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I remember trying to get into this film in New York City on a Friday
night, and it was sold out. IMDb doesn't list its box office, but I
remember that it was quite popular. It was around the beginning of
Meryl as Goddess - this was her 10th film and before "Sophie's Choice."
The rest of the stars are Roy Scheider and Jessica Tandy. Scheider gets
drawn into the murder of one of his patients after a visit from a
mysterious woman (Streep) who worked with and had an affair with the
victim. He goes back in his mind over some of his sessions with his
patient, including a vivid dream, and finds himself living it.
If you know and love the big guy, Hitchcock, as much as I do, you'll enjoy this film just picking out all the Hitchcock touches. Others on this board have mentioned the cool blonde (Streep, looking gorgeous), the psychiatrist mother and the dream (Spellbound), a shot reminiscent of Rear Window, the presence of Jessica Tandy (The Birds), the ordinary man drawn into strange circumstances, the auction scene (North by Northwest), and of course, the Shadow of a Doubt reference - Scheider's Uncle Charlie.
"Still of the Night" is gimmicky, cold, and strangely memorable. Look at the various posts and see how many people remember where and when they saw it. Streep is excellent in her cool blonde role, though it's not a great part; however, her monologue toward the end of the film is very compelling. Scheider is just right as the psychiatrist, and Tandy is wonderful as his mother, though her role is too small.
Others mention that the film moves slowly until the end. The ending is very suspenseful and exciting, but I didn't feel the rest of the movie was slow - I felt like I was being set up for something. As it turned out, I was.
Recommended for lovers of Hitchcock and those who have not seen much early Streep.
Quiet thriller with great acting from Meryl Streep, taken a slightly different route with the paranoid performance from Roy Schnieder. Unfortunately some other of the other performances are quite poor, with the standard dumbed down cops. Slow to pick up, it's worth sticking with past the stock plot setup routines. There's some neat camera work to strengthen the guessing game and make you feel the paranoia and fear of the doctor. There's a fantastic sequence in central park where the Doctor follows a mystery woman, losing her beneath the light \ dark pools of street lights. Using the sound of her footsteps to pull your attention forward to a tunnel. The final moments of that sequence are brilliant. Throughout the lighting is used to great effect with all other senses and even performances extremely restrained. A good film which I'm sure has influenced many others of this genre.
This film has received quite a few negative posts. I also read Leonard Maltin's review, in which he said that it was full of holes and was a weak Hitchcock homage. I really think people are all wrong about this one; it's full of some very good old-fashioned suspense, and I love all of the Hitch touches many here have already noted. As well, it must be recalled that Hitch dealt in many implausibilities in his films. He hated those who constantly pointed out that "that could never happen in real life." It's not real life, it's a movie! That's one of the ways I thought this film succeeded, was in reflecting (or even gently parodying) Hitch's use of things that would never happen in real life. Loved the chemistry between Meryl and Roy, not to mention the lovely mentor/parent shrink/shrink relationship between Roy and Jessica. Nice work from Robert Benton. I love this film. --Matthew Hays
(Minor Spoilers) Director Robert Benton borrows from at least seven
Alfred Hitchcock films: Spellbound (1945) Rear Window (1954) Vertigo
(1958)North by Northwest (1959) Psycho (1960) The Birds (1963) and
Marnie (1964) and comes up with a pretty fair Hitchcockian thriller of
his own in "Still of the Night".
The film centers on Brooke Reynolds, Meryl Streep, an antique dealer at the Crispin Antique & Auction House in New York City. Brooke's fellow dealer and lover George Bynum, Josef Sommer, was found murdered the night before and he was a patient of Dr. Sam Rice, Roy Scheider, his psychiatrist who she went to see to give him a watch that George left in her apartment.
