Dead of Night (1945)

Article #175 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-7-2001
Posting date: 1-21-2002

An architect looking for work at a country home discovers that he recognizes the faces of everyone there from a dream he had. He doesn’t remember the dream clearly, but he knows that it ends with him killing someone.

This British film isn’t the first horror anthology movie, but it’s probably the most famous early one. Four different directors handled the five stories (and the linking story), but they’re all smoothly integrated with each other. When it was first released in the U.S., the golfing story was cut to make the film shorter, and it was probably the only segment that could have been removed without damaging the story, as it was probably the only one (within the framework of the movie) that was apocryphal, and plays no part in the final nightmarish sequence in the linking story. I’m really not a big fan of anthology movies; generally, I like to have the horror built up over the length of one complete story, but this one is very good, especially the ventriloquist dummy sequence starring Michael Redgrave, which is one of my favorite takes on the theme. In fact, I quite like all the stories, even the golfing one. And even though the ending is one of those that would usually garner a Rubber Brick award from me, in this case, it’s probably the best and most logical ending that this movie could have. The movie also features Mervyn John as the architect.

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