HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Dead of Night Manners Are Not EnoughBuy this film here.
Year: 1945
Director: Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, etc
Stars: Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Mary Merall, Googie Withers, Frederick Valk, Anthony Baird, Sally Ann Howes, Robert Wyndham, Judy Kelly, Miles Malleson, Ralph Michael, Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Michael Redgrave, Elisabeth Welch, Hartley Power, Esme Percy
Genre: Horror
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) has been called out to this house in the country for a job opportunity by the owner, Eliot Foley (Roland Culver), but as he draws up in his car and takes a look at the property, he has a powerful sense of deja vu. So strong is this feeling that he allows Foley to guide him into the place and meet his guests as if in a daze, for he knows somehow he has met these people before, and as he is sat down he snaps out of it to tell everyone of his recurring dream. Unfortunately, he cannot recall the precise details, but has occasional flashes of what might have been a nightmare, though the psychiatrist Dr Van Straaten (Frederick Valk) seeks to reassure him...

But mere logic and politeness will not dispel the overwhelming strength of a true nightmare, in this, one of the most famous of British horror movies and one which audiences continually return to, mainly thanks to its texture as time goes on of a classic literary yarn, such is its air of vintage creepiness and charm. You could imagine those authors of the most celebrated of ghost stories endorsing what the team from Ealing Studios did with the material, which was derived from works of such notables as E.F. Benson and H.G. Wells, and delivered by four directors in slight but noticeable variations, though Charles Crichton's palate cleanser of a jokey golf tale was likely the odd man out.

The assembled partygoers relate their own experiences of the supernatural and the good doctor explains them away - the comedy section starring beloved double act of the day Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne was effectively invented by Foley as a release of tension from the increasingly unnerving accounts of the others. Dead of Night could be regarded as rather creaky these days, yet if you've ever delighted in an old Edwardian spooky short story or something more recent or from a little before, then you're going to get on very well with this, not least thanks to the professionalism of the cast and crew, the former largely speaking in impossibly posh R.P. accents, aside from the Germanic doctor who is presumably a Sigmund Freud stand-in.

For anyone who has wanted to take shrinks or sceptics down a peg or two for airily waving away any event less than convincing to them but very convincing to you, such as seeing a ghost, for example, this offered a particularly violent rebuttal as it played out to a delirious climax which has a punchline simple, obvious and eerily satisfying all at the same time. Before that, the individual segments started with one guest telling of his recovery from a racing car accident and seeing a chilling vision of a hearse driver outside his hospital window; the pay-off has become familiar as an urban myth, but director Basil Dearden gave it a deadpan, matter of fact unease capitalised on with the linking narrative of the informal gathering the worried architect is finding more and more uncomfortable.

Next up was the Christmas party where teenage Sally Ann Howes recounts last Yuletide where she was playing sardines when she ended up in a secret room with a solemn little boy, this drawn from an actual murder case of Victorian times for extra chills. Though brief, this holds up against the more substantial business to come as Googie Withers tells of a mirror she bought for her fiancé in which he could see a different room behind him when he looked into it. Again, a simple idea but very pleasing for how well it was presented. Then it was the golfing story, and at last we had the piece de resistance where the doctor told his own tale where he was investigating the case of a ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) whose dummy appeared to have a strange hold over him. This was the most influential part, remade and reimagined from Magic to Child's Play to Dead Silence and so on, and superbly directed by Alberto Cavalcanti for maximum disquiet, though really any horror anthology owed a huge debt to the exemplary work here. And there's always room for one more inside. Excellent music by Georges Auric.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2020 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Basil Dearden  (1911 - 1971)

Dependable British director who began his film career working on Will Hay comedies like My Learned Friend, then moved onto a range of drama and comedy: a segment of classic horror Dead of Night, important crime film The Blue Lamp, The Smallest Show on Earth, excellent heist story The League of Gentlemen, social issues film Victim, action spectaculars Khartoum and The Assassination Bureau and quirky horror The Man Who Haunted Himself. Sadly, Dearden died in a car crash.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: