HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Greta
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Skiptrace
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Aniara
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
   
 
Newest Articles
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
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 1871 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
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith
   

 

Last Updated: