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  1. #21
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    Pity Dana Andrews acting is so wooden

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by clitheroekid
    Pity Dana Andrews acting is so wooden
    Agreed! Much as I like him in Laura and one or two other Hollywood films, he seems completely out of place here. Sadly it's often the case with US actors 'slumming it' in British films.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    In the meantime there is an excellent book on the making of the movie 'Beating the Devil: The Making of Night of the Demon' by Tony Earnshaw - excellent read. Apparently Dana Andrews was drinking heavily during the production - could explain his slighlty uncommitted performance

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop
    ...there is an excellent book on the making of the movie 'Beating the Devil: The Making of Night of the Demon' by Tony Earnshaw...
    It is a good book, but it disappointed me slightly. There is a lot of padding in the book including a scene by scene guide to the movie... assuming that those who read the book are familiar with the movie, one wonders how necessary that was.



    I don't want to slight the book... I just expected more from it.

  5. #25
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    Apologies (if needed) for resurrecting this old thread, but this morning I received a call from a theatre owner who's got this film scheduled for their Halloween party, based on my recommendation. He watched it last night for the first time, and he said it bothers him - "the hacking with his claw, don't you think that's a bit much?" he said.



    His recommendations for the rest of the festival includes the original Halloweens 1 and 2. And HE's complaining about the Demon's 'claw hacking'?!! Oh gimme a break! Men...



    I told him I'd be over to burp him, but I leave diaper changing to my husband (who oddly didn't volunteer...)



    Omen, Exorcist and Witchfinder General are the other 3 films. I think DEMON will fit in nicely with those 3, at least.

  6. #26
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    WITCHFINDER is hugely more vicious than NOTD! Which is a less nihilistic, warmer film generally.



    But I fear the guy may have rented THIS: Night of the Demon (1980) by mistake. It does have a very nasty scene with a claw... in the US, the film Tourneur films is usually called CURSE OF THE DEMON, which might be the problem.

  7. #27
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    I'd only given him NIGHT OF THE DEMON, and of course we never know exactly if the distributors will ship exactly the title we want - this is only occasionally a problem. If we get NIGHT or CURSE, that's going to be fine. If we end up with the 1980 film of the same name, no, it won't be. But there are enough standby films in local vaults to find an adequate replacement. DON'T LOOK NOW and THE HAUNTING haven't made annual appearances in a couple of years, so those local copies could be decent-enough substitutes.



    Maybe I need to suggest a Dana Andrews festival at some time - a couple of his war films, Laura, Demon. Maybe we'll take Wooden Nickels as tickets.

  8. #28
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    name='D Cairns']

    But I fear the guy may have rented THIS: Night of the Demon (1980) by mistake. It does have a very nasty scene with a claw... in the US, the film Tourneur films is usually called CURSE OF THE DEMON, which might be the problem.


    D. Cairns has a darn good point! In the US look ONLY for "Curse of the Demon" which was the movie's title over here.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon
    Did I hear once that there actually exists a cut without the demon's appearance at the end? Or did I dream it?
    I don't know if there's an actual version of the movie in that form, but the depiction of the Demon was almost never included in the film that was finally released because (a) some of the production team felt that it "lacked realism" while (b) other members felt it was too scary.



    Fortunately, common sense prevailed and we ended up with a great movie in all its completeness!

  10. #30
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    I like the demon. Fake or not, who cares? It just keeps coming and coming, growing, unstoppable. And to be so immense and vicious - I think it helps convey the terror which all the characters understand by the film's end. If the demon had only played paddy-cake paddy-cake, I'm not sure the tension would have been nearly as intense.



    I think the excuse used in the film to drag Dana Andrews all the way from the States for his supposed expertise is pretty lame.

  11. #31
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    I like the Demon also...



    I think the thing about the cut without the Demon or less of it is a mix up with the tale that the Director (Jacques Tournier - I cannot spell his name off the top of my head and its too late to check IMDb... sorry), didn't wish for the Demon to be depicted but the Producers had their way. This story might well be true, probably is, however there is some small debate that JT may not have been so against the depiction of the Demon.