Brooke wants Dr. Rice to give the watch back to George's wife in order for her not to find out that she was having an affair with him. Dr. Rice agrees to return it to Mrs. Bynum but can't get over the alluring and beautiful Brooke and slowly falls in love with her which gets him involved with his dead patient and Brooke's lover George. Dr. Rice is trying to get over an failed marriage himself and Brooke coming into his life at this important time seems to be just the right medicine for him but it's the baggage that she carries with her, her lovers murder, that puts him in danger as well as Brooke herself.
"Still of the Night" is a very stylish thriller with almost no action at all until the final scene and thats what makes the movie work. Roy Scheider is perfect as the meek and troubled psychiatrist Dr. Sam Rice who takes it upon himself to solve his patients murder as he falls in love with Brooke who may have had something to do with it.
The usually two-fisted and tough Roy Scheider is very good as the withdrawn and inoffensive Dr. Sam Rice who's driven to solve George's murder in order to clear Brooke from being blamed for it which seems to be what's being made to happen by George's killer. Dr. Rice is also somewhat of a mama's boy with his psychiatrist mom Grace, Jessica Tandy, giving him advice on his breakup with his wife and the solving of George's murder.
There's a very good dream sequence in the movie "Still of the Night" much like the one in "Spellbound" that bring out what was really going on between George & Brooke as well as Brooke's dark secret that the killer somehow found out about and was using it to set up and implicate Brooke for George's murder.
Meryl Streep who's known more for being an excellent Academy Award winning actress then a beauty queen was never more beautiful as well as classy as Brooke Reynolds the mystery woman with a secret who knew much more then what she lead Dr. Rice to believe. Miss. Streep is such a turn-on in the film that even with all her clothes on she had more sex appeal then both Britney Spear and Madonna put together with their clothes off. In fact the only scene that Meryl Streep was nude had nothing to do with her affair with Dr. Rice but when he came to her apartment and was startled to find her getting a rub-down from her masseur Mr. Chang, Hyon Cho; WHAT A LUCKY GUY HE IS.
"Still of the Night" turned off a lot of movie viewers because of it's slow pace and lack of any steamy scenes between Dr. Rice and Brooke Reynolds as well as it's almost total lack of action until the very last minutes of the movie. But it substituted all that with a well thought out story and as for the lack of sex thats exactly what made the movie, or better yet Brooke Reynold, so sexy. Brooke was so gorgeous that she came across as being almost untouchable and rightly so. A woman as attractive as her should only be looked upon with awe and admiration and not be manhandled; at least until the lights are turned off.
I remember being entirely taken with this film, seeing it several times when it was originally in theaters, way back in '82. Its creator, Robert Benton, freely admitted at the time that he intended this to be an homage to Hitchcock, and he's largely succeeded, right down to the cool, mysterious blonde female with a troubled past and the detective who is drawn to her, and the balletic, deliberate pacing that accentuates the suspense and tension, almost to a fault. Unlike Hitchcock, this film is strictly serious business, with nary a moment of lightness, which, alas, means something less than 'fun'. Hitchcock ALWAYS utilized humor, no matter how dark it may have been, recognizing that it, too, can actually heighten the suspense by putting people off their guard. This film would be richer for that sense but still it remains a good, solid mystery. As I've said, the story is pure Hitchcock: a murder takes place and a cool, mysterious blonde (Streep) may be the prime suspect, something that draws New York City psychologist (and amateur sleuth) Scheider towards her. One comment here said, "They don't make 'em classy like this anymore" and he couldn't be more right: from the restrained, low-key performance of Streep (accent-free but looking perhaps more beautiful here than in any other film she's done; she nearly resembles those women in a Dutch Renaissance painting), balancing the "livelier" performance of Scheider, to the lovely muted blues, browns, greys and blacks of its cinematography. There are a fair number of jolts and a satisfactory wrap-up, too. If there is any one fault with the film, it is, as one user has already commented, how slight the script is - it's nearly a puff of smoke! Another asked if we really needed ANOTHER homage to Hitchcock since De Palma's been doing it for years; however, one look at De Palma's films and THIS film and the difference is night and day: De Palma's films, which could be considered almost a Hyper-Hitchcock, are almost TOO jokey and slavish to its directors flights of fancy, while Benton's film exhibits the cool reserve, almost detachment, of its sophisticated New York settings. Hitchcock was THE undisputed master of thrillers and remains so to this day; it's wonderful to see other, modern directors try their hand at the lost art of the classy thriller/mystery. "Still of the Night" is definitely worth discovering, no matter its minor faults.
