'So Dark The Night: Special Edition'
(Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel, Eugene Borden, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1946) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Inspector Cassin, a renowned Paris detective, departs to the country for a much-needed break. There he falls in love with the innkeeper's daughter, Nanette, who is already betrothed to a local farmer.
On the evening of their engagement party, Nanette and the farmer both disappear. Cassin takes up the case immediately to discover what happened to them and who is responsible.
Blu-ray Verdict: Like his contemporaries Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder, Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy) dabbled in many genres, but excelled in the film noir tradition.
A Hitchcockian tale of mystery and intrigue, 'So Dark the Night' was one of his finest pictures.
Although 'So Dark the Night' is presented as a border line "noir" flick, for my money, it is really a complex little murder mystery with a few surprises thrown in.
Filmed on a modest budget on studio bound sets in good old black and white, it runs a scant 71 minutes, but holds your attention throughout.
Director Joseph H. Lewis had assembled a cast of largely unknown actors, which of course also adds to the mystery elements of the film. Steven Geary plays Parisian detective Henri Cassin, a burn out who is ordered to take a vacation by his boss, Commissioner Grande (Gregory Gaye).
Cassin goes to a country inn and there meets the proprietor's young daughter Nannette Michaud (Micheline Chierel); whereupon a May-December romance begins.
Nanette hopes to escape her small village to the lights and glamour of Paris. The girl's father, Pierre Michaud opposes the relationship because Nanette is already betrothed to local farmer Antoine (Frank Arnold) and he feels that the age difference between Cassin and Nanette is too great.
Antoine is also opposed to the union and promises to continue to pursue Nanette even after her planned marriage to the detective. Oh, and Mama Michaud (Ann Codee) is pushing Nanette into the relationship to help her to a better life!
Nanette and her fiancé are found murdered causing Cassin's vacation to be cut short. He soon begins to investigate the murders with surprising results. The suspects include Nanette's parents, a others such as a sinister looking widow (Helen Freeman) and a hunchback named Brother Theodore.
Cassin's resolution of the murders comes after he gives a description of the murderer from the clues he has gathered to the police artist back in Paris. The murderer then turns out to be ..... ha, you'll have to wait and see for yourself now, won't you! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono PCM audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio Commentary by critics Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme
So Dark... Joseph H. Lewis at Columbia - Critic Imogen Sara Smith provides the background and an analysis of the film
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tonci Zonjic
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns