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While on a hunting trip, Aldo Ray and his friend Frank Albertson are set upon by fugitive bank robbers Brian Keith and Rudy Bond. While they actually kill Albertson, Ray is knocked unconscious and left for dead. Upon regaining consciousness, Ray is able to appropriate the thieves' bag of stolen money. After hiding the loot, Ray then sets out to find the authorities, only to find himself accused of Albertson's murder. Now he must somehow convince the authorities of his innocence and avoid the vengeful thieves. While on the lam, Ray makes the acquaintance of fashion model Anne Bancroft. Shortly afterward, Keith and Bond catch up with Ray and torture him, hoping to find out where he's hidden the money. Ray escapes again, vowing revenge on Bancroft, whom he thinks is in cahoots with the thieves. When he finds out that she's innocent of all wrong doing, Ray joins Bancroft and insurance-investigator James Gregory to locate the money. The thieves overpower Bancroft and Gregory, tying them up in a shed and then attempting to run them over with a snowplow. But Ray is able to rescue his new friends and seal the criminals' doom. For the most part, Nightfall is a well-wrought film noir, a specialty of director Jacques Tourneur. For reasons probably due to prior contractual commitments, the film stops cold at midpoint, offering viewers an interminable fashion show in which Anne Bancroft shows off some "up to date" dress designs that are almost as frightening as the film's villains. Outside of this lapse, Nightfall is an exciting piece of scriptwork from future TV stalwart Stirling Silliphant, who based his screenplay on a novel by David Goodis. … More
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as James Vanning
as Marie Gardner
as Laura Fraser
as Ben Fraser, Insuran...
as Dr. Edward Gurston
as Bus Driver
as Taxi Driver
as Spanish Couple
as Spanish Woman
as Spanish Couple
as Shoeshine Boy
as Taxi Driver
as Fashion Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Nightfall
The kind of pedigreed pulp that gets left off greatest-genre-hits lists yet still inspires motormouthed overpraising from directorial enthusiasts.
Not only a nifty late noir but a model of economical filmmaking -- well-sketched atmosphere, deft characterizations, and a 78-minute running time.
A minor film compared to Out of the Past, perhaps, but no less gripping.
Crisply directed, scripted with gems of hardboiled lines and superbly paced, it's a film of darkness and light that ends up in the snowy mountains of Wyoming...
Audience Reviews for Nightfall
In "Nightfall," James Vanning(Aldo Ray) has a conversation with Ben Fraser(James Gregory), an insurance investigator, at a bus stop before deciding to go into a bar. There, he takes a seat next to Marie(Anne Bancroft, impossibly young), a model, and loans her enough money for a drink. They hit it off and agree to meet later which is a shame when John(Brian Keith, highly improbably young) and Red(Rudy Bond) come menacingly back into his life, really wanting to know where the money is which reminds Vanning of happier days, camping with his best friend Doc Gurston(Frank Albertson)in Wyoming.
As behooves any good film noir, "Nightfall" works much better in the shadows with its crackling dialogue than in the harsh glare of day. The movie starts well, dealing out clues methodically, especially Fraser's involvement. At the same time, it ably depicts the darkness lurking just behind 1950's conformity as the movie neatly seques between Vanning's lonely story and the domestic back and forth between the Frasers. There is also some fine location work for the time while the supporting cast fares better than the dull lead. Sadly, in trying to find a way out, the movie takes the easiest path in tying together the pieces too tightly for this sort of film.
Average noir with some bright spots. Aldo Ray is a interesting actor, but has a tendency to smile too much in this film. He has a great look, but comes across as more of a teddy bear than a bad ass. Keith and Bond are great bad guys who dislike each other, but want to know where their money is hidden. Bancroft is just a pleasure to look at and has a great presence in this film. She and Ray have great chemistry, but fall in love too quickly and it seems a little tact on. Not a great film, but is still enjoyable.
Aldo Ray is a man on the run who convinces Anne Bancroft that he's not a killer but a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Great tale filled with desperate characters, well worth a rental.
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