Combustible Celluloid
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With: Aldo Ray, Brian Keith, Anne Bancroft, Jocelyn Brando, James Gregory, Frank Albertson, Rudy Bond
Written by: Stirling Silliphant, based on a story by David Goodis
Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 78
Date: 01/23/1957

Nightfall (1957)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Thaw Deal

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In this no-longer-rare "B" film by the great Jacques Tourneur, Aldo Ray plays a mysterious commercial artist who is being tailed by an insurance investigator (James Gregory). He meets a pretty girl (Anne Bancroft) in a bar just before two thugs (Brian Keith and Rudy Bond) approach and pick him up.

Eventually, we learn through several carefully placed flashbacks, just who is the hero and who's the bad guy and who's working for whom. Everything comes down to a bag of stolen money, lost in the snow; everyone is waiting for the spring thaw to go back and retrieve it.

Subsequently, Tourneur manages to shoot outdoors for large portions of the film, in broad daylight and in the snow, which is a rare setting for a film noir.

Based on a story by David Goodis (Dark Passage, Shoot the Piano Player, Street of No Return), the narrative takes a few odd short cuts here and there, but Tourneur nonetheless fills the 79-minute wonder with some of his most gorgeous compositions.

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