I almost turned this movie off in the middle because I was tired of
being manipulated by the corny scary stuff that was overwrought and too
dragged out. That stuff was okay for the master, Hitchcock, but today
it has whiskers.
I was very surprised to see Meryl Streep looking more beautiful than ever before or since. It was the way her hairdo framed her face, I think. Any way, this movie was all Streep. Scheider has a certain gravitas which many Hollywood Idols never achieve even though they are far more popular. But Streepfrom her first moment on screen I said to myself, I've never seen this side of her! She's created an entirely original person! Then she delivered a soliloquy toward the end of the movie which she fashioned with such skill and insight that one would think it was Shakespeare!
There is simply no one as good as Streep, man or woman. She turns this average movie into something worth watching.
This intriguing movie packs thriller , tension , suspense, romance ,
unlimited excitement and plot twists . Sam Rice (Roy Scheider) , a
Manhattan psychiatrist probes a patient's murder and soon afterward
falls for the victim's mysterious mistress . Dr. Rice is visited by
George Bynum (Joseph Sommer)'s co-worker and mistress Brooke Reynolds
(Meryl Streep) with increasingly suspicious behavior . Later on , there
comes the investigating officer Detective Vitucci (Joe Grifasi) dealing
with the rare events . As Dr. Rice reviews the case notes on his
sessions with Bynum and he suspects that Brooke may or may not the
murderer . At the same time , Sam investigates the mysterious deeds and
he puts his own life in risk .
This Hitchcock-style mystery/thriller contains suspense , tension , chills and continuous intrigue . The picture promises much but fails its objectives . It's suspenseful but often the mysterious elements have not quite gelled . There's also an exciting and intriguing dream sequence in which results to be resolved the killing similarly to ¨Spellbound¨ by Alfred Hitchcock . Roy Scheider gives good performance as a psychiatrist who starts his own investigation about a murder and falling in love for enigmatic blonde Brooke excellently acted by Meryl Streep . After her greatest hit ¨Kramer vs Kramer¨ that pushed Meryl's career forward , she was impressed enough to work again with Benton and played this ¨Still of the night¨ , however , it resulted to be a flop . Stylish cinematography by a magnificent cameraman , the Spanish Nestor Almendros , Benton's usual and full of lights and darks .
The motion picture is professionally directed by Robert Benton but without originally and this flick turns out to be thinly spread . Texas director has a varied career as he was an editor of magazine , production designer , set decorator and has written a number of imaginative stories for children . He realized few movies even accounting for those in whose screenplays he wrote as ¨Bonnie and Clyde¨ , ¨There was a crooked man¨ , ¨What's up doc ?¨ , ¨Superman¨ and even ¨Still of the night¨ . His big hit as director was the weepie ¨Kramer vs Kramer¨ and won him the Oscar for writing and direction , the next was warm-hearted ¨Places in the heart¨ with basic human values and revealed his softer side . Following filmmaking the underrated ¨Nadine¨ , a comic-strip comedy with Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger . After that , he directed a gangster movie ¨Billy Bathgate¨ with Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman , ¨Nobody's fool¨ which won Paul Newman an Academy Award nomination and he worked again with Benton four years later on ¨Twilight¨ . ¨Still of the night¨ was a failure and turned out to be a flop at the box office . Rating : Average , 5,5 . Only for Meryl Streep fans .
