Nightfall (1956) and Aldo Ray Recommends?

Aldo Ray Men In War Nightfall
Sergeant Montana in Men In War

This is the second film I’ve seen with Aldo Ray in the last few months and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of him before. The first was Men In War (1957) with Robert Ryan.  He played a Sergeant called Montana who was looking after a battle worn, shell shocked officer known only as The Colonel. Aldo Ray’s performance really stood out in film, he came across as a strong willed maverick but also filled with passion and kindness as he cared for his Colonel. Intrigued to see more from Aldo I stumbled upon Nightfall.

Tagline – THE BLACK BAG…with $350,000 in loot! THE BLACK DRESS…with a beautiful pick-up girl inside! THE BLACK NIGHT…made for lovers…and killers!

Nightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray film noir

Nightfall is an excellent suspenseful film noir drama which races along at a cracking pace, not adding any fluff to its short runtime of just under an hour and twenty minutes. Our star and hero Aldo plays James Vanning a graphic design artist who has a story to tell as he wanders around the city with a heavy heart.

Nightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray film noir Anne Bancroft

He’s been involved in a murder and accused of a bank robbery which resulted in the disappearance of the cash. He finds himself on the run as he is hunted not only by two psychotic gangsters, John (Brian Keith) and Red (Rudy Bond) but he’s also being tracked by an insurance investigator called Ben Fraser (James Gregory).

Nightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray film noir James GregoryNightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray film noir Rudy Bond Brian Keith

Losing himself in the bars of the city he meets a young lady called Marie Gardner (Anne Bancroft) who fills the film noir femme fatale role. Can James Vanning find a way out of all this mess? Can anyone be trusted? Can he escape from those dastardly thugs? It’s well worth seeking out for a watch or have you seen it? What did you think?

Nightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray film noir intro credit titles

What striked me again with Aldo Ray was with character’s portrayal, with his kind gentle nature even through his big stocky frame. Not sure how I had missed this actor before but its great to be catching up with his films now.

So what the hell happened?

Looking through his filmography I couldn’t help but notice things look like they just fell apart for him after the mid 60’s with a ton of dodgy B-movies. Have to say the titles are amazing and I’m intrigued to check some of these out, like The Dynamite Brothers (1974) Suicide Commandos (1968) Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) Psychic Killer (1975) The Man Who Would Not Die (1975) The Lucifer Complex (1978) and even a Western Adult film! called Sweet Savage (1979.

We're No Angels (1955) aldo ray

I’ve been recommended We’re No Angels (1955) with Peter Ustinov and Humphrey Bogart which sounds much fun but what else should I be looking out for?

Movies are ace, keep on viewing.  Mikey Wolfman.

The Lineup (1958) – Psychos & Innocent Drug Trafficking Noir

The Lineup (1958) - poster cover image dvd cinema vhs

Director Don Siegel is a legend who dropped incredible movies on us from all angles. With so many starring that man Clint Eastwood it’s no wonder they feature high on my teenage watch list.  From Coogan’s Bluff to the iconic Dirty Harry. Then there’s The Beguiled to the delightful Two Mules for Sister Sara and the awesome Charlie Varrick (what no Clint?) to name a few.

But apart from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in 1956 I haven’t seen any of Don Siegel’s 40’s or 50’s output. Please fire in the recommendations to put me on the right path because if The Lineup from 1958 is anything to go by for more quality from this amazing talent then I need to see them.

The Lineup (1958) - Eli Wallach Dancer Robert Keith Julian hit men

A shadow kingpin gangster uses innocent overseas travelers to unknowingly transport heroin into country. Hiring two psychopathic killers to pick up the merchandise and drop the drugs at a busy public arena.

Right from the get-go the carnage begins to cover the streets as two seasoned cops take up the case to find out what the hell is going on and finding themselves always one step behind the bad guys.

The Lineup (1958) - cops Lieutenant Ben Guthrie Inspector Al Quine

The film is a real rollercoaster ride throughout the streets of San Francisco and features excellent action scenes which include an edge of your seat car chase which is handled with much pace and gusto.

Adding to the suspense is some truly wonderful banter between our two very different heroes and baddies. With top marks going to Dancer played by (Eli Wallach) who was like the father to Joe Pesci‘s Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, intelligent, unhinged and ready to blow at any given moment.

The Lineup (1958) - bellboys on line up suspects police

He’s not alone in the psycho stakes, as Dancer is being coached by an elderly hitman guru called Julian (Robert Keith) a man who loves nothing more than to keep a note in his diary of the last dying words of his victims. They make a twisted dark dastardly duo.

The Lineup (1958) - the cop car chase is on

The two cops on the hunt are Lieutenant Ben Guthrie (Warner Anderson) and Inspector Al Quine (Emile Meyer). Seasoned professionals with a lot of respect for each other and drop some wonderful dialogue.

Lt. Ben Guthrie – “Jenkins certainly had a great spot here for a Halloween party.”
Insp. Al Quine – “Yeah, no self-respectin’ witch would bring a broom into this trap.”

The Lineup (1958) - Eli Wallach Dancer Robert Keith Julian hit men gangsters

Throw in a cocky wheels man Sandy McLain (Richard Jaeckel), a few crazy car chases, tense drama and with a frenzied end finale you get yourself a top movie which hits all the right notes.

So if like me and you hadn’t seen this spectacular piece of action film noir then jump the line-up and get to the front of the queue (Sorry that’s well cheesy). If you can recommend some Don Siegel films from the 40’s 50’s that would be most appreciated.  Cheers, Mikey Wolfman.

The Lineup (1958) - intro beginning title scene