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  • Nightfall (1956) [BluRay] [1080p] [YTS.LT]
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Nightfall (1957)

  • Action Crime Thriller
  • An innocent man turns fugitive as he reconstructs events that implicate him for a murder and robbery he did not commit.



    There is money missing from a bank job, an attractive model, an insurance investigator, and two extremely dangerous thugs. James Vanning (Aldo Ray) portrays an innocent man on the run, being pursued by the criminals who stupidly misplaced their take from the crime and think he has it or knows where it is hidden. Add model Marie Gardner (Anne Bancroft) who crossed paths with nice guy Vanning, while he is on the run. This all adds up to a thriller wherein the viewer is drawn into the story and becomes part of the drama. When Marie says "things that really happen are difficult to explain" it captures the theme of this film. A nice girl helps a nice guy, who is innocent and is drawn into the drama. As tension mounts she says: "I am always meeting the wrong man, and it leads to doomed relationships." Marie inadvertently leads Vanning into the hands of the villains. However, she is a pseudo-femme fatale, innocently involved in the intrigue and, like the viewer, is gradually drawn into the ...

    Nightfall (1956) download

    Nightfall (1956) download

    Nightfall (1956) download

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    By Kim Morgan filmnoiroftheweek.com “This is what they call the point of no return my friend.” Nightfall is a work of striking juxtapositions and tones that by picture end, come off like a wonderfully disarming person—you’re charmed, even a bit disturbed, but you’re not sure what to make of it all. It opens at night, in the neon lit, Los Angeles jungle shimmering with welcoming Hollywood haunts like Miceli’s, Firefly and Musso and Frank and ends within the blinding white snow of the more foreboding Wyoming Wilderness. It pits an older doctor and his much younger, artist friend against two thugs, one an over-eager, violence-lusting psychopath and the other a casual, smarter killer whose relaxed approach borders on the likable. It features a chic fashion show with a modern looking Anne Bancroft as a “mannequin” followed by a cuddly rural bus ride during which the lovers express their romantic feelings after waking up to (decidedly non chic) whiskers. There’s cruel violence committed against good Samaritans mixed with quippy one liners and a surprising amount of dark humor. And did I mention Anne Bancroft falls in love with Aldo Ray? They seem mismatched, but then, perfect together—and their moments are exceptionally romantic. In short, Nightfall is a trip. But a great trip, and a noteworthy addition to noir innovator Jacques Tourneur’s oeuvre (which includes, among other splendid pictures, the horror/noir classics Cat People and I Walked With a Zombie and his key noir, Out of the Past). Adapted by Stirling Silliphant from hard boiled writer David Goodis's 1947 novel and brilliantly shot by Burnett Guffey (who also shot Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece In a Lonely Place and Arthur Penn’s ingenious Bonnie and Clyde),the picture is considered by some, a minor film noir, something that’s always baffled me. Made in the later cycle of the genre (released in 1957), the picture skillfully weaves a convoluted story, harsh violence, existential angst, naturalistic acting and sweet romanticism without ever feeling forced. And as stated earlier—it’s very funny—something Tourneur always intended. And though the theme song seems a bit overheated (Al Hibbler crooning “Nightfall…and you!”—a tune that really ought to grace a Ross Hunter production) even that works when looking at the film in its entirety. Akin to the startling laughs spiking the movie, it echoes Tourneur’s own sly sense of humor. The story is structured much like Out of the Past, with our hero (who's not guilty, unlike Mitchum), Rayburn Vanning (Ray) relating his complicated story to a woman. Only in this instance, the lovely lady, Marie Gardner (Bancroft), is a bit confused. Pulling a damsel in distress act for the benefit of two thugs waiting to jump Ray (she thought they were police officers after a wanted man), she sets up the poor lug. Vanning is then accosted by Red (Rudy Bond) and John (Brian Keith) and taken to a deserted oil derrick (an unsettling yet weirdly amusing scene) where he’s set to be tortured. They want to know where that money’s hidden, something Vanning continually states he doesn’t know. Vanning escapes, finds his way to Marie’s apartment and gives her the skinny. Or rather, the thick skinny. He explains the convoluted predicament that’s left him understandably paranoid. While on a pleasant camping trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with best friend Dr. Edward Gurston (Frank Albertson) in which the two men will hunt, and in a more uncomfortable moment, near the sticky subject of Doc’s much younger wife (whom we learn later has a thing for Vanning and sent him letters saying so). The conversation is cut short when a car crashes off an embankment and two shady characters (Red and John), emerge. Doc fixes John’s arm but they soon realize they're unlucky witnesses (the men just robbed a bank). Almost shockingly, Doc is shot dead and Vanning is left injured. The crooks blaze off, only, they make an enormous mistake—they grab the doctor’s bag instead of their own bag of money. Vanning is able to rise from his injury, hide the dough and take off. Moving from town to town under suspicion that he killed Doc, Vanning ends up in Los Angeles, where he’s being tailed by insurance investigator Ben Fraser (James Gregory) who confesses to his wife that Vanning just doesn’t seem the type. And as played by Aldo Ray—he doesn’t seem the type. One of the more striking aspects to Nightfall is its casting, and the barrel-chested, thick necked Ray, who was a natural born actor (watch his first and largely unschooled leading role in George Cukor’s The Marrying Kind and you’ll see how immediately gifted the man was. Also in Anthony Mann’s brilliant Men in War). Ray is the perfect good guy in-over-his- head. With his raspy voice, yet boyish appeal (he looked like he literally walked off a football field, which is why Cukor made him take ballet before The Marrying Kind) Ray always exuded a different kind of mystery than say, Mitchum or Ryan or Widmark—men who rarely appeared “normal.” Ray, an ex Frogman who fought in Iwo Jima, was a brawny man’s man certainly, but he always looked to be hiding a secret. That inside he had the soul of a poet or artist—a man of depth beyond his tough exterior. And so, appropriately, in Nightfall, he’s an artist. Brian Keith is another standout and like Ray, an actor I always wished was my father (and not merely for the TV show Family Affair). He’s so agreeable here—and his delivery manages to be both distracted and pithy rather than rat-a-tat. When he humorously claims that Red’s homicidal kicks stem from his lack of childhood play (“When Red was a kid they didn’t have enough playgrounds. He’s sort of an adult delinquent.”) he’s both revelatory and teasing. And his banter towards Red is cleverly berating: “The top of your head never closed up when you were a kid. Neither did your mouth.” Cracking wise with Red, the two spar like men who are ready to kill each other, but also who are simply getting on each other’s nerves (preceding some of Tarantino’s talky criminals). But talking aside, deadlier fates await them including a fatal gunshot and death by snowplow. And wild, almost ridiculous fate was something Tourneur excelled at, not surprisingly. Based on the bizarre treatment at the hands of his filmmaker father, Tourneur developed a dark sense of the absurd. As written in John Wakemen’s “World Film Directors Vol. 1 1890-1946,”Tourneur believed that the childhood he endured—one of “grotesque punishment” lied at the root of his cinematic obsessions. Relating that he was sent to a poor school and teased unmercifully for his square suspenders, Tourneur claimed: “I think this is what prompted me to introduce comic touches into the dramatic moments of my films…Mixing fear and the ridiculous can be very exciting.” Indeed. As Red can’t wait to torture a terrified Vanning, he sinisterly and bizarrely sings: “The tougher they are the more fun they are tra-la.”


