So Dark the Night (1946)

SO DARK THE NIGHT (1946)
Article #1239 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-5-2004
Posting Date: 1-2-2005
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Featuring Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel, Eugene Borden

A famous detective from Paris falls in love with a country girl while out on a holiday, but she has a jealous boyfriend. Nonetheless, he becomes engaged to her. Then the girl vanishes the night of the engagement party and later shows up dead.

There are some plot twists that are indelible; once they’ve been used in one story, they ingrain themselves in your memory, and if you should encounter another story using the same twist, you can see it coming a mile away. This explains why it was that at the halfway point of this movie, I knew exactly what the twist was going to be.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with the twist in question, this movie should work for you just fine. But if you are familiar with it…well, in my case, the movie worked just fine anyway. I think that’s because the characters are so charmingly developed and brought to life (by a cast of largely unknown actors), that even when you see the twist coming, you still care about the characters enough to wonder what will happen afterwards. It’s also very nicely directed, with some fascinating visual moments and some creative use of lighting. The fantastic aspects are mild, but I can’t really go into much detail about them for fear that they will give away too much, so I’ll just say that madness plays a role in the proceedings. In some ways, this little b-movie does its job so well, that I really have very few complaints. It’s definitely worth a look.

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