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DVD Review: Yield To The Night (1956)

Yield

Diana Dors - it you remember her at all, it's probably from 70s panel shows or the occasional guest slot in minor movies or TV sitcoms. But back in the 1950s, she was the British equivalent of Marilyn Monroe and a decent actress too, as Yield To The Night will testify.

Yield To The Night should be a better-known movie, but just as capital punishment has faded out of our memories, so has this argument against the evils of it. In one of the finest Brit movie openings ever, Diana Dors' character Mary Hilton strides purposely towards a well-heeled woman coming out of an expensive car, before firing several shots into her. Fast forward to Hilton locked up in a cell, awaiting the inevitable death penalty. What drove her to murder? A series of flashbacks cut into the prison scenes tell the tale.

Hilton meets Jim Lancaster (Michael Craig) in her day job at a perfume counter, falling for him after meeting up again in a nightclub. After the neglect of her husband, Hilton finally feels she has found someone who loves her - and promptly moves in with him. But the love isn't reciprocated, with Lancaster infatuated with another woman (Lucy Carpenter), who has a hold on Lancaster that Hilton can never compete with. It's a situation Lancaster can't cope with - leading him to suicide and for Hilton to avenge the death.

At times slow, but never dull, Yield To The Night does indeed pack a powerful argument against the death penalty. Dors is superb as the spurned woman, rotting away in a prison cell, slowly losing her mind as the inevitable comes ever closer. The direction (by J. Lee Thompson) and camera work at times is superb - the close-ups, the emphasis on detail and the long lingering shots accurately portray the long hours of boredom in prison, as every minute is like an hour. And the final scenes are as bleak as anything portrayed on film.

In short? This is a high point of vintage British cinema. Not exactly easy or light viewing, but a film you really should see at least once.

Extras on the DVD:

Director profile
Photo gallery

Find out more about the DVD at Amazon.co.uk

Comments

Rob J

"Yield To The Night" is a neglected gem of a movie. Diana Dors was a fine actress who never got the breaks because of her "blonde bombshell" appeal,but she took a brave gamble with this role.
Her look of utter horror when she is finally led to the gallows is an unforgettable image,that will remain long in the viewer's mind after the film's conclusion. It deserves to be widely obtainable.

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