    5 months ago

    Jacques Tourneur used his vast reserves of creativity to turn small-budget films into fascinating movie-going experiences. If "Out of the Past" is one of the best films noir to be released in the 1940s, then "Nightfall" must be one of the best from the succeeding decade.Aldo Ray plays James Vanning, who, with his doctor friend Edward Gurston (Frank Albertson), finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up knowing the whereabouts of a bag of stolen money, wanted mightily by two bank robbers (one played with droll relish by Brian Keith). Fate, always a principal character in any film noir, brings James together with Marie Gardner (an impossibly young Anne Bancroft), a fashion model who becomes his girl Friday. Meanwhile, an insurance investigator (James Gregory) working on behalf of the robbed bank has James's number and comes calling. All of these characters finally collide in a memorable and rather grisly ending."Nightfall" is tremendously stylish and playful. It very much resembles Tourneur's earlier noir, "Out of the Past," in its thesis that a man can run but never hide from his past. But it also reminded me of "On Dangerous Ground," Nicholas Ray's strange offering from 1952, in its juxtaposition of a shadow-filled urban environment filled with anonymous (and perhaps dangerous) strangers with the wide open (and no less frightening) spaces of the country, where anything can happen and no one will know. I don't know if Aldo Ray was considered a good actor at the time, but he does a terrific job here -- who better to play an American everyman caught up in a sticky web than this all-American jock of an actor? He and Bancroft sizzle in their scenes together, and one of the movie's highlights comes when they are racing away from one of Bancroft's fashion shows with the bad guys in hot pursuit, and Ray, frustrated by the fact that Bancroft can't run in the impractical gown she was just modeling, picks her up and runs with her into the safety of a cab, after which she leans against him and says, "You're the most wanted man I know." This scene and line got laughs and applause at the screening I attended, but you could tell that people were laughing with the film and not at it.This film is one of the highlights of the noir genre, and I highly recommend catching it if you get a chance.Grade: A

