Sunday, 6 September 2020

Nothing But the Night

Nothing But the Night christopher lee peter cushing
Made in 1973 'Nothing But the Night' was the sole production from Christopher Lee's Charlemagne production company for which he roped in the talents of his friend Peter Cushing and various other familiar faces of the time such as Diana Dors, Keith Barron and Fulton Mackay and 'Doomwatch' and 'The Stone Tape' director Peter Sasdy.

Lee plays retired policeman Colonel Bingham who is reinstated to the force to investigate the deaths of various wealthy members of the board of trustees of a Scottish orphanage.  His investigations soon focus on 'Mary' (played by Gwyneth Strong later to be better known as Cassandra in 'Only Fools and Horses') the sole survivor of a bus crash that has killed 3 more trustees and her mad as a hatter mother played by Diana Dors who was never the greatest actress and here is way out of her depth gnawing on every available piece of scenery and, not her fault I know but, if you watch closely you'll notice while fleeing the police on the island she hides under the same bush twice which always makes me chuckle.

Nothing but the Night Christopher Lee Peter Cushing
The end result is unfortunately a bit of a mess with the film suffering under a miniscule budget, underwhelming characters - Lee in particular seems unable to invest any actual life into his role perhaps as a result of the producer responsibilities hanging over him - and a script in desperate need of a rewrite.  In his career Sasdy made some great work but he did have a tendency for sluggish pacing in his movies and such is the case here and frankly there are too many red herrings and scenes that in retrospect just make no sense and at the end alongside the who, the what and the why we are never given a satisfying how and so are left with a somewhat unfulfilling but shockingly brutal ending.

'Nothing But the Night' has a poor legacy and, in truth it's one that is well deserved, but equally it's always fun to see the two greats together and we can only lament what could have been and chalk this up as an intriguing failure and in its finale see a premonition of the greatness to come in Lee's next movie.

Buy it here - UK /  US - or watch it below.





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