7.2/10
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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:

YOU COULD GO TO THE MOVIES EVERY DAY FOR FIVE YEARS---BEFORE YOU'D SEE ANOTHER PICTURE WITH SO MANY THRILLS AND SO MUCH SUSPENSE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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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

James Vanning: Guys have probably been swarming around you since your second teeth came through. Maybe you're disillusioned. I don't know, but I don't think to point where you're ready to throw all men aside.
[after a pause]
James Vanning: Do I hear a click?
Marie Gardner: Yes.
James Vanning: I'd like to skip all the jockeying around. It saves a lot of grief later on.
Marie Gardner: What makes you think there's going to be a later on?
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
Music heard on bus rider's radio
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Chance and coincidence in one terrific film noir
15 January 2003 | by KalamanSee all my reviews

Although it is far from a masterpiece, "Nightfall", a low-budget film noir (stunningly photographed by Burnett Guffey), is one of Jacques Tourneur's finest films. What amazed me about "Nightfall" was the way it resembles Tourneur's previous films in its depiction of chance and coincidence. The similarity to "Out of the Past" (the duality between past and present, city and country, the use of flashbacks) is somewhat obvious. But consider the opening chance encounter between Vanning (Aldo Ray) and Marie (Anne Bancroft). It recalls the similar (though different) chance meetings between Irena and Oliver at the zoo in Tourneur's "Cat People"(1942), and Dr. Bailey and Cissie on the train at the beginning of "Experiment Perilous"(1944). If you watch it closely at the opening scenes, Marie's seat beside Vanning at the bar is empty BEFORE she appears. So, we expect the seat to be filled. I didn't notice it when I first saw the film, but critic Chris Fujiwara's observations in his splendid book, JACQUES TOURNEUR:THE CINEMA OF NIGHTFALL, were immensely helpful. Fujiwara adroitly notes, "Throughout Nightfall, chance and unconscious processes determine key events. Tourneur's standard procedure of showing the effect before the cause underlies the inexplicability of these events, their fantastic nature".


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