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Somewhere in the Night (Fox Film Noir)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Hodiak, Nancy Guild, Lloyd Nolan, Richard Conte, Josephine Hutchinson
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Writers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Howard Dimsdale, Lee Strasberg, Marvin Borowsky, W. Somerset Maugham
  • Producers: Anderson Lawler, Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X7678
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Somewhere in the Night (Fox Film Noir)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

George Taylor returns from the WWII with amnesia. Back home in os Angeles, he tries to track down his old identity, stumbling into a 3-year old murder case and a hunt for a missing $2 million.


"Somewhere in the Night" is an exemplary title for a film noir, and the shellshocked pilgrimage of an amnesiac WWII veteran through an L.A. shadow-zone of hotels, bars, steam baths, sanitariums, and creepy private dwellings casts an uncanny spell. The plot is so byzantine, and the interlayering of the banal with the bizarre so pervasive, we may occasionally feel we've wandered into a Raul Ruiz mindgame in the guise of a '40s mystery-melodrama. The situation is primal: a man searching for his own identity, dreading what that identity will prove to be, yet so monastically dedicated to his mission that he won't reveal his dilemma to anyone even when it might ease his quest.

The script is shot through with contradictions and improbabilities, though these loom more glaring in retrospect than during the viewing. In his sophomore directorial outing, Joseph L. Mankiewicz--who would soon evolve into a multiple-Oscar-winner (Letter to Three Wives, All About Eve)--occasionally bungles action setups that any journeyman director could have handled in mid-yawn. But he¹s also written some choice dialogue and slivered some engaging business into the proceedings--especially for Lloyd Nolan as a drugstore-philosopher homicide cop, and German-Expressionist refugee Fritz Kortner (Pandora's Box), whose arias of Continental fatalism and duplicity are sheer delight. The always-assured Richard Conte is slick as an affable nightclub operator, and there are fine bits by a host of unbilled character players (Whit Bissell, Henry "Harry" Morgan, Jeff Corey, Houseley Stevenson). But Hodiak makes a charismatically challenged leading man, and a better actress than neophyte Nancy Guild ("rhymes with wild!") would have found it tough to bring off the combination of worldliness and devotion required of the nightclub chanteuse who offers him aid and comfort. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

A solid cast, good photography and well written.
Jay Holder
The film is in English only with Spanish subtitles, another example of inaccuracy in product description, this time courtesy of the manufacturer.
Richard Nash Creel
Once the plot really kicks in, however, about a third of the way, the movie starts getting better and better.
C. O. DeRiemer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on January 9, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Appealing mystery tells the story of a World War II vet (John Hodiak) who suffers a terrible injury somewhere in the Pacific theater of operations, gains a new, surgically reconstructed face and loses his memory. Will he, somewhere in the night, find out who he really is?

Okay, let me amend and adjust that endorsement. I didn't recognize John Hodiak at all, although author Eddie Muller tells us he was a fairly well established star in the mid-40s on Muller's entertaining and informative commentary track. A quick internet search of his name disgorged a number of movies I've seen that Hodiak has been in, including a couple I like a lot. Hodiak plays a weary soldier in the good Battle of the Bulge movie `Battleground,' and he's one of the washed aboard survivors in Alfred Hitchcock's `Lifeboat.' Hodiak, about 30 when SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT was made was square shouldered, jut jawed, and seemed to favor a trim Clark Gable moustache. In appearance he was something of a cross between Don Ameche and Martin Landau, I guess, with a voice that reminded me of George Raft. I'm writing this in detail because, if this is Hodiak laying it out as a lead star, I'm certain to disremember him the next time around. SITN is future Oscar-winning director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's first feature, so maybe that explains why he allowed his male lead to play it so... tense for the duration. It doesn't help much that Mankiewicz cast 19-year-old newcomer Nancy Guild opposite Hodiak as the female lead. Hodiak, stiff as shoe leather, doesn't have nearly enough in his own cache of charisma to wipe the deer-in-the-headlights look off Guild's face, much less pump a cubic ounce of air into a scene. Confirming a couple of mistily formed suspicions, Muller tells us Guild was hired by Fox to be their Lauren Bacall.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on September 11, 2005
Format: DVD
Movie: *** DVD Transfer: *** Extras: ***1/2

