Dead of Night

  • Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer
  • Producers: Michael Balcon
  • Writers: John Baines, Angus MacPhail
  • Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Frederick Valk, Roland Culver

The movie opens with architect Walter Craig (Johns) arriving at a country house party where he reveals to the other assembled guests that he has seen them all in a recurring dream. He has no prior personal knowledge of them, but he knows that each has a disturbing story to tell, while he also shows amazing knowledge of spontaneous events in the house before they unfold. The other guests attempt to test Craig’s foresight, while entertaining each other with various tales of uncanny or supernatural events that they experienced or were told about. These include a racing car driver’s mysterious premonition of a fatal bus crash; a humorous tale of two obsessed golfers, one of whom is haunted by the other’s ghost; a ghostly encounter during a children’s Christmas party (a scene cut from the initial American release); a haunted antique mirror; and the story of an unbalanced ventriloquist (Redgrave) who believes his amoral dummy is truly alive. The framing story is then capped by a disturbing twist ending.

Dead of Night is notable for having inspired Fred Hoyle’s Steady State model of the Universe.[1]

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