Joseph H Lewis is almost a forgotten master of the studio system. Finally it seems the serious labels are taking back his legacy for a new generation to admire. Inspector Cassin (Steven Geray) is instructed to take a prolonged holiday. He is the best crime solving detective in Paris but is facing burn out. So he takes a vacation to a sleepy country town filled with fields, water and quaint villages. When a local girl, Nanette smiles and talks to him, it is to spend time with a celebrity. Cassin falls for the girl but as he has grown close to her, disaster strikes. She is murdered and he must turn detective once more, in order to bring the killer to justice.
Lewis was often over looked for many reasons. He was a B movie director, he made genre films and he came up against really good contemporaries like Hawks and Wilder. Lewis was every bit the auteur of these fine film makers. However the stark difference between the group was that Lewis never lost that B movie style. He had B movie funding but A picture style. Crafting wonderfully taught films with smooth camera pans, pull ins and pushes. Lewis contained scenes. He developed a visual style and in SO DARK THE NIGHT with cinematographer Burnett Guffey, they found magic. From the canted angles of exteriors, to the dark interiors. It all adds such volume to the piece that you escape into it. Everything else in the picture is irrelevant. The awful accents, dull script and odd performances. The visual power eclipses all of this. This film proves without any doubt that Lewis would have made an impact on the majors if given a chance (and also now will).
The HD presentation is the clear difference between the image on the right (standard) and the one above. The solid black strokes are matched with a loving light depth.
Best extras the Commentary that goes over in a lot of detail Lewis and the establishments treatment of him. Imogen Sara Smith analysis is lacking a seam of detail but still good.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- 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
- Theatrical trailer
- 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