    5 months ago

    David Goodis' pulpy novel becomes exciting, well-cast and acted crime-drama, peculiarly titled since most of the action takes place in the snow-covered mountains of Wyoming (perhaps "Snowfall" would've been more apropos). Two innocent campers run violently afoul of two trigger-happy bank-robbers, with 350 G's getting lost in the frost. Hollywood never quite knew what to do with Aldo Ray: polite and beaming (like an overgrown Boy Scout), Ray's ingratiating manner and wobbly, scratchy voice made him difficult to type-cast in the 1950s. He's just right here, playing tough guy up against cold-hearted Brian Keith and buddy/big brother/love-interest to model Anne Bancroft, who gets caught in this crime web and yet doesn't seem to mind. Despite a sluggish start and a few details that don't come together (such as why the crooks' car runs off the road in Wyoming, or why the two bank-robbers don't follow Aldo Ray when he runs through the river with the satchel of loot), director Jacques Tourneur handles the criss-crossing plot with buttery ease. Add in some amusing parallels to the later "Fargo" and you've got the makings of a cult classic, one that Columbia Pictures rarely revives. *** from ****

    5 months ago

    I wonder if Jacques Tourneur's "Nightfall" was a kind of influence on the Coen Brothers' "Fargo". It features quirky crooks and flawed characters stumbling about in a frozen wilderness in search of loot. Sure, this is not as wry as "Fargo", but I wonder. One thing's for sure...both films capture the essence of a snowy rural locale well. "Fargo" had death by wood chipper, "Nightfall" has death by snowplow...Another reviewer made an astute connection to "On Dangerous Ground". I wouldn't put this on the emotional level of that wonderful film, but it does effectively contrast the cold dark city with the cold white space of the countryside.The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks related by the singularly unlucky James Vanning, our hero. Vanning's luck is sure lousy, as he becomes the victim of a series of terrible coincidences and bad timing (as one of the hoods, Red, gleefully points out). It seems that while on a winter fishing trip with good pal Doc, Vanning comes to the rescue of two gents whose car crashes in a canyon. Unfortunately for Vanning and Doc, the duo, John and Red, are dangerous felons fleeing a bank robbery. John is the laconic brains of the outfit while Red is a jovial sadist itching for the kill. Before we know it, Doc is gunned down and Vanning is left for dead, while John and Red take off with what they think is a bag containing $350,000. But it isn't, it's Doc's bag...and the still-living Vanning stumbles into the snow in a daze with the real swag. Circumstances are such that Vanning is now hunted as the murderer of Doc. The bag of money is laying out in the wilderness where Vanning left it. Vanning is forced to hit the road and change his name to avoid capture. Hot on his tail is amiable insurance investigator Ben Frazier, who suspects Vanning might be innocent. But to make things worse, John and Red also catch up with Vanning...and they're prepared to do whatever's necessary to get their money back.The chase is on, with Vanning trying to elude the sadistic thugs as well as Frazier, while also romancing Marie, a sultry model who offers him shelter.Beautiful cinematography is a given in any Tourneur film and the direction here is as top notch as ever. Strong performances and crisp dialog also make an impact. Aldo Ray wound up as a drunken hack in terrible films later in his career, but here he makes a rugged yet vulnerable Vanning. It's one of his best roles. The wonderful James Gregory is appealing as always as Frazer...what a terrific character actor he is. Anne Bancroft is most attractive as Marie, though I never shook the feeling she was a token female stuck in the movie for a tacked on romance.As with just about any film, the bad guys really dominate. Brian Keith's John is a most peculiar bad guy...laid back, very reasonable sounding, yet something about him suggests this is a very dangerous man capable of great violence. That comes through best when he hauls a captive Vanning to an oil derrick and threatens to kill him with some of the derrick's huge machinery. In contrast, Rudy Bond as Red is a chuckling backslapping type who just happens to be a bloodthirsty killer. The scene where he casually, almost apologetically sets up Doc's murder and Vanning's "suicide" is chilling. The dynamic between these two is really strong and explodes into conflict at the end.Not everything clicks. I found it pretty amazing that the bag of loot would sit out in the Wyoming winter countryside in the same place for so long. Even in remote areas, hunters often wander and wild animals could have taken the bag,too. Not too mention it should have been under a snowdrift. As mentioned before, the relationship between Vanning and Marie also seems artificial. And the plot of the show, while clever, is far from revolutionary. I can think of many crime dramas with more action and firepower.But it all works out pretty well. I was gripped by the whole show and the final showdown is pretty intense, ending up in one of the most gruesome deaths in 50's cinema.Well worth your time.


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