The Night of the Following Day (1968)
|Year Of Production||1968|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Hubert Cornfield|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Night of the Following Day is a curious film directed by Hubert Cornfield who also directed The 3rd Voice (1960) and Pressure Point (1962). The film was written, produced and directed by Cornfield but unfortunately it would be the hostility between Corfield and the star of the film, the late Marlon Brando for which the film would be most memorable.
The troubled production seemed doomed from its beginnings. The film is based on the novel by the late Lionel White, whose crime novels are no stranger to cinema as Obsession was remade as Pierrot le fou (1965) by Jean-Luc Godard and Clean Slate was remade as The Killing (1956) by the late Stanley Kubrick. Most recently Quentin Tarantino listed Lionel White in the credits of Reservoir Dogs (1992) as an inspiration.
Kubrick was initially set to direct The Night of the Following Day in the mid 1950s but unfortunately the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had forbidden films concerning the kidnapping of a child, which was Lionel White’s original storyline.
In order to make the story of the disastrous kidnapping filmable, 10 years later Cornfield changed the victim from a child to a young woman.
The film had a cast of somewhat unconventional actors in Marlon Brando, the late Richard Boone, Rita Moreno and the late Jess Hahn. Each of these actors played kidnappers who went by unconventional nicknames. Firstly Brando, dressed in black with blond hair, went by his real life nickname ‘Bud’. Brando’s character is the cautious leader of the gang but is rivalled by Richard Bonne’s ‘Leer’, a frightening unpredictable psychopathic character whose menace is further drawn out in the film due to growing paranoia. Also adding to the suspense is the unreliable character of ‘Blonde’ played by an impressive Rita Moreno who is also the sometimes girlfriend of ‘Bud’. ‘Blonde’ is a drug user who begins to distrust those around her. Lastly, Jess Hahn plays ‘Friendly’, the brother of ‘Blonde’ and ‘Bud’s’ trusting friend. Former child actress Pamela Franklin played the victim known only as ‘girl’, who is the daughter of a prominent millionaire.
Set in a seacoast town in France, the kidnappers occupy an isolated home where the victim is to be held. It is within these claustrophobic walls where their own personal demons are revealed and the professional criminals will disintegrate into amateurs, leaving only raw emotion and survival to be their own motivation, while outside the kidnapping is headline news in France and a local cop becomes suspicious of the individuals who have entered his sleepy town.
The film is occupied by a surreal landscape and there are many questions left unanswered as the credits roll. Many of the plot holes are a result of the multiple versions of the film which were cut due to censorship issues. Nevertheless, the structure of the film can be interpreted as somewhat intentional as the production values are certainly inspired by not only classic film-noir aesthetics but also French New Wave sensibilities, two eras of films which expect the viewer to interpret. The plot holes are somewhat all the more intriguing as the viewer is left to understand the unconventional and convoluted storyline.
Performances all round are commendable; Cornfield in the commentary claims Rita Moreno’s performance to be perfection. As mentioned earlier Cornfield and Brando had a somewhat antagonistic relationship during production. As a result Brando actually replaced Cornfield with fellow co-star Richard Boone to direct some of the later scenes of the film. This probably explains the sudden alternate motivation in Brando’s character. Brando lends the film a quiet intensity - he was one of cinema’s most unique actors and he has some dominating scenes in the film but nevertheless he hasn’t much to do as his character seems undeveloped in contrast to the others.
It is interesting to note that the 1960’s are renowned as the ‘lost era’ in Brando’s career, as he was plagued by numerous critical and commercial failures. This film would be the last ‘unsuccessful’ film for Brando and as a result this film has become underrated and forgotten. This film is certainly not for all but it is interesting; the unusual ending caused debate when the film was released. Today’s audience will notice the ending has been done many times before, but there is no denying the film is engrossing and suspenseful. Recommended
The bad news is Universal have released this title in a Pan and Scan 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
The good news is the video transfer is actually very good. Not pristine, but quite reasonable with the day and night scenes handled well. Most of the interior scenes are well transferred given that they are darkly lit.
There is some film grain which makes the picture quality seem soft, especially at 38:18. Otherwise the shadow detail is excellent and the colours remain bright and vivid. Skin tones remain natural.
The night time exterior scenes suffer from edge enhancement - see 83:38.
The average Bitrate is consistent at 6.3 Mb/s.
Overall the picture quality is satisfactory, although as the film is presented in the incorrect aspect ratio, as per site policy one star will be deducted from the overall video rating.
There are no subtitles included on this single layer disc
The only audio soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).
The audio track is basic and the dialogue is clear
The audio in the film utilises atmospheric Sound FX such as wind and waves, as most of the film is set near the coast.
The soundtrack is composed by the late Stanley Myers, whose other credits include The Singing Detective (1986) and The Deer Hunter (1978). The music is self aware and helps build suspense. It is jazz inspired and loose and unpredictable just as the film itself. It is produced well on this DVD.
As expected the audio soundtrack makes minimal use of surround sound and the subwoofer is not heard. Overall it is basic and had no major defects.
|Surround Channel Use|
The commentary by director Hubert Cornfield is useful in guiding the audience through the film. It seems Cornfield has suffered from throat cancer and he struggles to speak at times. He seems passionate about the film and never speaks of the ‘gossip’ that surrounded the film (for example Rita Moreno’s personal problems). He does explain which scenes he directed and which scenes were directed by Richard Boone at Brando’s insistence. It seems he is still angry at Brando for not respecting him as a director but he doesn’t dwell on this. Rather, the commentary is insightful regarding the history of the project and his late friend Jean-Pierre Melville, who helped in getting the film released. Also Cornfield explains the structure of the film in depth and his influences and motivation in creating the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release is far superior to the Region 4 as the film is presented in its correct aspect ratio, 1.85:1, and also 16x9 enhanced. Also included are the trailer and the commentary. This title is also available as part of the R1 Box set The Marlon Brando Franchise Collection which also includes A Countess from Hong Kong, The Appaloosa and The Ugly American at a discounted price.
The Night of the Following Day is an interesting film for Brando enthusiasts.
I recommend the R1 over the R4 release.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1910, using DVI output|
|Display||Panasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Yamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS|
|Speakers||(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12|