7.2/10
2,233
47 user 30 critic

Nightfall (1956)

Through a series of bizarre coincidences artist finds himself falsely accused of bank robbery and murder and is pursued by the authorities and the real killers.

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Writers:

Stirling Silliphant (screen play), David Goodis (from the novel by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aldo Ray ... James Vanning
Brian Keith ... John
Anne Bancroft ... Marie Gardner
Jocelyn Brando ... Laura Fraser
James Gregory ... Ben Fraser
Frank Albertson ... Dr. Edward Gurston
Rudy Bond Rudy Bond ... Red
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Storyline

There is money missing from a bank job, an attractive model, an insurance investigator, and two extremely dangerous thugs. James Vanning (Aldo Ray) portrays an innocent man on the run, being pursued by the criminals who stupidly misplaced their take from the crime and think he has it or knows where it is hidden. Add model Marie Gardner (Anne Bancroft) who crossed paths with nice guy Vanning, while he is on the run. This all adds up to a thriller wherein the viewer is drawn into the story and becomes part of the drama. When Marie says "things that really happen are difficult to explain" it captures the theme of this film. A nice girl helps a nice guy, who is innocent and is drawn into the drama. As tension mounts she says: "I am always meeting the wrong man, and it leads to doomed relationships." Marie inadvertently leads Vanning into the hands of the villains. However, she is a pseudo-femme fatale, innocently involved in the intrigue and, like the viewer, is gradually drawn into the ... Written by Noir-Fan-en-Suisse

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sheer Terror...and Rapture! See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

9 November 1956 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Maleta Fatídica See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Copa Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Listed by author James Ellroy as one of his favorite Los Angles set noir films along with Tge Prowler, Crimewave, and Murder by Contract. See more »

Goofs

At the camp, when James Vanning (Aldo Ray) sees the speeding car, he says, "It's going to go over!" Even though the car is basically going down a straight road in a fairly straight line (no evidence of driving crazy enough to go off the road). Immediately afterward, the car brakes and swerves hard to the right and drives off the road. Something no one could have seen or anticipated until it happened. See more »

Quotes

Marie Gardner: [after they glance at each other a couple of times] What would you think if I asked you to loan me five dollars?
Marie Gardner: [after some silence he smiles and picks up his drink] That's what I thought.
James Vanning: What makes you think I've got five?
Marie Gardner: You smell like you just came from a barber shop. A man doesn't go to the barber shop when he's down and out.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder of a Cat (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano at the restaurant
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Despite some story gaps, a first-rate suspenser...
8 March 2008 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

David Goodis' pulpy novel becomes exciting, well-cast and acted crime-drama, peculiarly titled since most of the action takes place in the snow-covered mountains of Wyoming (perhaps "Snowfall" would've been more apropos). Two innocent campers run violently afoul of two trigger-happy bank-robbers, with 350 G's getting lost in the frost. Hollywood never quite knew what to do with Aldo Ray: polite and beaming (like an overgrown Boy Scout), Ray's ingratiating manner and wobbly, scratchy voice made him difficult to type-cast in the 1950s. He's just right here, playing tough guy up against cold-hearted Brian Keith and buddy/big brother/love-interest to model Anne Bancroft, who gets caught in this crime web and yet doesn't seem to mind. Despite a sluggish start and a few details that don't come together (such as why the crooks' car runs off the road in Wyoming, or why the two bank-robbers don't follow Aldo Ray when he runs through the river with the satchel of loot), director Jacques Tourneur handles the criss-crossing plot with buttery ease. Add in some amusing parallels to the later "Fargo" and you've got the makings of a cult classic, one that Columbia Pictures rarely revives. *** from ****


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