    I'm both for and against the Demon. I think it should not have been shown at the beginning of the movie, but was necessary for the end.

  12. #32
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    I think the quality of the Demon is so good that I'm sorry he didn't make appearances more often. This was a great suit. It's not like some of those blankets-folded-over-foam-rubber and coated in tinfoil monsters - which clearly need to be shown as little as possible, and then only at the very end.



    I think the early-film showing of Demon, and in particular his vicious hacking, is critical so we understand why the characters are so fearful - or that we share that fear for them. Or perhaps when Dana Andrews finally slips him the piece of paper, we're sort of cheering so the bad guy 'gets his' and we know what that punishment will be.



    If the demon only appeared at the end, killing the bad guy, I think its great appearance would have been more startling, perhaps, but none of the preceding tension would have been built.

  13. #33
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    The demon was opposed by both Tourneur and the writer, and it's easy to see why. If we didn't see the demon at the start of the film, we'd be on Dana's side more: he's quite right to resist believing in it, and the more he starts to believe, the more vulnerable he becomes. Tourneur was prepared to allow a glimpse of demon at the end, when it attacks Karswell, but the producers included way too much: and that moment is the one point where the demon is less than effective, clumsily mauling what is obviously a tiny puppet.

    Generally speaking, in producer-talent disputes, if you just assume the director (who has made an otherwise fine film) knows what he's doing, you'll find it all makes sense. This even applies to maniacs like Peckinpah: his working methods may have been questionable, but his goals make total sense if you see things his way -- and seeing things someone else's way is the main pleasure of a great film.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Cairns
    If we didn't see the demon at the start of the film, we'd be on Dana's side more: he's quite right to resist believing in it, and the more he starts to believe, the more vulnerable he becomes.
    I was about to respond to Christine along the same lines, but I doubt I could have framed it so very well.



    Quote Originally Posted by D Cairns
    The demon was opposed by both Tourneur and the writer, and it's easy to see why.
    That's the common behind the scenes tale... but there is some question regarding how much or how little of the Demon Tourneur really wanted in the movie. Undoubtedly there was more of the Demon than wanted by the Director... the question is, was it really very much more?



    I think seeing the Demon at the beginning of the movie is completely wrong and unnecessary. Wrong from the perspective of Dana's character and how his story plays in the movie... and unnecessary for the telling of the opening scene - watch the scene and remove the demon from your mind and you will see how well it would play.



    I certainly would not wish to see more of the Demon in the movie otherwise the model's limitations would have become ever more apparent. Its a good model... but limited in how it could move. It couldn't really do much more than it did.

  15. #35
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    I'm of the camp that believes "If you have a monster film, show the monster".



    If you don't want to make monster movies, fine - shadows, creaky doors, those are great devices, too.



    I understand the reasoning that No Early Demon Helps Justify Dana's Disbelief, but I think the logic for sending for an American 'expert' in English witches is a weak character-origin, at best. I'd have preferred his nametag read,



    "Hello, my name is

    TOKEN AMERICAN FOR

    QUOTA FULFILLMENT
    "



    and left it at that. I can't believe he's hailed as some 'expert' but comes all this way with such a closed mind. I kept waiting for some other character to say, "Why bother? Couldn't you sit at home and be just as dismissive?"



    So, taking the Monster out of a monster film for the sake of propping up a poorly-written character seems odd.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristineCB
    I'm of the camp that believes "If you have a monster film, show the monster".
    But 'Night of the Demon' is NOT a monster movie. It IS a pure ghost story as far as its construction goes and is more to do with mystery and suspense than cheap thrills. The 'if you have a monster, show the monster' view is fine for 'Clash of the Titans' which IS a monster movie, or 'King Kong' or the such like... but with ghost stories like 'Night of the Demon' or 'Cat People' the emphasis should be on suspense and generating a spooky atmosphere. (Of course there are cross overs).



