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The Road Builder (1971)
"The Night Digger" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror | Thriller  -  12 May 1971 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 481 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 14 critic

Effective psychological love story with a macabre twist not found in the original Joy Cowley novel. The dreary existence of middle- aged spinster Maura Prince takes an unexpected turn with ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maura Prince
Pamela Brown ...
Mrs. Edith Prince - Mother
Nicholas Clay ...
Billy Jarvis
Jean Anderson ...
Mrs. Millicent McMurtrey
...
Mr. Bolton
Yootha Joyce ...
Mrs. Palafox
...
Reverend Rupert Palafox
Brigit Forsyth ...
District Nurse
Sebastian Breaks ...
Dr. Ronnie Robinson
Diana Patrick ...
Mary Wingate
Jenny McCracken ...
Jenny - Farmwife
Bruce Myles ...
Bank Clerk
Zoe Alexander ...
Stroke Patient
Christopher Reynalds ...
Young Billy
Elaine Ives-Cameron ...
Gypsy
Edit

Storyline

Effective psychological love story with a macabre twist not found in the original Joy Cowley novel. The dreary existence of middle- aged spinster Maura Prince takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of young handyman Billy Jarvis, but there is more to Billy than meets the eye. This well-crafted film, full of sexual tension and Gothic flavor, was Patricia Neal's second after her return to acting, her real-life stroke worked deftly into the story by then-husband Roald Dahl. Written by Shane Pitkin <be50006@binghamton.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A lonely woman in a decaying mansion... A young stranger on a big, black bike. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 May 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Haus der Schatten  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original length of the film was 110 minutes. Bernard Herrmann composed his score for 110 minutes version. But about 13 minutes were cut right before the film's official release. So some of Bernard Herrmann's cues didn't end up in the film. In the released version (97 - 98 minutes), small portions of Herrmann's cue close to the end of the film was accidentally edited out. Some of Herrmann's cues that he composed for certain scenes in the released version didn't end up in the released cut. One of the unused cues was a cue for the scene where the nurse walks back and enters into her car. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Creepy and unsettling
29 October 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another one of those great forgotten movies of the 1970s. I caught this on late night TV about 20 years ago and have never forgotten it.

It was about a young man named Billy (Nicholas Clay) helping out Maura Prince (Patricia Neal) and her elderly mother (Pamela Brown) in their crumbling old house in England. Neal starts to fall for him (despite their age difference)...but she's not aware of what he does when he goes out alone every night...

Spooky little horror film. When I first saw it it was edited for TV so there were some unexplained pieces (like a bit about something that happened to him as a child which explains what he does as an adult) and, I assumed the violence was gone. I was finally able to see the entire uncut film and loved it! It wasn't a blood and guts horror movie--it's an excellent psychological horror. In fact the two violent acts in it aren't even shown! It concentrates on Billy and Maura and their feelings and thoughts. Clay and Neal are such great actors that just their expressions tell you what they're feeling. The growing romance between them was touching and believable. Also there's an excellent score and the ending was a stunner! This film has an R rating for some dialogue and a lengthy nude sequence with Clay. Well worth catching just for Clay and Neal.

This movie is available on DVD through the made to order system with the Warner Brothers Archive Collection. It's complete and the transfer is pristine. Well worth getting. It might disturb you but you'll never forget it. Avoid the cut version on TCM.


25 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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