Saturday, June 7, 2014

NIGHT MUST FALL - Ron Grainer - "I'd Like You To Go Away" (1964)

Well, I finally have to admit, after almost 7 years of doing this, I never knew how many freakin' strange movies there were out there, and tonight's Saturday Night Special falls right smack dab in the middle of that field, so without further delay, welcome aboard the good ship "Krazy Train," next stop Weirdsville!!

"Night Must Fall" is a Brit movie filmed in the year 1964! The referenced genres on IMDB are 'Crime' and 'Thriller." I'm thinking 'Psycho' and/or 'Whack Job" would be much more fitting descriptions!

This is a 28 year olde Albert Finney as suave but insincere nutjob Danny! Albert Finney is not a name you would normally associate with the word psycho, so that's probably what makes him so good at it! Danny has some serious mental problems, and the makers of this movie don't mind telling you about it straight out of the box! Nothing is absolutely etched into concrete, but the opening scenes show Danny running through the forest and cavorting with a hatchet and what appears to be a body that he disposes of in a shallow pond!

Danny has come to visit his girlfriend Dora, and meet the olde lady she works for, because Dora is in a Motherly kind of way! Dora is played by Sheila Hancock who has a long and varied career that includes being in John Lennon's "How I Won The War!"  For a while in the early 70's, she had her own 30 minute sitcom called "But Seriously, It's Sheila Hancock!" She was Helen A. in three episodes of "Dr. Who," and that just scratches the surface! She is also still working to this day! Since they don't ever try and explain it, I'm just going to suggest that possibly Tommy Roe's hit song "Sheila" has something to do with Danny's mental state, and I quote, "Never knew a girl, like a little Sheila, her name drives me insane!"

This is Dora's Boss, Mona Washbourne as Mrs. Bramson! "Hey, Hey Mona's" face should look familiar to any followers of Pop Culture because of movies like "The Brides Of Dracula," "Ferry Cross The Mersey," "The Collector," "Mrs. Brown You Have A Lovely Daughter," "The Bed Sitting Room," and "O Lucky Man!"

 So anyway, Danny weasels his way into the Bramson home by sweet-talkin' Mrs. Bramson, and lying out his rear about everything from his family to his decorating skills, so she lets him move in for a while to do some work for her! This is about how far he gets in one room before he gets bored!

Time for Danny to start showing his true colours! In a somewhat friendly manner, he forces himself into the room of Susan Hampshire as Mrs Bramson's daughter Olivia! She's not pleased by it, and asks him to leave repeatedly! From "Expresso Bongo," to being an uncredited dancer at a disco in The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," this three time Emmy winner has been a staple on British TV for the last 40 years! Also, this is the scene with the coolest music of the film in it, so here's just a taste of what it sounds like when "Night Must Fall!" The swingin' Ron Grainer was the composer, and another staple of British TV who created music for "The Prisoner," and the theme song for "Dr. Who," that has been used in over 650 episodes!

Albert Finney plays Danny to perfection, and it's a good thing, because he's the main character on the screen probably about 60% of the time! He's got lots of twisted looks!!

It's kind of weird, but more than once, when he puts on this big grin, Danny looks like either a ventriloquist's dummy or a marionette that might have been Howdy Doody's evil cousin!

Oh, Yes, and then there's the 'what's in the mysterious basket he keeps in his room' scene! Without the cinematography by the brilliant Freddie Francis, this film would have undoubtedly been less interesting!

Since she's pregnant, Dora is really concerned about when they're going to tie the not, Danny less so! He's got other things on his mind, and he doesn't even know what they are!

Olivia's boyfriend was a real loser, so she tells him to bug off! Later, she gets roughed up a little by Danny, and after they have some fun time together, she ends up falling for him!

The local authorities dredge the lake adjacent to the Bramson estate, and eventually find the headless body!

This guy could really use some help! Danny is plagued by a horde of uncategorized demons!

Olivia needs to get away for a while and seeks solace in town at the local movie theatre! I love the guy sleeping in the background!!

Mrs. Bramson just loves Danny to death,  because he reads to her, and pushes her around the garden in her wheelchair, and plays with her, and makes her laugh! Right here, she's about to get whacked in the head by a pillow balanced on the top of the door!

But Mrs. Bramsom is olde, and she gets tired after 20 or 30 minutes, but Danny doesn't want to stop playing, and...................

.................................Something snaps!!!!!!!!!!!

And that's it for Mrs. Bramson, there's no secrets, no hidden agendas, just good olde fashioned madness!

Albert Finney does a terrific job, and I just can't stop thinking about what a great couple Danny and Catherine Deneuve's character Carol in "Repulsion" would make! Now that's a movie somebody should write! Which one would go madder sooner and kill the other one? I think it sounds like a marriage made in heaven!!


Greg Goodsell said...

I must check this one out! Love Finney!

Douglas McEwan said...

Night Must Fall is, of course, a remake of a 1937 movie starring Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell and Dame May Whitty, which in turn was based on a famous stage play by Emlyn Williams, written as a vehicle for himself. In the play and first movie, it's a hatbox he carries around, dripping - let's say - mystery.

Eegah!! said...

Indeed it is Douglas! Thanx for the extra details I'm too lazy to write!

Douglas McEwan said...

The original movie of Night Must Fall is on TCM this coming Thursday.

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