Night Must Fall (1964)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

This remake of Night Must Fall is effective but somewhat awkward. Whereas the original kept the audience guessing as to whether Danny was the killer, this version shows the viewer right from the start (and in somewhat shocking detail) that the character is a murderous psychopath. Presumably, this means that this Night will have a different focus, probably one that concentrates more on the psychological underpinnings that drive this disturbed individual; in fact, there's no real new psychological depth added. Without this, the film has to resort to blatant manipulation to sustain the suspense. That it does so is a credit to director Karel Reisz and star Albert Finney, as well as to cinematographer Freddie Francis, whose exemplary camerawork is crucial to the film's effectiveness. Still, the strain does show and prevents Night from being the much better film that it could have been. Even Finney's captivating, beguiling performance becomes a bit forced after a while, although the actor never runs out of tricks. He's more fortunate in that respect than Susan Hampshire, who can't quite get a handle on a part that no longer makes a great deal of sense. Perhaps too influenced by Psycho, Night Must Fall is no classic, but does deliver its share of chills.