While Nightfall won't change your life if is a solid piece of entertainment which Hollywood seem to toss off with so little effort back in 40's and 50's. It might have been just part of a standard double bill in 1957 but if it came out now it would be hailed as something special. Nightfall has more heart and soul than current fare like Drive. It doesn't have an untoward pretentious of being anything but what it is and that's plenty good enough for me.
The movie tells an interesting story in an interesting way. There are many of the usual Zombie movie devices but these are used to advance the story more than to provide scary moments. There is very creative use of graphics and animation and the sound track is quite effective. The sets and setting add a feeling of authenticity to the story. The acting is very fine indeed -- except perhaps for the token guest star Dee Wallace (on a side note, why do film makers insist on dropping in these supposedly "name" actors? I can't imagine Dee Wallace will put one extra bum in the theatre seat or video rental.) My only real complaint and the thing holding the movie back from a higher rating is that it is rather too slow. I generally enjoy a slow paced movie but there are some times that Exit Humanity is just a tad too languid.
So far I've just set things up and if you still want to watch it, go ahead and stop reading because here's the spoiler. Turns out the neighbours' hubby bought protection while in jail and now has to do a job for the criminal who are financing the race car for our unintelligible protagonist — like, what are the odds? So our nameless driver volunteers to do the driving but something goes wrong, or right, not sure because it's never explained. A second car shows up at the heist of a pawn shop in the valley and the neighbours better half is shot and the driver chased. The driver seeks refuge in a hotel where he grills the surviving heister about what the hell just happened. She doesn't seem to know. The rest of the show drags on with the minutia of exchanging the stolen money — a million dollars so you know that was no ordinary pawn shop — for the life of the neighbour.
Really, the whole thing could have been done in a half hour, the director has confused extreme nihilism and slow pace for something many of my fellow reviewers are calling art. The motivations are non-existent the characterizations facile. A fine cast is totally wasted. Poor Carey Mulligan, so wonderful in "An Education", has nothing to do in this movie. Three of my favourite TV actors, Bryan Cranson, Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman are shamefully under-utilized with Hendricks and Perlman barely having any screen time at all. Ryan Gosling plays the role with an embarrassed smirk on his face that seems to suggest he has just silently farted and is hoping no-one noticed.
For all the reviewers saying that this is a great film and people who disagree don't know movies, here's my problem — "Gone with the Wind" is IMDb rated at 8.2 and "Drive" is rated at 8.5
Our three heros -- it's weird seeing Zachary Scott as a hero -- are now kind of shiftless and looking for what to do next. Kennedy decides to join the Confederation and fight in the open. This is kind of different, the movie is set during the Civil War and one of the hero's decides to join the confederation and doesn't feel the need to talk about protecting his way of life. The union army might protect Contrell, but they don't like him much, and the commander offers to buy McCrea a drink after he beats up Contrell -- but McCrea don't drink with Yankees. McCrea and Scott get mixed up in gun running and take to the trade, blockade running guns from Mexico to the confederates.
The romantic sub-plot is that a saloon singer played by Alexis Smith has set her cap for McCrea and McCrea's gal, Dorothy Malone, has followed Kennedy into fighting the good fight as a nurse (the film just never really gets into the nitty gritty of the politics of the civil war). I found the romantic business, usually something of a drag in the avg McCrea feature, to be pretty interesting and not quite so ham handed as is often done.
The production values are not bad, the acting is pretty good, the story interesting and a little different. If you love westerns, and I presume you do if you've read this far, you could do a lot worse that this movie. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Kind of a spaghetti western type plot with the nameless drifter blowing into town and finding himself in the middle of a war. The Hobo soon finds himself on the radar of the vicious gang lord Drake and his sons when he stands up for the downtrodden towns folk and gets a brutal beat down. The whore with a heart of gold nurses him back to health and then it's pay bake with a vengeance. Classic themes well executed and above average acting and dialogue.
At first the town's people are solidly behind Ballard but gradually they come around to bow McCarty's assumed authority and turn against Ballard. This is done rather well, not nearly as heavy handedly as might be. Many reviewers have noted the similarity to "High Noon", it's sort of a "High Noon" in reverse. While that's mighty high company the comparison is not out of line and the wonderful direction of Allan Dwan makes up for the lower production values. This is a good story, well made and worth looking for.
So far the stories have been solid one offs letting us get to know the lay of the land and the main characters personalities. The show is set in New York and the city is taking an important role. Thank goodness the producers didn't go with the Toronto as stand in for major US city route. I love Toronto, but it always messes with my suspension of disbelief when a car cruises pass a major landmark like the Empire State Building and ends up on Yonge street.
We've been given heavy handed hints of the season's over arching story line -- the youngest Reagan is asked to infiltrate an inner circle of dirty cops called the Blue Templars. I've got a bad feeling about this one. Every time the story goes there it's just lame and brings reality crashing down with a discordant cacophony which jar this viewer out of the story line and makes him cringe.
All and all, however, the series looks very good and if they build on the strengths of the great cast and compelling characters they should have a fine run (once they get the Blue Templars out of the way).
You can't really rate or review something like this, you either love it and it's a 10 or you don't and it's a 1.
I remember watching it when I was five and it first came out. They interrupted an episode to bring the breaking news that JFK had been assassinated. I watched it with my kids when they we babies. I expect to watch it with my grandkids.
As has been pointed out, it was unbelievably cheap and cheesy. The stories were pathetic and the art childish. And they recycled the same 5 stories over and over and over. But when all is said and done, I just love it. I don't know why. I don't know why.
Just before the drive starts, as I watched the foreground action, I was thinking it didn't look like 5,000 cattle in the background. The foreground action was a little silly but it's Clark Gable and Robert Ryan so who can complain? Then Raoul Walsh starts putting it together close shot, long shot, cattle coming at you, cattle lumbering away from you, track shots, panning shots. These are not quick cuts trying to trick you into thinking you're seeing something you're not; these are slow cuts beautifully and artistically assembled to give you the breadth and scope required to understand what an undertaking this is going to be. Dozens of vaqueros, several supply wagons, a herd of extra horses, and all those long horn cattle! Really breath taking stuff. At several times I paused the film and every time it looks like a perfectly balanced painting of the old west was on screen.
There's a silly romance and trumped up rivalry that doesn't interfere with the real story too much -- and after all, it's Gable and Ryan so it's not painful or embarrassing at all. There's a wonderful line by the Ryan character about the Gable character that goes, "He's what every boy thinks he's going to be when he grows up and wishes he had been when he's an old man." Ryan delivers with such an understated honesty that you truly believe his character would say it and about Gable it would be true.
I highly recommend this movie and strongly urge you try to see the wide screen version. While you're being swept along by the story elements, give a thought to the master artist, Raoul Walsh. While singing the praises of John Ford, I always save a chorus for Walsh.