During his long and varied career, Jacques Tourneur (The Comedy of Terrors, Cat People) tackled a breadth of genres on both sides of the Atlantic. With 1956’s Nightfall, he returns to the noir trappings he tackled so successfully with Out of the Past for a tale of deception, intrigue and paranoia.
Adapted from the novel by prolific crime fiction author David Goodis (Dark Passage), Nightfall is the story of Jim Vanning (Aldo Ray, The Violent Ones; The Naked and the Dead), an innocent man wrongly accused of murder. On the same night he has a chance encounter in a bar with glamorous model Marie (Anne Bancroft, The Graduate), the hoods he’s spent the past year running from catch up with him, determined to recover the money they believe he stole from them. Pursued by both the hoods and law enforcement, Vanning and Marie go on the lam, leading to a desperate chase that takes them from the streets of Los Angeles to the snowy peaks of Wyoming.
Eschewing both the big names associated with the genre and its familiar urban locales, and featuring striking monochromatic photography by Oscar-winner Burnett Guffey (From Here to Eternity), Nightfall is a gripping and inventive late-period noir which shows that, even in its twilight years, the genre still had room for innovation.
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