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Already three trustees of the Van Traylen fund have died during the last months, looking like suicides. However after a mysterious accident of a bus with the last three trustees and 30 orphan kids in it, police colonel Bingham starts investigating. First question is, how came that the dead bus driver is burnt when there was no fire during the accident? Dr. Ashley uses hypnosis to find the truth about the mysterious happenings. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
The Fox-Rank distributors tried to ballyhoo the film by offering cash prizes for letters from readers of the Sunday Mercury describing their real-life experiences with terror and the supernatural. See more »
Three trustees of the Van Travlen have died within the last couple of months, their deaths looking less than natural. When a bus accident occurs involving the Van Traylen Trust, the only survivor is the young girl Mary Valley. The behaviour of Mary has Dr Haynes worried, so he tries his best to dig up information on her and this leads to her original mother/convicted murderer. She wants Mary back, but the Trust manages to bring her back to their orphanage on the Scottish isle of Bala. Police Colonel Bingham believes there's more to these deaths, and soon his trying to protect the Trust from Mary's mother who believes that they turned her daughter against her. Also pathologist Sir Mark Ashley and reporter Joan Foster start digging up some vital dirt, which could answer many questions.
"Nothing But the Night" seems to fall more in the interesting bracket, than the successful one. Peter Sasdy's minor mystery chiller is a moderate attempt made more accessible due to the presence of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It was actually produced under Lee's Charlemagne production company, and would be the last one too. These two icons of the genre can make anything watchable and even though they might not be as prominent here. They still have the ability to leave their mark when they aren't on screen. Brain Hayles' cryptic screenplay (taken off John Blackburn's novel) works up a smart, if overly padded script and captivating dying half, but the knotty plot doesn't seem to click, as it moves all over the place making it hard to get comfortable and come to terms with the haunting pay-off. You might find the twist kinda obvious, but the true revelation throws you off. It does take quite awhile to hit its straps. Which could turn people off from its talkative and slow progression. However the timidly restraint and uncertain nature only makes the final 10 minutes even more unnerving, as that's when the murder mystery makes way for some creepy horror strokes. Both Sasdy and Hayles do a good enough job in keeping the viewer interested. Sasdy uses the open locations to great effect, and ably stages the set pieces with efficient slickness and ominously dark shades. Malcolm Williamson's lightly smooth jazzy score stays on the back-burner and Ken Talbot's sturdy photography keeps it stark and upfront. The performances are considerably tailor-made. Lee (more uptight than usual) and Cushing are at their assured best, even if they only have lesser parts. The spruce Diana Dors makes for a good fiery, eccentric turn and Georgia Brown's is equally impressive as the down-to-earth reporter. Gwyneth Strong wonderfully draws up her part as Mary.
A middling hot (impeccably acted) and cold (unfocused story) mystery thriller.
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