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So Dark The Night Blu-ray Review

dark

“So Dark The Night” is an underappreciated film noir.

For those that know the film noir genre inside and out, allow me to introduce you to “So Dark The Night.” While there are familiar tropes to be sure, this fast paced 1946 film does not play out like your standard film noir. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis (best known for other noir gems like “The Big Combo” and “Gun Crazy”), “So Dark The Night” starts out as a rather cheery film as a famous aging Paris Detective (Henri Cassin) is finally taking a much needed vacation (his first in 11 years) to the countryside. Upon arrival, he falls for the innkeeper’s young daughter (Nanette). Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Cassin, she is already engaged to a man named Leon. As Cassin is crushed by this revelation, things take a DARK turn when murders begin happening around him. Cassin takes the case on but as the situation escalates, Cassin begins to lose it. Can the killer be found?

Reviewing “So Dark The Night” is a tough task because I want to delve into spoilers. However, that would be unfair to those who have yet to experience this overlooked film noir. What I will say is that the script by Dwight V. Babcock and Martin Berkeley (which is based off of a story by Audrey Wisberg) is a refreshing change of pace for the film noir genre. Not only are the tonal shifts well integrated into the story, but the story itself has some really intriguing psychological twists and turns. Additionally, I appreciated seeing a classic film noir story that digs into a Detective’s personal life off the job. We’re always so accustomed to seeing a Detective land in hot water on the job. That’s not the case here. Again, I could say more, but I won’t.

As tends to be the case with any film noir, the film is handsomely shot and has a real sense of place. Cinematographer Burnett Guffey and Joseph H. Lewis truly excel at establishing the settings and creating an atmosphere.

“So Dark The Night” is largely comrpised of supporting characters (and character actors), but star Steven Geray (who plays Henri Cassin) gives quite a layered performance. He really goes to town with the character arc he is given.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The disc’s 2K restoration offers up a crisp B&W transfer of the film.

Audio Track: Uncompressed PCM Mono. How does it sound? A pleasant cleaned up Mono track that is sure to please fans.

Extras:
* A booklet containing credits and an essay by critic David Cairns.
* “So Dark The Night” trailer
* “A Dark Place: Joseph H. Lewis At Columbia”- A 20 minute interview with author Imogen Sara Smith who talks about this underrated film.
* Commentary by critics Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme. Nice to see a track that isn’t just scripted factoids.

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January 27, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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