Watch: Dead of Night 1945 123movies, Full Movie Online – Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns), seeking the possibility of some work at a country farmhouse, soon finds himself once again stuck in his recurring nightmare. Dreading the end of the dream that he knows is coming, he must first listen to all the assembled guests’ own bizarre tales..
Plot: Architect Walter Craig, seeking the possibility of some work at a country farmhouse, soon finds himself once again stuck in his recurring nightmare. Dreading the end of the dream that he knows is coming, he must first listen to all the assembled guests’ own bizarre tales.
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|N/A Votes: 206 Popularity: 7.478 | TMDB|
The original omnibus is nothing short of amazing
Ealing studios’ only foray into the horror genre resulted in a fine film indeed. Ealing studios are, of course, best known for their eloquent and inventive comedy, of which I am a big fan, but this effort certainly proves them worthy of creating hits in other genres, and it’s a shame that they didn’t make more horror. Dead of Night is often cited as being the first ‘omnibus’ style horror film (a style that would later be rekindled in the 60’s by Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath”), and that is another thing that this film will be fondly remembered for, aside from it being a damn fine movie.
Like many later omnibus style horror movies, the tales in this one aren’t all as great as each other – but unlike many, it doesn’t feature any weak links either. The first two tales are simple, yet effective ghost stories that tell stories that would later go on to influence entire movies in an efficient manner. I’m not a big fan of ghost stories as they tend to drag out something that could easily be told in half the time; but here that isn’t a problem as the tales are short and therefore the film doesn’t have to clog up it’s running time with lots and lots of dreary back-building to try and make the stories work. Our scene opens with an architect, called Walter Craig, arriving at a house where he has a promise of some work; only to find that the situation he finds himself in resembles that of a recurring nightmare he’s been suffering with. We later discover that he’s been the victim of some ghostly goings on, and he tells us this through his story of a hearse driver that has warned him of his death. The first tale isn’t all that impressive, but it prepares the audience for a quadruple helping of lovely little ghost stories nicely.
As mentioned, the second tale isn’t all that impressive either, but it’s still rather decent and a damn sight more chilling than the likes of ‘The Sixth Sense’. It’s after the first two stories that the film really picks up, and the third tale is an absolute delight. It tells the story of a woman that buys a mirror as a present for her fiancé, only to find that the mirror once belonged to a lord that slowly a drove himself insane; a fate that promises to befall her fiancé also. This tale works thanks to simplicity and constant intrigue. Nothing is over the top about it, and we’re fed information very much on a ‘need to know’ basis; and because the tale is so intriguing, we very much want to know. The film then takes a turn more towards what Ealing would become famous for with the golfing tale. This one is a departure from the others are there’s much more comedy involved, and it doesn’t concentrate on scaring the audience at all. It’s then that we’re catapulted into the movie’s showpiece tale; the absolutely magnificent ‘The Ventriloquist’s Dummy’. This tale is nothing short of perfect and features of the most frightening, yet underused articles of horror imagery in history – of course I mean the dummy itself. This tale actually manages to be quite frightening through it’s use of atmosphere and the way that the dummy is used. It works on both a straight horror and a psychological level.
Dead of Night breathes that familiar Ealing style, as words such as ‘besmirch’ and ‘crackers’ are used often and it’s all very British. This film represents how jaded modern audiences have become with it’s tales that work due to simplicity rather than over the top scares or special effects. The style of the movie is a delight to view, and despite being a horror movie; the eloquent edge blends well with it. Dead of Night is often cited as one of the films that helped to create what would become the modern horror movie, and that alone is reason enough to see it. When you consider that the film is also a damn fine horror in itself, you’ve got a must see.
Ealing’s finest, but I would say that. Wouldn’t I? But I would say that …
First time I saw it was in the middle of a long Ealing season on UK BBC2 in 1977, needless to relate the overall quality of all of the films shown were mind-boggling but for me Dead of Night stood out. I’ve always considered DON to be their best effort, and also still the spookiest film ever made by anyone anywhere. And really, it’ll never be surpassed because horror films have generally moved on into the land of shock and gore and jettisoned atmosphere and story.
The biggest problem has been since highly combustible nitrate film went out of favour around 1950 the use of the soulless safety film stock, now gradually being succeeded in its turn by equally soulless digital no-film-at-all. Film-makers have had to work harder to achieve any kind of atmosphere at all whereas with use of nitrate stock even b films effortlessly displayed one. Compare Cat People to Creature from the Black Lagoon. Class A Dead of Night reeks of spookiness, of “horror to come”, and this is even with the clipped BBC British accents of the main characters that could be and probably is derided nowadays. Even American Hartley Power spoke posher than usual. Auric’s growly lumpy orchestral music helps of course and along with a poor quality soundtrack generates even more menace – even when Mervyn Johns has his (unintentional) slow-motion cigarette at the “end” and you know what’s happening. However I presume the censor couldn’t work it out as a ghastly motiveless murder is committed and goes unpunished!
Maybe not the best film ever made overall, certainly the best compendium film ever made, one that you can watch every few years and still wallow in with the same frisson as the first time.
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 43 min (103 min), 1 hr 17 min (77 min) (USA), 1 hr 35 min (95 min) (Germany)
Genre Drama, Horror
Director Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden
Writer John Baines, Angus MacPhail, T.E.B. Clarke
Actors Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver
Country United Kingdom
Awards 1 win & 2 nominations
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Mono (RCA)
Aspect Ratio 1.37 : 1
Film Length 2,865.4 m (10 reels) (UK)
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm