Wednesday 4 July 2018

Night Was Our Friend - 1951 film review

Night Was Our Friend is a rather good British B-movie which dates from 1951. The script was based on a play, though the film isn't as irritatingly stagey as so many movies based on plays tend to be. And despite the fact that most of the story is told via an extended flashback, that isn't as unsatisfactory as is so often the case. Both play and screenplay were written by Michael Pertwee, brother of Jon and uncle of Sean, and he did a good job.

The story begins with a young woman on trial for murder. The case is a sensation, and when we see the jury debating their verdict, it's clear that the outcome is far from straightforward. In the end, however, the result is decided - and the woman is acquitted. She is then immediately confronted by the unhappy mother of her dead husband, who clearly believes her to be guilty. And then the man she really loves proposes to her, only for her to tell him that she did, in fact, murder her husband.

This is where the flashback begins. Sally (Elizabeth Sellars) is in love with Dr Harper (Ronald Howard) when unexpected news arrives. Her husband Martin (Michael Gough), who two years ago went missing presumed dead after a plane crash in South America has turned up alive! The couple are clearly not thrilled, and it's apparent that Martin was a difficult man to live with. But they do the decent thing, and Sally welcomes Martin back with open arms.

Alas, all is not well with Martin. His two years in the jungle didn't agree with him, and he's mentally disturbed, but refuses to undergo any treatment. He develops a habit of going on nocturnal prowls, and when he's involved in a serious incident, matters come to a head....

This is a well-made film, unpretentious and watchable to this day. Gough, as you'd expect, does a very good job in an unsavoury role. I enjoyed it.

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