So Dark the Night

February 9, 2015 at 2:42 am (5 Heads, So Dark the Night) (, , , , )

So Dark the Night – 1946 – United States

While vacationing in the French countryside, a famous Parisian police detective falls in love with an innkeeper’s comely daughter. The young woman presumes the detective is wealthy and ditches her boyfriend to marry him. When her embittered ex-boyfriend appears at the wedding ceremony, the impulsive woman runs away with him instead. Days later, the woman and her boyfriend are found dead. As the detective investigates the apparent murder and suicide, he deduces that a mysterious third party is manipulating the evidence. Other people related to the case start getting killed. The detective reaches the incredible conclusion that he suffers from multiple personality disorder, and he is actually the murderer himself! In a paranoid film noir plot like this, you can bet that the ending is pretty bleak.

So Dark the Night depicts life in France as idyllic and inviting, full of charming and amusing people. Even the relationship between the old doting detective and the immature young lady is more naïve than creepy. Compared to the film’s cheery first half, the second half is oppressive, with murders occurring almost continuously. While the idea of a murderer with multiple personalities is pretty unbelievable, it still evokes pathos, especially since the characters are so likable.

Director Joseph H. Lewis also directed Gun Crazy (1949) plus numerous mysteries and westerns. So Dark the Night is an American film, so it is unusual that is set in France. The hammy fake accents are difficult to adjust to, as is the absurdly polite dialogue. But do not worry, the film’s latter half manifests all the fear and misery you could hope for.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. The night is pretty dark.

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