On the latest episode of Find Your Film we spotlight the works of filmmaker Jacques Tourneur. Tourneur’s classic noir Out of the Past and his underrated flicks Night of the Demon and Nightfall are covered! Along with our podcast audio, we have a seperate Soundcloud feed where we discuss spoilers for each movie!!
The general narrative of Jacques Tourneur is that his biggest creative period came during a three film collaboration with producer Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man) and the 1947 film noir Out of the Past.
This assertion is absolutely not true (and, at the very least, overly simplified), as the features Night of the Demon and Nightfall are underrated works from Tourneur. Bruce Purkey has owned a copy of Night of The Demon/Curse of the Demon on DVD for longer than he can remember, and he took this opportunity to learn more about this underrated filmmaker.
Check out our Jacques Tourneur episode on Spotify!!
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Night of the Demon (1957) centers on John Holden (Dana Andrews), a psychologist who heads to London to discredit an eccentric occultist named Doctor Julian Carswell (Niall MacGinnis). Gun Crazy actress Peggy Cummins also stars as a teacher who finds her paths crossed with Holden and Carswell. Go to Just Watch to see where Night of the Demon is streaming.
Out of the Past centers on a gas station owner named Jeff (Robert Mitchum) whose past comes back to haunt him. Jeff was previously hired to find Kathie, the lover (Jane Greer) of a mobster named Whit (Kirk Douglas). This love triangle plays out as most film noirs do, but the memorable dialogue, excellent performances, and Tourneur’s assured direction make Out of the Past one of the genre’s most beloved films. To check out where Out of the Past is streaming, go to Just Watch.
Nightfall centers on Jim Vanning (Aldo Ray), an artist who is hidding in Los Angeles to escape the clutches of two criminals (Brian Keith, Rudy Bond). Wanted for murder, Jim unwittingly brings a charming model named Marie (Anne Bancroft) into his now extremely fatalistic universe.
Eric Holmes and I agree that Nightfall is our favorite feature from Tourneur, and unfortunately this film is only available stateside in an expensive DVD box set. On the streaming side, you can also view it on TCM or via YouTube below (for free!!!):
Jacques Tourneur Episode Breakdown
0:51 – Bruce Purkey picked Jacques Tourneur because he is a fan of Night of the Demon (1957). The movies he picked for this spotlight are Night of the Demon and Out of the Past (1947). We are also reviewing Tourneur’s underrated flick Nightfall (1956).
2:16 – Eric Holmes loves Tourneur’s mixing of genres. He cites Tourneur is a mixture of Ida Lupino, Mario Bava and Joseph H. Lewis
3:15 – Tourneur, at his creative heart, loved creating movies that are borne out of escapism.
4:38 – Eric Holmes also saw Cat People for the episode, and he and Bruce discuss the film later in the pod.
5:30 – Out of the Past is covered!!
6:30 – Bruce loves the writing and memorable quotes to be had with Out of the Past.
8:05 – A quick plot synopsis on Out of the Past
10:15 – Out of the Past is, what I deem, is the “Michael Jordan of film noirs.”
10:40 – Eric offers up his take on Out of the Past and throws down a Night of the Hunter reference: “This is a fantastic movie.”
13:43 – I discuss how Jane Greer’s character “Kathie” have her own agency in the film.
14:08 – Bruce elaborates on what makes this “femme fatale” character unique in Out of the Past.
15:43 – Brief Out of the Past shout out to Rhonda Fleming who is another woman who Jeff (Robert Mitchum) encounters in the flick.
17:01 – Eric Holmes has his mind blown upon realizing Out of the Past was remade into Against All Odds (which Holmes rewatched a year)
18:23 – Bruce has an interesting story about a plane crash and Robert Mitchum re: Out of the Past trivia. Plus he also mentions a smoking incident with Mitchum in the movie. .
20:00 – The did a TCM Essentials of Out of the Past co-hosted by director Brad Bird.
20:30 – If you want to see more Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum, check out The Big Steal.
22:19 – We review Night of the Demon.
25:14 – The opening scene of Night of the Demon “creeped the hell” outta Eric.
27:12 – Eric’s got jokes for days with a Jingle All The Way reference.
27:30 – Bruce says the “juice” of Night of the Demon comes with the performance of Niall MacGinnis of Doctor Julian Karswell.
31:24 – For Bruce, the movie also loves the “time stamp” element of the movie and the conflict between Karswell and skeptic John Holden (Dana Andrews)
33:07 – I briefly mention The Giant of Marathon which was directed by Tourneur, Bruno Vailati and an uncredited Mario Bava.
35:12 – Eric Holmes and Bruce Purkey talk about Cat People and Tourneur’s work with Val Lewton: “I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it’s really good”
36:35 – Bruce compares Cat People to Out of the Past.
37:55 – Bruce also adds that there is a scene in Cat People that is considered the first “jump scare” in movies.
38:46 – Eric’s YouTube expenditures continue with the Cat People rental!
39:10 – Some Cat People trivia from Bruce which involves The Magnificent Ambersons!
40:00 – Eric Holmes says Cat People should be remade once again (he has also seen the Paul Schrader version with Nastassja Kinski
42:02 – Bruce talks about the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur films Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man.
43:10 – Tourneur considered himself a pragmatic filmmaker while he described producer Lewton as more of an idealistic.
44:31 – Why do I know Eric Holmes will watch The Leopard Man? The Blu-ray/DVD special features includes commentary from director William Friedkin!!
46:15 – Eric loves the “lean” nature of Jacques Tourneur’s movies.
46:52 – I made a brief mention of The Comedy of Terrors, a movie directed by Tourneur and starring Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price. The scriptwriter is Richard Matheson.
50:51 – I forced Eric Holmes and Bruce Purkey to watch the cinematic gem Nightfall.
52:40 – Bruce gives his take on Nightfall which he calls “super fun.”
53:38 – This is Eric’s favorite movie from the Tourneur films we covered. Although the movie is short, Eric says the feature has an “epic feel.” ‘I feel like I’ve lived in this world for a long period of time,” said Holmes, who adds that it might be a “masterpiece.”
59:50 – Purkey says Bruce Willis would be perfect in the Aldo Ray role in Nightfall. Ray served as the inspiration for Willis’ character in Pulp Fiction.
61:47 – Bruce says Nightfall is a kick you in your teeth movie and Out of the Past is more like a full meal. He loves them both.
62:44 – I love the expressionistic and moody aesthetic behind the Tourneur films we covered.
64:18 – Eric gives his final thoughts on Jacques Tourneur.
65:12 – Bruce talks about Tourneur and elaborates on the Find Your Film universe.
66:44 – Eric Holmes has the next pick for our Director’s spotlight and he chose Ralph Bakshi. We’ll be covering the films Coonskin and Wizards.
70:31 – Call us the Arch-Ivers!!!
If you want to listen to spoilers of OUT OF THE PAST, NIGHT OF THE DEMON and NIGHTFALL, check out our discussion below!!! Props to Bruce Purkey for actually remembering the endings of Night of the Demon and Nightfall – discredit goes to Eric and I for having a foggy memory of both!!!!
Jacques Tourneur Spoilers (Out of the Past, Night of the Demon, and Nightfall!!). Take a listen to the Soundcloud audio below!
2:42 – We discuss spoilers for Out of the Past!!
11:43 – Spoilers for Night of the Demon!!
19:03 – Nightfall spoilers!!
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