A mystery with film noir elements, "Somewhere in the Night" tells the story of an amnesiac WWII veteran (John Hodiak) who sets out to recover his prewar identity, only to learn that he once may have been involved in a crime that culminated in an unsolved murder. Yet despite this intriguing premise, the film never really jells because the script is both confusing and overlong, and because Joseph L. Mankiewicz's direction lacks the proper pacing and control, which causes the suspense to dissipate before the somewhat obvious climax (this was only his second directorial effort, following "Dragonwyck"). It's a pity, really, because there are so many things about this movie that do work: Norbert Brodine's brooding cinematography is superb; the costumes, set decorations, and art direction are particularly stylish; and there are wonderful performances from Richard Conte, Margo Woode, and especially Lloyd Nolan as a smooth detective and Josephine Hutchison, who makes her single scene in the movie a standout. The two romantic leads, John Hodiak and Nancy Guild, give acceptable performances but would have benefited greatly from tighter direction.

Like the movie itself, Fox Home Video's presentation of this somewhat obscure noir is lacking. Although the video contrast is generally commendable, there are several scenes in which the graininess of the transfer is distracting, and there are one or two sequences in which the film is plagued by vertical lines of video noise (especially during the opening credits). The sound, however, is crisp and clear throughout.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 7, 2006
Format: DVD
An interesting, off-the-beaten-track film noir about an amnesiac soldier, recently discharged from the Marines, who returns to civilian life to rediscover his own past. Actor John Hodiak (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Val Kilmer...) plays his role with a sleepy-yet-cool reserve -- for a guy who thinks he's just an average joe, he sure seems to handle himself well when things start getting weird and dangerous in his old hometown of LA. Lee Strasberg (later of the Actor's Studio) delivers a compelling though flawed script... The first half of the film has an odd, stylish charm -- the flip, tough-guy rhetoric of the genre is tempered with a hefty dose of absurdism and playfulness. There are some great sequences and fun, zippy dialogue, although the prologue is far superior to the action part of the film. The second half lumbers along, and while it becomes clumsy, it's still entertaining and definitely a notch above many B-grade efforts of the same era. One particular treat is an extended role for Lloyd Nolan, who plays a too-cool, insouciant police detective -- his introduction is a real hoot, where he effortlessly steals the scene and leaves the audience wanting more... Lots more. You might not have heard of this film before -- I sure hadn't -- but it's definitely worth checking out!
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Format: DVD
"Somewhere in the Night" is a film noir that was released, appropriately, in June 1946, shortly after World War II ended. Its protagonist is a recently discharged veteran returning home. Not surprisingly, instead of a placid, welcoming environment, he comes home to confusion, violence, and fear. George Taylor (John Hodiak) was injured when a grenade exploded, breaking his jaw and relieving him of his memory. Lying in veterans' hospitals with his jaw wired shut, unable to speak, George passes the time wondering who he is. After recuperating, he returns to his supposed home town Los Angeles in an embittered state of mind. Searching for clues to his identity, he retrieves a briefcase he left in storage 3 years ago. In it, he finds a letter stating that $5,000 was deposited in George Taylor's bank account by a Mr. Larry Cravat. George sets out to find Mr. Cravat, the only person who might be able to shed some light on his identity. But inquiries about Cravat only get him beaten, threatened, and suspected of murder. Dumped on the doorstep of pretty young nightclub singer Christy Smith (Nancy Guild), George confides in her. Christy enlists the assistance of her boss Mel Phillips (Richard Conte) and Police Detective Kendall (Lloyd Nolan) to help George find Larry Cravat and his own identity.

You would rack up quite a score counting the conventions of the noir style and themes present in this "Somewhere in the Night". But as foreboding as it may be at times, this film doesn't take itself very seriously. Director Joseph Mankiewicz has included some joking references to the dark crime films from which "Somewhere in the Night" takes its queues. There is an ongoing joke about detectives in movies always keeping their hats on, because Det. Kendall takes his off as social custom requires.
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Somewhere in the Night (Fox Film Noir)
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