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Things start to go wrong for a group of criminals after they kidnap a young heiress and hold her for ransom at a beach house in France. Fighting among the co-conspirators boils over shortly after the ransom is picked up, leading to a violent end for most. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
I don't want you to hurt the girl; I don't want you to touch her. If I come back and I find out that she's not all right, I'm gonna take that burp gun and I'm gonna jam it up your nose... and I'm gonna pull the trigger 'til it doesn't work any more.
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What I like most about Night of the Following day is its sublime way in introduces France. The entire film is low-key, which is not quite seen nowadays in cinema. Plus there was Marlon Brando. Brando looks great in this film. His style of dress looks like he's modeling for some design that counts on black colors to the exclusion of all others. In one scene he's wearing an olive trench coat at an airport. Somehow I could not believe that this swank and bronzed and blonde-haired movie star could abet in the same crime as his associates. The only worth-while scenes are the ones Brando's in. Only because you don't know where they're going to end. Richard Boone, Rita Moreno, and the actor who plays her brother are all thinly written characters. Rita Moreno's character snorts heroin, her brother is an ineffectual non-entity who doesn't care whether he's killed as a result of committing this crime, and Richard Boone's character has sadistic tendencies. That's all the audience knows about these three characters. We even know less about Brando's character. But Brando can transcend the material in this shallow film because of his eerie star-quality. Night of the Following Day is indeed an ambitious film. Adapting a novel is ambitious in itself. A plot revolving around a volatile foursome kidnapping an heiress and hiding her out in a house somewhere in France sounds great on paper. But the audience must be engaged and somewhat let in on something. This film keeps the audience at a cool distance.
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