"Still of the Night" is one of the more obscure entries in Meryl
Streep's filmography, even though it came out in 1982 in between two of
her greatest films, "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Sophie's
Choice". (Until it turned up recently on British television I had never
previously seen it or even heard of it). It is a psychological
thriller, directed by Robert Benton who had earlier directed Meryl in
"Kramer v Kramer". It has often been described as having been
influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, and one of the obvious
signs of this influence is the fact that the main character, like the
heroine of "Spellbound", is a psychiatrist. (Hitchcock was fascinated
by psychology and psychiatry, and often makes reference to them in his
Another Hitchcock touch is the idea of the "man in the street" who suddenly finds himself in trouble or in danger. When one of his patients is murdered Dr Sam Rice, a Manhattan psychiatrist, finds himself becoming emotionally involved with a young woman named Brooke Reynolds, who was not only a colleague of the dead man but also his mistress, and who is also a suspect in his murder. The plot is a complex one, involving Rice falling under suspicion with the police, who believe that he may be withholding evidence about the killing, and his placing himself in danger by his own attempts to solve the crime.
The film makes quite deliberate reference to a number of Hitchcock films. Besides the general psychiatric theme, there is also a dream sequence reminiscent of the one in "Spellbound". The appearance of a bird during this sequence is a reference to "The Birds" and possibly also to "Psycho", where Norman's hobby is stuffing birds. A fall from a bell tower recalls "Vertigo" and, as in "North by North West", there is a scene set in an auction room. (The murdered man, George Bynum, was a senior employee of an auction house). There are also scenes reminiscent of "Rear Window" and "Marnie". Jessica Tandy who plays Rice's mother (also a psychiatrist) appeared in "The Birds". Many of Hitchcock's films, including "Notorious", "Strangers on a Train" and "Psycho", feature a strong, dominant mother-figure.
Perhaps the most effective Hitchcock touch is the use of a trademark blonde heroine. Although this is far from being one of Meryl Streep's greatest films, she nevertheless gives a very accomplished performance as Brooke, portraying a woman who is clearly disturbed and frightened and who might just also be a psychopath, while leaving (as the conventions of the thriller genre require) that second point open to doubt. Had Meryl been twenty years older, she might have become one of the Master's great muses, along with the likes of Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly.
And yet any number of Hitchcock references do not in themselves make a Hitchcock film. "Still of the Night" falls along way short of the great man at his best, or even at his second-best. Roy Scheider does not make a very charismatic hero and, except perhaps in the final sequences, Benton never succeeds in generating the sort of nail-biting tension that Hitchcock was so skilled at conjuring up, even in some of his lesser films. Whereas Hitchcock could normally relieve that tension with some effective use of humour, "Still of the Night" is a pedestrian and humourless film, no more than an average eighties thriller. 5/10, largely for Streep's performance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First, the movie is quite short, yes it is a bit slow, especially in the beginning. Scheider is quite out of his action role niche here as a repressed psychiatrist smitten with Streep's Brooke who is fearful of whoever killed Schieder's patient, a womanizer. The movie has quite a few pop out scares, that even in the drive in, evoked eruptions of popcorn flying up in the air. Even when George's dream is being relayed to Tandy, Scheider's shrink mom, suddenly a pop out dove without warning. Also, when he is doing his laundry, someone is there, we hear them. The scene is quite suspenseful; it is not just at the end that this gets going very well. Yes, the Crispin's auction scene is drawn out a bit but before this the creepy following of Brooke, we think it's Brooke, in the park is well done. Freudianism was still quite in vogue and we spend a chunk of the picture on George's dream which contains the clue to his murderer. The pop out scares are replete through the movie, you know, steam blasts, sounds, I understand the above critics but this will scare you. Even the most vociferous critics acknowledge the excellent ending which will scare you, guaranteed. Scheider does well playing a quite introverted intellectual trying to redeem his failed marriage by discovering who murdered George.
