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Dead of Night (1945)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,301 users  
Reviews: 104 user | 67 critic

An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

Directors:

(as Cavalcanti) , , 2 more credits »

Writers:

(original story), (original story), 9 more credits »
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Title: Dead of Night (1945)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mervyn Johns ...
Roland Culver ...
Eliot Foley
Mary Merrall ...
Mrs Foley
...
Joan Cortland
Frederick Valk ...
Dr. Van Straaten
Anthony Baird ...
Hugh Grainger (as Antony Baird)
...
Sally O'Hara
Robert Wyndham ...
Dr. Albury
Judy Kelly ...
Joyce Grainger
Miles Malleson ...
Hearse Driver
Michael Allan ...
Jimmy Watson
Barbara Leake ...
Mrs O'Hara
Ralph Michael ...
Peter Cortland
Esme Percy ...
Antiques Dealer (as Esmé Percy)
Basil Radford ...
George Parratt
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Storyline

Architect Walter Craig, seeking the possibility of some work at a country farmhouse, soon finds himself once again stuck in his recurring nightmare. Dreading the end of the dream that he knows is coming, he must first listen to all the assembled guests' own bizarre tales. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 1946 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

A Dança da Morte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During Sally O'Hara's discussion about the party she attended, she says she met Francis Kent, who her friend says was murdered by his sister Constance in the house in 1860. This was an actual murder that took place in 1860, and the culprit's name was actually Constance Kent. She murdered her brother Francis "Saville" Kent at Road Hill House in 1860. Due to a lack of evidence in the case, she was not arrested and put on trial until 1865. The case garnered national attention in the United Kingdom and was partially responsible for the birth of modern detective techniques and the popularity of detective novels like the Sherlock Holmes series. In 2008, author Kate Summerscale released a book entitled "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher", about the trial and subsequent lives of the Kent family. There was also a 2011 movie based on the book, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill House (2011). See more »

Goofs

As Peter Cortland stands looking into the mirror his wife-to-be has bought him, the stripes on his tie run from his left side, down to his right. A reverse shot shows the stripes on his tie running in the same direction; obviously not a mirror image. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Eliot Foley: Ah! Walter Craig?
Walter Craig: How do you do? You're Eliot Foley.
Eliot Foley: That's right. So glad you were able to come, let's have your bag.
[takes Craig's bag]
Eliot Foley: We'll put the car away afterwards. You know it struck me after I'd telephoned you, rather a cheek on my part asking a busy architect like yourself to come down and spend the weekend with a set of complete strangers.
Walter Craig: Not a bit.
Eliot Foley: You see we're pretty cramped for space here, we need at least two more bedrooms.
Walter Craig: And with only one living room.
Eliot Foley: Yes, only...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twilight Zone: The Dummy (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Do You Pass Me By?
(uncredited)
("Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir")
Written by Charles Trenet and Johnny Hess
English lyrics by Desmond Carter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A prime example of a well-made horror-anthology
27 July 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

Anthology n.: a collection of selected literary pieces or passages of works of art or music.

This classic horror-anthology from Britain's Ealing Studios is composed of four separate stories, composed around a group of strangers that is mysteriously gathered at a country estate where each reveals their chilling tale of the supernatural. But even after these frightening tales are told, does one final nightmare await them all?

The horror-anthology has proved a difficult sub-genre, usually made with only limited success, because it's notoriously difficult to get it right. If only one of the stories fails to deliver, the whole piece is dragged down. But this multi-part horror effort from Britain's Ealing Studios still proves to be very effective and justifiably still is one of the most revered and successful horror anthologies ever made. It features appearances by many of the best British actors of it's day, including Mervyn Johns, Ralph Michael, Basil Radford and Michael Redgrave. With four different directors at the helm, not all four segments are equally effective and are quite different in tone, but they are all good in their own right. The standout for me, not judged in terms of the best, but certainly the most frightening story of the four, is "The Ventriloquist Dummy" by Brazilian born Alberto Cavalcanti (he's simply billed as Cavalcanti), the only non-British director involved in DEAD OF NIGHT. Michael Redgrave plays a renowned ventriloquist who descends into an abyss of madness and murder, when his dummy takes on a life of his own. One of the most unsettling stories I've ever seen.

The somewhat less effective (if only slightly) mirror sequence by Robert Hamer shows something very scary can be achieved with very basic means. When Ralph Michael looks in the mirror, to his horror he keeps seeing the reflection of a dark Gothic room lit with candles, completely different from the room he's standing in and slowly, he begins to loose his mind. Ultimately, it is the extremely unsettling music score that makes it work. Basic but very effective.

As with most anthologies, it's difficult to keep track of the main interwoven storyline, because between the different stories we're told, your mind is still very much trying to grasp what you've just seen. This is probably why the genre became increasingly unpopular over the years. With the exception of "The Ventriloquist Dummy", don't expect anything particularly scary, but it did leave me quietly disturbed. The peerless British cast and the witty, slightly old-fashioned tongue-in-cheek dialog makes this very pleasant and appropriately unsettling viewing.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10 --- 10/10 for "The Ventriloquist Dummy"


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