Dead of Night

Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Dead of Night.

Dead of Night (1945) is a British Portmanteau1 horror film made by Ealing Studios. The story takes place at a country party where every man and woman entertain each other with different tales of uncanny or extraordinary events. I watched only one story about ventriloquist's dummy told by an architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns). This short film tells us about ventriloquist who believes that his dummy is alive.

The mystery around this ventriloquist and his dummy is truly uncanny. The uncanny atmosphere gives this film presence of horror. Viewers can not understand is the dummy alive or not. At the same way they do not understand what is going wrong with ventriloquist – is he some kind of psychopath, serial killer or just a mad person. But unfortunately it all becomes clear in the end when ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) makes a dummy face and speaks with his voice. In my opinion, they should have left this aspect unrevealed. Audience understands that he has a dissociative identity disorder and all uncanniness disappears. It happens when you are trying to be another person for a long time. Suddenly, you are crossing the line and don’t understand where you are and where the imaginary personality is.

The actor Michael Redgrave played this role masterfully. It is not easy to play a mentally disordered man as it can appear from the first sight. Without his brilliant performance and understanding of his role this film would be received in completely different way.

This interesting story was skilfully organized and masterfully delivered to viewers. I enjoyed watching it – interesting tale.

You can watch this short story here, here and here.

1. Anthology film, or Omnibus film or Portmanteau film is a film consisting of several different short films, often tied together by only a single theme.


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