fargo". It features quirky crooks and flawed characters stumbling about in a frozen wilderness in search of loot. Sure, this is not as wry as "Fargo", but I wonder. One thing's for sure...both films capture the essence of a snowy rural locale well. "Fargo" had death by wood chipper, "Nightfall" has death by snowplow...Another reviewer made an astute connection to "On Dangerous Ground". I wouldn't put this on the emotional level <more>
of that wonderful film, but it does effectively contrast the cold dark city with the cold white space of the countryside.The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks related by the singularly unlucky James Vanning, our hero. Vanning's luck is sure lousy, as he becomes the victim of a series of terrible coincidences and bad timing as one of the hoods, Red, gleefully points out . It seems that while on a winter fishing trip with good pal Doc, Vanning comes to the rescue of two gents whose car crashes in a canyon. Unfortunately for Vanning and Doc, the duo, John and Red, are dangerous felons fleeing a bank robbery. John is the laconic brains of the outfit while Red is a jovial sadist itching for the kill. Before we know it, Doc is gunned down and Vanning is left for dead, while John and Red take off with what they think is a bag containing $350,000. But it isn't, it's Doc's bag...and the still-living Vanning stumbles into the snow in a daze with the real swag. Circumstances are such that Vanning is now hunted as the murderer of Doc. The bag of money is laying out in the wilderness where Vanning left it. Vanning is forced to hit the road and change his name to avoid capture. Hot on his tail is amiable insurance investigator Ben Frazier, who suspects Vanning might be innocent. But to make things worse, John and Red also catch up with Vanning...and they're prepared to do whatever's necessary to get their money back.The chase is on, with Vanning trying to elude the sadistic thugs as well as Frazier, while also romancing Marie, a sultry model who offers him shelter.Beautiful cinematography is a given in any Tourneur film and the direction here is as top notch as ever. Strong performances and crisp dialog also make an impact. Aldo Ray wound up as a drunken hack in terrible films later in his career, but here he makes a rugged yet vulnerable Vanning. It's one of his best roles. The wonderful James Gregory is appealing as always as Frazer...what a terrific character actor he is. Anne Bancroft is most attractive as Marie, though I never shook the feeling she was a token female stuck in the movie for a tacked on romance.As with just about any film, the bad guys really dominate. Brian Keith's John is a most peculiar bad guy...laid back, very reasonable sounding, yet something about him suggests this is a very dangerous man capable of great violence. That comes through best when he hauls a captive Vanning to an oil derrick and threatens to kill him with some of the derrick's huge machinery. In contrast, Rudy Bond as Red is a chuckling backslapping type who just happens to be a bloodthirsty killer. The scene where he casually, almost apologetically sets up Doc's murder and Vanning's "suicide" is chilling. The dynamic between these two is really strong and explodes into conflict at the end.Not everything clicks. I found it pretty amazing that the bag of loot would sit out in the Wyoming winter countryside in the same place for so long. Even in remote areas, hunters often wander and wild animals could have taken the bag,too. Not too mention it should have been under a snowdrift. As mentioned before, the relationship between Vanning and Marie also seems artificial. And the plot of the show, while clever, is far from revolutionary. I can think of many crime dramas with more action and firepower.But it all works out pretty well. I was gripped by the whole show and the final showdown is pretty intense, ending up in one of the most gruesome deaths in 50's cinema.Well worth your time.