Till Dawn Do Us Part (1972)

aka Straight on Till Morning
Article 3055 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-18-2009
Posting Date: 12-25-2009
Directed by Peter Collinson
Featuring Rita Tushingham, Shane Briant, James Bolam
Country: UK
What it is: Offbeat Hammer psychothriller

A plain young woman dreams that her life can become like the fairy tales she writes. She leaves home and goes to live in London to find the man of her dreams. She is eventually drawn to a young man who lives in a big house and who has a Peter Pan infatuation, and she moves in. But the man is not sane…

The first part of this movie uses a lot of jagged fast-paced editing which makes it a little difficult (though far from impossible) to get to know the characters and their situations. This is surprisingly effective, because it puts the viewer on edge despite the fact that it takes a while for the thriller aspects to really manifest themselves. The story is highly character-driven, and the movie takes the time to establish and develop those characters. Rita Tushingham is excellent as the neurotic, fragile woman who is drawn into the web of a man who she doesn’t even recognize as a threat because their respective fantasy fixations dovetail so neatly. The movie eventually settles down into a more straightforward style, and the story almost becomes predictable, but it still has some surprises even after this point. The movie does turn the screws very nicely, and it makes the psychosis of Shane Briant’s character seem real. My biggest problem with the movie is the ambiguously downbeat ending; we’ve become so attached to the central female character that it’s unsatisfying for it to end this way. Incidentally, the title that I watched this under is obviously one of those that have been tacked on for a video release of some sort; the freeze-frame and cheesy graphics when it appears are a dead giveaway. I much prefer the original title, STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING, which will become quiet clear once the Peter Pan references start to crop up. All in all, this is an interesting if really odd movie from Hammer.


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