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This film has a wonderful cast of comedy actors but alas in the end they are let down by an uninspired script and some fairly amateurish "Special effects".Despite the fact that Harker,Hare and Drayton are amongst my favourite actors of this era even they fail to cause me to burst out laughing during this rather lame effort.Basically the story is of an attempt to exorcise a poltergeist which is terrorising a family.It of course is very easy to guess where the spirit emanates from.The writers unfortunately seemed to have run out of ideas once they had thought out the basic premise.It can be seen on the new satellite channel in the UK ACTIONMOVIES.Lots more 50s British films on this and MOVIES4MEN if you are interested
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well this had a pretty good premise, and it started out like it could have been a fun romp, but there comes a point in the picture when things hit a wall and it just abruptly comes to an end. Too bad, because the British actors seemed to have a decent chemistry together, and things could have clicked with a more imaginative script. The film reminded me a little of the early Fifties TV series 'Topper', although the spirit haunting the Prescott home had no identity. The hauntings consisted of random events like pictures on the wall turned backwards and objects moving around, and there was a sense that the film makers weren't sure if they should go for comedy or horror. I guess I can answer that, there wasn't anything frightening at all to be afraid of. Gordon Harker is the nominal lead actor as insurance investigator Harris, and he has a few funny moments. However he can't sustain the picture by himself, and ultimately, the film ends as unceremoniously as it began, with each of the three main characters, Harker, Prescott (Afred Drayton) and Spenser (Garry Marsh) congratulating themselves on ridding the house of it's haunting presence, even though the poltergeist was determined to have the last laugh.
A low key comedy about an impish poltergeist who has invaded the large home of Wilfrid and Hilda Prescott. The imp plays harmless tricks but one of them damages a bear skin rug for which Prescott makes an insurance claim. The always watchable Gordon Harker plays the insurance investigator looking into the merits of the claim. Also on hand is a potential business partner, Vincent Ebury, a paranormal researcher, the two Prescott daughters and the fiancé (and Ebury's son) of the elder daughter. Some of the funniest scenes are those in which the cook and butler appear. Things go bump all through the night and while all this is mildly amusing, it doesn't add up to a really funny or memorable movie. I'm a Harker fan but this isn't one of his better movies. Still, I'm glad I saw it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found the film somewhat amusing and didn't resent the time I spent
watching it, and yet I can think of few reasons to recommend it to
anyone else. The acting, script and direction are all pretty much what
one expects of a British comedy of that era, however there are no
particularly appealing characters or situations to endear the movie to
It occurred to me, however, the storyline bears a vague structural similarity to the much-better-known 1973 blockbuster, THE EXORCIST; mysterious things happen in a large house, experts are called-in, attention centers on an adolescent girl, and finally, a team of experts combine their efforts to drive the supernatural force away. Expressed this way, it's a structure similar to most British science-fiction and supernatural movies of the 50's and 60's (well, the adolescent girl isn't AS common a factor, but still...) So, if you have a copy of this movie and you attend get-togethers of movie buffs, you can play a neat prank by announcing that this film was the "actual" source of the plot line for THE EXORCIST, and the articles about the teen-aged boy in the '50's were just used to provide details. With this introduction, film fans will find this older movie fascinating, and when it reaches its conclusion, they are bound to *gasp* at the parallel between the Insurance Investigator and the younger Priest. In fact, they'll enjoy the ending much more than if they had simply watched this otherwise unremarkable movie on its own merits.
Of course, if your cinema-buff friends do any research, they'll discover there is no connection at all between the two films, and they will be disappointed. It's a risk you'll have to take.
(I'm marking this review "Contains Spoilers" because it contains some hints and parallels regarding the story structure and the film's conclusion. If you have NOT seen this film or THE EXORCIST, I hope I haven't given anything substantial away.)
Things Happen At Night is directed by Francis Searle and adapted to
screenplay by St. John Leigh Clowes from Frank Harvey's play The
Poltergeist. It stars Gordon Harker, Alfred Drayton, Robertson Hare,
Gwneth Vaughan, Olga Lindo, Wylie Watson and Gary Marsh. It's an
Alliance Film Studio Production out of Twickenham and Southall Studios,
with music by George Melachrino and cinematography by Leslie Rowson.
To be honest, it feels a lot earlier than 1947, 37 would probably sit right. It's one of those farce horror films that come off as an excuse for some tom foolery perpetrated by a bunch of actors enjoying themselves. The plot basically revolves around the strange goings on at Hilton Grange, where a number of characters gather, there's some guff about milk, an insurance investigation and an engagement. Poltergeist activity is rife, with coal and apples flung about the place, chest of drawers moved, vases hovering above heads and so on. Characters react in different ways, as you would expect, and as the mystery to the haunting draws ever closer, the makers ramp up the speed to deliver the coup de grace. It's all very harmless and wonderfully gay, if a touch irritating as well! 5/10
My father hated "English" films. This may have been what he was talking about. Starting with a silly premise, having a bunch of hangdog British comedians react to it, over, and over, and over, and you have this dullard. The plot involves a house that is being haunted by a poltergeist. Chunks of hot coal burn holes in things, pots smash to the ground, things tip over or move, the usual. Enter an insurance agent and an expert on paranormal events. Sound like fun? Unfortunately, it's neither exciting or funny; it just becomes endless. The conclusion is grossly unsatisfying and the reason the poltergeist is in the house is never dealt with. The master of the house a silly, ineffectual man. The daughter, who becomes possessed, is equally dull. The wife is beside herself. Don't bother with this one.
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