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Nightfall Reviews

Terrific film noir, expertly directed by Tourneur, starring Ray as an innocent man on the lam from a murder and robbery he didn't commit. The film opens as fugitive Ray meets Bancroft in a restaurant. When they leave, he is kidnaped by Keith and Bond who take him to a deserted oil derrick and torture him to make him reveal the whereabouts of their stolen money. Ray manages to escape his tormentors, then he tracks down Bancroft at her apartment, suspecting she set him up. When she claims ignorance, Ray takes her and flees, fearing Keith and Bond may find them. In a flashback Ray relates the events that got him in trouble. It seems he and a doctor friend were on their way to a hunting trip in the mountains of Wyoming when they discovered a car wreck and stopped to help. The passengers turned out to be Keith and Bond, two bank robbers who kidnaped the hunters then killed the doctor and grabbed his medical bag, mistaking it for their loot. Ray, wounded from the shooting, took the bag of money and buried it in a snowbank for fear of being implicated in the crime. After hearing the story, Bancroft agrees to help Ray retrieve the money, and they return to the scene of the crime along with Gregory, an insurance investigator who believes Ray's innocent. Discovering the cash is gone, Ray and his troupe see Bond kill Keith in a fight over the loot. Bond then mounts a snowplow and tries to run over Bancroft and Gregory, but Ray pulls him out of the cab and Bond is crushed under the plow. Similar in structure to Tourneur's OUT OF THE PAST, NIGHTFALL reverses the normal symbols of pain and suffering associated with film noir by showing that the only places Ray can hide are dark streets and musty restaurants, as opposed to the bright snowbanks and open spaces where he was shot and nearly killed by the thugs who would turn his life upside-down.