Blu-ray Commentary: “Nightfall”

Good things can come in threes. Along with The Andromeda Strain and Thirst, the other current Blu-ray commentary I have out is Nightfall, an Arrow Academy release in the UK. Unlike my other work for Arrow Video in the UK, this disc is all-region so you can buy an import and play it here in the States! At least, I can on my Sony 4K Blu-ray player.

This 1957 film came around as the film noir genre was on the wane, and it has been called “blanc noir” by at least one critic because it turned a lot of the genre’s conventions on its head. Aldo Ray was nearing the end of his run as a leading man in Hollywood, Anne Bancroft was a performer yet to make her Oscar mark, and director Jacques Tourneur, known for spooky films like Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie, was returning to noir which he explored with Out Of The Past a decade earlier.

Adapted from the novel by David Goodis, Nightfall follows Jim Vanning (Aldo Ray), an innocent man wrongly accused of murder and who knows the location of stolen bank money that he hid away after two thugs (Brian Keith and Rudy Bond) killed a good friend (Frank Albertson) during their getaway. Jim’s chance encounter with glamorous model Marie (Anne Bancroft) leads to her being swept up in his personal drama as he flees from the hoods who want their stolen green back. Unbeknownst to them all, an insurance investigator (James Gregory) is surreptitiously shadowing them.

The review coverage on Nightfall was a little lighter than on The Andromeda Strain or Thirst, but I received some good remarks on my commentary which is encapsulated in the review excerpts below. Links to the original sources are in the logos.

“The most interesting of the special features is the commentary by author Bryan Reesman, providing insight into the performers and their careers, the locations, Tourneur’s style and the expectations of the genre and the restrictions of the era, packing information into every scene, brightening…a fairly run-of-the-mill thriller.”

“It is a great film that is on the list of a great director. Bryan Reesman notes how hard going it was but Tourneur achieved a delightful pairing. Convention and control seem to be the reason for much of this. Or at least that is Reesman’s take.”

“The two essays/appreciations and the [Bryan Reesman] commentary are all excellent. There’s only a little crossover too, with all contributors offering slightly different takes on the film and filling us in on interesting facts surrounding the production.”

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