Friday, March 7, 2008

Aldo Ray, redux

I briefly mentioned Aldo Ray when TCM aired Pat and Mike several weeks back. Aldo Ray returns to get a starring role, in Nightfall, airing March 8 at 8:30 AM ET on TCM. In this movie, Ray stars as a man with a bit of a past: while he was hunting with a friend (played by Frank Albertson), a pair of bank robbers showed up with $350,000, but due to a snafu, Albertson gets killed, and Ray runs off with the money bag, dropping it in the snow by Ray with the robbers hot on his heels. Now, he's in Los Angeles, and the robbers want to know where their money is. The $350,000, of course, would be
Under the Big W
buried under the big "W". Er, not that big W; instead, the money bag is somewhere in the snow in Wyoming, not far from where Ray and Albertson were hunting. But the only thing is, thanks to all that snow, the roads are impassable, so Ray is playing a waiting game, waiting for the snow to melt while simultaneously trying to avoid the bank robbers. Oh, and there's a detective on his trail, too....

While escaping from the robbers, Ray hides in the apartment of Anne Bancroft, here playing a lovely young model. What this unfortunately means for her is that she's in danger too, eventually being forced to join Ray on the run.

Nightfall is, at 79 minutes, a fairly short movie, and one less action than you might think: although Ray is on the run, the scenes with Bancroft are surpringly quiet; especially one scene where she's on the job modeling clothes and discovers that the robbers have spotted her, forcing her to make an escape in a designer gown. Eventually, we do get some excitment once everybody gets to Wyoming at the beginning of spring, but even here the action is understated. And yet, that works for this movie. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, who might be best knwon for the horror classics he made for Val Lewton such as Cat People, Nightfall is a little gem that deserves more exposure than the cast of relatively less prestigious stars (not counting Bancroft) would imply.

Sadly, Nightfall is not available on DVD.

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