Aldo Ray is a mere marionette of an actor in Jacques Tourneur‘s Nightfall (1957) and Anne Bancroft provides little personality in her role.  But the film itself is a knockout, finely directed and savvily adapted from a novel by screenwriter Stirling Silliphant.  It tells of a free-lance artist (Ray) erroneously believed by murderers—and a possible policeman—to have made off with the evildoers’ loot.

There is nothing of a marionette in Brian Keith; he is disturbingly human, engrossingly true as John, one of the killer-crooks.  His character leaves the impression that he should have been a good man.  Thanks to Tourneur, there is a nifty scene inside and outside a shack which emphasizes John’s estrangement, all firearms raised, from his fellow murderer (slimy and played by Rudy Bond).

Nightfall (1957 film)

Nightfall (1957 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)