The Night of the Following Day (1968)

THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY (1968)
Article #1456 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-10-2005
Posting Date: 8-7-2005
Directed by Hubert Cornfield
Featuring Marlon Brando, Richard Boone, Rita Moreno

The daughter of a millionaire is kidnapped and held for ransom by four people whose plans start to unravel when their own issues get in the way.

Had I missed the last two minutes of this movie, I would have guessed that the only fantastic content to be found here was in the madness of Richard Boone’s character; his sadistic psycho (called Leer) is also one of the most memorable things in the movie, and nudges the movie slightly in the direction of horror. Still, this would have done little more than place the movie in the realm of marginalia. However, the last two minutes of the movie throws in a bizarre plot twist, and though it is open to several interpretations, the possibility that precognition is one of them does open the door to a certain fantastic interpretation of the events. Still, whatever the correct interpretation is, I’m not sure I like the final twist; it comes as a surprise, but it’s been done before. I can think of three movies that pull the same trick, and one of them is truly awful. I wish I could elaborate more, but that would mean giving away the end of the movie. However, if you’ve seen movies like INNER SANCTUM, you’ll know what to expect.

On its own terms, the movie is not bad, but it never really comes to life either. It walks a line between character study and suspense, and though it’s moderately successful in both counts, it never becomes compelling. In fact, the repetitive encounters that the kidnappers have with a law enforcement officer seem more comic than anything else, and I don’t think that was the effect the movie was looking for. At any rate, Brando was not happy with Hubert Cornfield’s direction, and had Richard Boone direct some of the final scenes.

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