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Jacques Torneur maestro del blanco y negro.
Aldo Ray is so-so, but anne bancroft and the other actors more than compensate. The plot has some weaknesses but the mood is great and i enjoyed the ending a lot.
Aldo Ray as an innocent man accused of murder who just so happens to meet a fashion model (Anne Bancroft) while on the lam (we all should be so lucky). The title has zip to do with the story, speaking of which, even seen in a positive light plays as noir light. But its competently achieved, if easy on the tension dynamic. Rudy Bond is standout as a 50's version psycho.
Interesting. quaint 1957 film noir. Only saw it, on tv, 60 yrs later.
Brando's sister looked good, as a fashion model "manniquin". Lots of snow and scenery.
Aldo Ray finds himself pursued by a pair of ruthless thieves in this above average noir.
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.
J. Hoberman calls Aldo Ray's performance in this late noir "diffident" and I suppose that's about right; there is definitely something unusual about his acting style here that clashes with the more typical styles of everyone else. He plays a man on the run and, at the start of the film, we don't know why. Slowly the story unfolds in brief flashbacks, even as the plot continues to advance during the present. The action takes place in L.A. and then in beautiful scenic Wyoming. James Gregory is here (I love him) as an insurance investigator, playing a more human well-rounded character than his later extreme caricatures in The Manchurian Candidate or Barney Miller (also great). Brian Keith and especially Rudy Bond are memorable as the squabbling bad guys. Tourneur handles it all with great skill and keeps things moving along, spiking the story with some great set-pieces (the fashion show and snowplow finale included). Worth a look.
While "Nightfall" is neither the best film noir nor a radiant gem in Jacques Tourneur's stylish and iconic filmography, nevertheless it's a neat and tidy little thriller, succeeding to give us the right amount of suspense while an economic budget and utter forgettability. And in that sense, it works.
In "Nightfall", we witness a peaceful fishing trip gone wrong, as the basis of the plot. James (Aldo Ray) and Edward (Frank Albertson) are having a fun vacation, when on the last day, a car crashes right in front of them. While they attempt to help (after all, Edward's a doctor) the twosome in trouble, it's discovered that they're escaped bank robbers, carrying nearly half-a-million dollars. The thugs themselves aren't in the mood for a pair of witnesses, so they end up shooting Edward and James-- but James ends up merely being unconscious. As if things can't get any worse, James' would-be-killers accidentally leave behind the loot. Knowing that he's the prime suspect in both murder and robbery, James goes on the lam. Before long, he makes the mistake of picking up beautiful young model Marie (Anne Bancroft) ... who is then put in danger as the two criminals plan to kill James once and for all.
"Nightfall" was filmed around the time film noir was transforming into neo noir, and overall, it's a mixture of both. While it is rather sad to see the original film noir go, "Nightfall" ultimately gives us a look of just how stylish neo noir can be-- and it almost succeeds. It's a B-picture, and it shows. The story is a little bit too clean, never surprising us and, by the end, drifts off into the land of predictability. What a shame, considering the double crosses that could have occurred-- it especially would have been interesting to see the raven haired, borderline heroin chic Marie, played by the smoky-voiced Bancroft, transform into a femme fatale. It wouldn't have hurt either if Ray's character was less of a "Marty" type and instead a little bit darker, more sinister presence. While the film has its share of hard-boiled one-liners, the characters itself aren't anything special. The only true reason to see the acting is for Bancroft, who is quite young and far ahead from Mrs. Robinson.
But "Nightfall" isn't without its visual delights. The '50's hosted camerawork a little bit more sleek and high definition than the '40's, ruling out any possibilities for any dreamlike qualities. If anything though, the film looks like a Bergman film. But there's nothing wrong with that. The stark, shadowy camerawork is gritty, and inescapable, showing a harsh landscape that's wide open yet claustrophobic. The best scenes take place at night, with pitch-black alleyways, lamps as the only source of light, and cigarette smoke that swirls around with white mystery. It's a shame the story isn't as stunning as its visuals.
"Nightfall" is a entertaining, if forgettable, film noir that isn't necessarily bad, but nothing special. Those who love Jacques Tourneur's films will be in for a treat, though: it's reminiscent of the exquisite style of "Out of the Past".
A fun noir that turns an "artist" into a wanted felon. Keith from "The Parent Trap" was good, and to have an unusual character in Gregory playing an Insurance Investigator made for an interesting flick. Then to top it off with some great settings in Wyoming, and I'm sold. I always like Wyoming.
Bancroft's character seemed to stupid to give everything up for a whim. Then to have them as an Artist dating a Model, seemed even more far fetched when they barely knew one another. But the whole showdown in the end with the snow plow was pretty gutsy for the time, props for that.
The intensity of the action, superb direction, astonishing juxtaposition of the city sequences and scenes in the tranquil, snow-filled countryside, and - probably most of all - the many hardboiled dialogues present Nightfall as a truly expressive film noir. Through a clever use of retrospectives the film introduces the audience to James Vanning (Aldo Ray), whose life story is as tragic as it is suspenseful.
James wanders around town anxiously, looking as though he's waiting for someone the whole time. After his meeting with a lovely lady named Marie (Anne Bancroft) turns into a gritty kidnapping intrigue, all the pieces of the puzzle soon start to fit right in. A pair of thugs is after him, because they think that he hid the money (350,000 dollars to be exact), which they stole during a bank raid. In order to get the information out of him they try torturing him, but James ultimately manages to escape. As he returns to meet the lady, who supposedly gave him away to the criminals, brief retrospections appear on the screen, and entangle us in the whole obscure and dramatic affair. When James and his friend Dr. Gurston (Frank Albertson) were in the middle of a hunting trip they encountered a car crash and quickly realize that they the guys, whom they wanted to help, are nothing but a couple of violent robbers. They kill Dr. for their great amusement, but leave James only unconscious. When he wakes up, he realizes that what they also left behind was a bag with the cash. Soon a thrilling and fast-paced game of cat-and-mouse begins, as both the thugs and a private investigator Fraser (James Gregory) are on his trail. With the help of the previously met lady, James decides to stop the killers and retrieve the money-filled bag, which he left somewhere in the snowy country...
Nightfall is an enormously moody, sombre, and hard-hitting crime drama, which achieves high level of aesthetics through the sudden yet suitable changes of scenery. The shootout in the secluded, wild place is a great advantage of the film, giving it a totally different perspective than other films in the genre have. It's a low-budget, extremely economical yet successful adaptation of a 1947 novel of the same name.