His curiosity almost gets him killed several times during the movie. Besides the creepy laundry scene and the park there is him skulking about the Crispin's backstage area all in the dark, again, plenty of sounds and shadows to worry you. The above critics are correct if you go into this expecting Hitch or DePalma you will be disappointed. Take the film as it is believe me I am not a Robert Benton fan, I hated Nobody's Fool. Streep conveys vulnerability yet a touch of malevolence that will keep you guessing all through the movie as to whether she is the killer or not. One test of a good detective movie is how many in a living room of people guessed the killer; in my room, nobody figured it out though the person is right in front of you several times during the lead up to the scary ending. In contrast, Jagged Edge had half of my living room guessing correctly. Schneider and Streep carry the movie, don't be fooled by Tandy's name on the credits her role is just a couple of little scenes more of a cameo. The great old Josef Sommer, from Absence Of Malice, plays George but he is in just a little of the film.
The film is consistently shot at night: the walk in the park, the showdown at the ending, and even in Crispin's back-rooms it is full of shadows and darkness. The key to understanding what Benton is attempting to do here is at the beginning when Scheider listens to his wife ask him how he likes his new apartment since she is divorcing him. This inferiority drives his almost suicidal quest to redeem his wounded intellectual pride. The shortness makes it better to endure; the slowest parts are at the very beginning. If you leave or skip this part, you will overcome the temptation to turn it off. Yes, it did die a quick death at the box office but I have always enjoyed the two leads who give great performances. Is it an immortal classic? No but it is worth having in your collection most people have never seen it since it disappeared so quickly; the ending alone is worth the purchase. You will never think of the word 'jump' the same ever again. I enjoyed this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No director has been imitated more than Alfred Hitchcock, and Still Of
The Night is yet another in a seemingly endless line of homages to the
Master's work. After the gory excesses of suspense movies like Dressed
To Kill, it is quite nice to get back to a style of thriller-making
that is comparatively subtle. Still Of The Night doesn't particularly
rely on buckets of blood and graphic violence yet, thanks to skillful
direction, atmospheric music and clever writing, it is genuinely jumpy
from start to finish. Robert Benton, fresh from his Best Director Oscar
for Kramer Vs Kramer, has fashioned a very effective thriller in which
a few loose ends in the plotting are papered over with an air of
Psychiatrist Sam Rice (Roy Scheider)is going through a mid-life crisis and really only has his work to cling to in order to maintain a semblance of normality. Among Sam's patients is a guy named George Bynum (Josef Sommer), an antiques dealer, and it is the gruesome murder of George that plunges Sam into a life-threatening mystery. Shortly after the killing George's neurotic mistress Brooke Reynolds (Meryl Streep) turns up at Sam's practice seeking psychiatric help. With his own emotions hardly at their sharpest, Sam quickly finds himself drawn to his new patient.... but is he playing a dangerous game with his own life? Sam's mother, Grace (Jessica Tandy), warns him that he should not trust this alluring stranger. The detective investigating the earlier murder, Joe Vitucci (Joe Grifasi), points up evidence that may indicate Brooke is actually the killer. Sam is convinced that she is innocent, but as the mystery unravels he finds himself in increasingly perilous danger....
As in any good suspense movie, the solution is kept well-disguised until the very end. Benton delights in leading his audience up various blind alleys, adding layers to the mystery and generating constant tension about what will happen next. The actors are uniformly excellent: Scheider convincing as the weary shrink, Streep twitchy and suspicious as a potential killer, Grifasi likably plodding as the detective on the case, and Tandy brilliant (as always) as the hero's worried mother. The film is shot in grey, dull colours that link very nicely with the dreary dead-end state that Scheider's character has reached in his life. This low-key approach also heightens the film's suspense, placing the frightening events into an everyday context that everyone in the audience can relate to. With its 87 minute running time, the film sticks closely to what is necessary and doesn't get lost amidst tons of extraneous detail. The lapses in logic prevent Still Of The Night from being a truly outstanding movie, but on the whole it remains a solid and very commendable thriller. Those who like these kind of movies will, I'm sure, thoroughly enjoy this one.
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