- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- kevin sellers
Decent noir. Tourneur's direction does a good job of cutting between present and past so that you get the (fairly ludicrous) back story without the action thudding to a halt. Brian Keith and Rudy Bond make an excellent bad guy team, with Keith the suave joker and Bond the giggling sadist. That Bond constantly gets on Keith's nerves only makes the pairing that much better. There's also some stunning Sierra Nevada cinematography that reminds one of the much better noir, "On Dangerous Ground," and an adaptation of David Goodis' novel by Stirling Silliphant, before that screenwriter was bitten by the sententiousness bug, that is mostly crisp and unpretentious. Where the writing gets full of itself and self consciously noirish is whenever Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft are on screen. This is unfortunate, since these two have less than no chemistry to begin with, and the phony dialogue only compounds the problem. And Bancroft, although she's a fine actress, is just not a good noir actress, in my opinion. She's not convincing as an urban, 50s "babe." She's not tawdry enough, (i.e. Lizbeth Scott, Marie Windsor, Anne Savage) with an erudition in her delivery and manner that befits a college professor rather than a model. So let's give it a B minus.
Something for Everyone
Very enjoyable film, with something for everyone. Even if you aren't necessarily a fan of film noir but like vintage autos and fashion, then you'd like this film. For some reason, all of the cars are Fords. Ann Bancroft plays a fashion model, and she is in a fashion show when the bad guys show up. When Aldo Ray arrives, she dashes off the runway with him wearing an expensive sequined gown, and they flee to Montana on a bus. The scene from "The Graduate" in which Katharine Ross, in a flowing wedding gown, escapes with Dustin Hoffman on a bus comes to mind, possibly influenced by "Nightfall". Wait--wasn't Ann Bancroft in that one too? Then there's handsome Aldo Ray, never better than in this film. The story is gritty and intriguing. Hints of Hitchcock's influence are present, too--there's a huge snow clearing machine with big augers on the front, running around with no driver while Ray is fighting with the bad guys directly in its path. If you are a Hitchcock fan, you can guess what happens. Ann also smoked a lot in this film, and her voice had a noticeably much higher pitch and had a softer quality in "Nightfall" than 10 years later in "The Graduate"--the obvious effect of 10 years of smoking. Should be on DVD.
I agree a bit with critic Jay Seaver's criticism of Nightfall, but when one compares it to Tourneur's Out of the Past it is bound to come out second. It is one of those "Late Noir" films that attracts me with stark location shots and occasional gritty realism - similar to certain European films of the period - which Aldo Ray's authentic persona only strengthens. It's sense of bleakness reminds me of Robert Ryan's On Dangerous Ground or Odds Against Tomorrow, but Seaver's correct that it's occasional straying into lightness keeps it from achieving what those better films do. Still, I'd rank it in my favorite top thirty-or-so noir films.
What a good movie.Outstanding cinematography by Burnett Guffey.This is as good as any of the film noir out there.Fast moving, suspenseful, good direction by Tourneur, well done.Would be enjoyed by any fan of noir.
an extraordinary thriller
One of the most violent movie I have ever seen.The narration and direction by Jacques Tourneur is wonderfully mastered, and Aldo Ray has great presence.A very subtile thriller
This movie's film score piqued my interest. It reminded me a lot of Samuel Barber's Summermusic (WInd Quintet) which I heard in a live performance two weeks ago. There were some lazz clich sections but it mostly was a great addition to the visuals.
Underrated & Underappreciated
- Bruce Reber
I saw "Nightfall" on TCM 8/6/08 as part of the Summer Under The Stars tribute to Anne Bancroft (I taped it and watched it later because I had to go to work). I think I saw this once before but can't remember when it was. It is a very suspensful and gritty film noir and I think it ranks with some of the other more well-known films of the genre. Anne Bancroft is very good in one of her first starring roles. I am going to vote for it to be on DVD, and anyone who is a film noir fan as I am should vote also. Until it is available, I will have to settle for watching the VHS recording I made.
Time For TCM To Add "Not For Purchase" Disclaimers
It is consistently frustrating to view excellent film noir gems such as the 1957 "Nightfall", recently aired on TCM, and not be able to purchase it from TCM for my home library....When searching "film noir" in TCM's Home Video, the same old tired suspects show up - a mirror of those found on warhouse sites like Amazon and B&N.....TCM should rise above this and start either blazing its own trail in offering such films as "Nightfall" for sale, or begin putting a disclaimer when such films are aired, to-wit: "Not For Sale".....Please, TCM. This film has it all - plot, atmosphere, cast and director, yet I suppose TCM won't offer it for sale until Amazon lists it....Truly, truly sad.