Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Night Digger (1971)

Director: Alastair Reid

Starring: Patricia Neal, Pamela Brown, Nicholas Clay, Jean Anderson, Graham Crowden, Yootha Joyce

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A lonely woman in a decaying mansion... A young stranger on a big, black bike.

Plot: Effective psychological love story with a macabre twist not found in the original Joy Cowley novel. The dreary existence of middle- aged spinster Maura Prince takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of young handyman Billy Jarvis, but there is more to Billy than meets the eye. This well-crafted film, full of sexual tension and Gothic flavor, was Patricia Neal's second after her return to acting, her real-life stroke worked deftly into the story by then-husband Roald Dahl.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Had I seen a good widescreen print of this it might have fared better but besides the excellent Bernard Herrmann score, it's rather slow. That's not to say it's not worthwhile but I found it boring but not so bad that you couldn't see the potential for a better film. There's just no tension. You've got the great background score but you've also got a good story that unfortunately just plods along. The performances are fine but the direction spends too much time getting from scene to scene. This is one of those pictures that I came to watch ONLY because of the composer. I'm glad I did but now that it's over, I'll just stick to listening to the soundtrack instead.


  1. I love your post about this film. Very accurate. This is one of my fathers favorite films, Is there any chance that you can give me a link or a way to get the soundtrack of this film?. Him and I would really appreciate that, thanks.

  2. Thanks. I wish I could help you out. The copy I have came from the LP I owned 20 years ago. There are a few themes on YouTube, though.