So Dark the Night (J.H. Lewis, 1946)
This review contains heavy spoilers.
A film noir that doesn’t have a bit of mystery until the second half of the film? I like a good set up, so I can get on board with that. A film noir where the detective trying to solve the case is actually the murderer? Seems unique; I can also get on board with that too. But making him a schizophrenic who is completely unaware of his ‘transformation’ and murders? Not only is it the easy way out for this film and a completely inaccurate depiction of schizophrenia in general, it led to a cringe-inducing flashback sequence for a conclusion.
But as I stated from the start, this film has merit. The film begins with our detective protagonist going away on a trip to a fantastic little inn. The countryside setting, lavishly served meals, and live music in the lounge louder than any possible conversation make this a place you want to be. It’s not hard, then, to see how this man could get wrapped up with the innkeeper’s daughter both for who she is and where she comes from. Their quick romantic fling (accompanied by a jealous childhood fiancé) sets the film up nicely, especially the way it is shot – using both beautiful images and unique points of view. But when the murders happen, and it becomes evident the detective is responsible (I don’t really think Lewis wants this to be all that hard to figure out.), I was really hoping his working the case was a clever way to cover up as opposed to what we get. 8/10