Julia Ross secures employment, through a rather nosy employment agency, with a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hughes, and goes to live at her house. 2 days later, she awakens - in a different house, ... See full summary »
A Cardinal is arrested for treason against the state. As a Prince of his church, and a popular hero of this people, for his resistance against the Nazis during the war, and afterward his ... See full summary »
A renowned and relentless Paris detective takes his first vacation in eleven years at a small inn in the French countryside. There he meets and falls in love with the hotelier's daughter, who had been betrothed to a neighboring farmer, but who hopes to marry him and move to Paris. On the evening of their engagement, both the fiancée and the farmer disappear. What has happened to them? Who is responsible? Can the famed detective apply his talents to a rural mystery?Written by
All the talent lavished on French-set noir can't quite disguise one-trick pony
So Dark The Night poses a tough challenge: It's very hard to write about it in any detail without ruining it for those who haven't yet seen it. Since it remains quite obscure, that includes just about everybody. The movie will strike those familiar with its director Joseph H. Lewis' better known titles in the noir cycle Gun Crazy, The Big Combo, even My Name Is Julia Ross, which in its brevity it resembles as an odd choice.
For starters, the bucolic French countryside serves as its setting. Steven Geray, a middle-aged detective with the Surété in Paris, sets out for a vacation in the village of Ste. Margot (or maybe Margaux). Quite unexpectedly, he finds himself falling in love with the inkeepers' daughter (Micheline Cheirel), even though she's betrothed to a rough-hewn local farmer. But the siren song of life in Paris is hard to resist, so she agrees to marry him, despite the disparity in their ages, which inevitably becomes the talk of the town.
But on the night of their engagement party, she fails to return to the inn. Soon, a hunchback finds her body by the river. Her jealous, jilted lover is the logical suspect, but he, too, is found dead. Then anonymous notes threaten more deaths, which come to pass. For the first time in his career, the bereaved Geray finds himself stumped....
A particularly weak script all but does the movie in; it plays like bad Cornell Woolrich crossed with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. But Lewis does this creaky vehicle proud. He takes his time near the beginning, but then the story and the storytelling gain momentum (alas, just about the time the script breaks an axle). Burnett Guffey lighted and photographed the film, with an intriguing leitmotif of peering out of and peeping into windows; there's also an effective score by Hugo Friedhofer, who supplied aural menace to many noirs. A good deal of talent has been lavished on So Dark The Night, but at the end it boils down to not much more than a gimmick and not a very good gimmick at that. It's a one-trick pony of a movie.
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