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DVD Review: And Soon The Darkness (1970)


This is something of a first for Cinedelica - I'm reviewing the same movie for the second time. But as And Soon The Darkness has finally been released in its home country of the UK on DVD and as a copy has just popped through the letterbox, I feel it's justified this time.

Loosely classed as a horror, it's actually more of a thriller - and a very good one too as director Robert Fuest uses a minimal cast and the expanse of the French countryside to create a genuinely tense movie that leaves you second guessing right to the final scenes. In some ways, it's an Avengers spin-off, made soon after that show had finished, with writing duties shared by Brian Clemens and Terry 'Daleks' Nation, production by Clemens and Albert Fennell and with a jaunty (and slightly inappropriate) theme by Laurie Johnson.


The story? Well, two swinging London chicks take a break from London, heading off on a cycling holiday through the French countryside. However, the two girls (Jane played by Pamela Franklin and Cathy played by Michele Dotrice) have different ideas about what the holiday should be about. Jane wants to push on and see the country, Cathy fancies something more leisurely, with a spot of sunbathing thrown in.

Things come to a head after the pair stop for a break - Jane decides to go on alone, while Cathy take a longer break. But that's the last the girls see of each other. When Jane goes back for her friend, she's nowhere to be seen. Has she missed her? Has something more sinister happened? And who is the stranger (played by Sandor Eles) in the dark glasses riding a Lambretta?

It's a real lost gem of British cinema, an example of how you can create a visually-impressive movie packed with suspense on a relatively small budget. The impressive French rural scenery is the star, with Jane lost and alone in the never-ending open fields. And without the local language skills, with no-one to trust or to turn to. The script is no slouch either. Ok, you might second guess who the bad guy is, but there's plenty of false trails, a ready supply of seemingly-sinister types and you'll never be quite sure who to trust until just before the end credits roll.

The only downside is this DVD issue. I've previously owned the US version (and reviewed it here many months ago). That one had a few extras on-board, not to mention an entertaining commentary. This first-time UK issue has nothing but the film. Granted, the quality of both image and sound on the disc are excellent, but after waiting so long for a release, this package is a slight disappointment.

But at just under £8 (on Amazon), you can't really complain, This is a must-buy for anyone into Brit flicks of the 60s and 70s and probably one to buy for any Avengers fans too. But more importantly, another one to strike off that DVD 'wants' list.

Extras on the DVD:


Find out more about the DVD at


Dave Page

Is this definitely in the original aspect ratio? I also have the R1 version and would like it in PAL...

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