NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, THE
(director/writer: Hubert Cornfield; screenwriters: from the book by Lionel White “The Snatchers”/Robert Phippeny; cinematographer: Willi Kurant; editor: Gordon Pilkington; music: Stanley Myers; cast: Marlon Brando (Bud), Richard Boone (Leer), Rita Moreno (Vi), Pamela Franklin (The Girl), Jess Hahn (Wally), Gérard Buhr (Fisherman-Cop), Jacques Marin (Bartender), Hugues Wanner (Girl’s Father), Al Lettieri (Pilot); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Hubert Cornfield; Universal; 1969-UK/USA)
“Marlon Brando gives a pleasingly subdued performance that is devoid of his usual Method acting mannerisms.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Hubert Cornfield (“Plunder Road”-57) is the director-writer of this gripping crime thriller and Robert Phippeny is the co-writer. It’s adapted from the book by Lionel White “The Snatchers.” The sordid story about greed and betrayal is imaginatively photographed by Willi Kurant in a noirish dream-like way. Marlon Brando gives a pleasingly subdued performance that is devoid of his usual Method acting mannerisms. The remainder of the cast is also outstanding, giving fittingly crisp performances.
When a wealthy young heiress (Pamela Franklin) debarks from her flight to Paris, she’s ushered into the limousine driven by Bud (Marlon Brando), dressed as a chauffeur, and taken to a remote country beach house by the ocean. She’s being held by a nervous gang of kidnappers for ransom. The snatch was organized by a career petty criminal named Wally (Jess Hahn), who is looking to make one big score before calling it quits. Wally’s junkie sister Vi (Rita Moreno) is an airline stewardess who arrived on the same plane as the victim and is in on the kidnapping. She is the lover of Bud, a longtime chum of her brother’s. The only stranger taken into the gang is Leer (Richard Boone), hired by Wally to be the enforcer. Leer turns out to be a sadistic psycho who gets pleasure taunting the teenage girl, and upsets Bud who wants no rough stuff on the caper.
Things start going wrong from the start making Bud want to back out, but he stays because of his friendship for Wally. The local gendarme (Gérard Buhr) fishes by the beach house and asks Vi innocent questions that spook her. Vi snorts heroin and fails to meet Wally and Bud at the village airport for a ride back to the house as arranged, but the omnipresent cop arrives to give them a ride and unnerves them further by asking more questions about the beach house arrangement. The film gets even more tense when Leer intimidates the girl after foiling her escape attempt. It builds in tension to the climactic scene where the girl’s father arrives in the village with the ransom and the intricate plan begins to unravel, leading to fireworks and a surprising conclusion.
REVIEWED ON 7/29/2004 GRADE: B+