    Yes, the token American was in it so it could sell well in the USA... I agree its annoying. Its the same reason why the Tracy family in 'Thunderbirds' were all voiced by Americans. I like to think its down to the arrogant ignorance of the American studios who presume their local audience is too limited to be able to relate to a non-American hero... whilst the rest of the world tend to have no problem... rather than a limitation of the American audience in reality.



    I would take issue with the notion that 'Night of the Demon' was poorly written... even though the Producers insisted on an American lead in order to please empty American businessmen. You cannot blame the writer for tactical business casting.

  17. #37
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    I'd blame the Brit filmmakers for including Americans as if they believed Dana Andrews was The Hot Ticket To Make Their Fortune.



    I realize it's a witch story but it DOES have a monster in it. If they hated it or didn't like it, fine - let it be a growing ball of smoke, let some giant Fog-like non-creature destroy the enemy and be done with that. But they didn't. They created a MONSTER.



    And an excellent one, too. I love seeing it.



    I see your point in getting rid of the monster - to prop up an already dumb character, but I'm glad that wasn't done - Andrews' character is a weak link, I think, and doing away with good bits of the film almost seems like "two wrongs make it better". I dunno 'bout that.



    But I think there's a better argument for including the monster's early appearance - to let the audience understand why this very powerful warlock (for want of a better label) character can be SO terrified at the end.

  18. #38
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    Sorry Christine, I was busy adding more lines to my post while you replied to it. Sorry about that.



    I'm not going to play ping-pong with you Christine. Except to roll my eyes at you calling it a 'witch-story' when the genre is 'Ghost Story'... but there you go... I guess even my classification is too difficult to swallow from a person like me who so obviously doesn't know what he is talking about.



    Fine... you'd like to see more of the monster... well here it is... I agree its a glorious creation... but was limited to work with with such primitive construction materials.







    I don't think Dana Andrews' character was badly written... but I'd say it is certainly badly played by the oft drunk actor. I doubt he was ever thought to be a 'hot ticket' anywhere... but American studios and distributers will often be more ready to buy a movie for their market if there is an American lead.

  19. #39
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    The reason I referred to NIGHT OF THE DEMON as a witch story is it mentions witchcraft from the opening narration.



    It starts with "using the magic power of ancient runic symbols to call forth these powers of darkness. Through the ages, men have feared and worshipped these creatures. The practice of WITCHCRAFT, the cults of evil have endured and exist to this day."



    I've always considered the summoning of demons and wind-storms to be the province of witchcraft, not ghost stories.



    And in this film, so does Karswell and Harrington.



    I know that, in the airport when Holden (Dana Andrews) arrives, the Press ask him about ghosts, and mention that 'we English like our ghosts', to which Holden replies that "some of my best friends are ghosts."



    We don't see his best friends in this film.



    When he's looking at drawings and etchings, they're of conjured demons, not transluscent women in flowing gowns.



    When we meet KT Kumar of Bombay, he's asked about "devils and demons", not ghosts.



    When Holden is at the library, the librarian brings him an armload of books and says the last requested volume isn't available. "The True Discoveries Of Witches And Demons" is the name. Not ghosts.



    When Karswell meets him in that library, Karswell claims to "have perhaps the finest library in the world on witchcraft and the black arts."



    Not Casper, not Slimer.



    When Holden visits Harrington's funeral, we don't hear any voices from beyond the grave, no apparition rising up, wagging his finger. Instead, we meet Niece Harrington who reads from the professor's diary saying that he's "under some kind of witch's spell."



    That's in the first 17 minutes of the film. By this point, We've seen the conjured demon. Within a few more minutes, we're treated to a conjured windstorm as a 'party favor'. Karswell admits he "miscalculated. Much too much." He says windstorms were the "medieval witch's specialty". Not a medieval ghost's.



    That's why I called this a witch story.

  20. #40
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    OK, it's a story about witches. But it's in the manner of a classic ghost story and is based on one by MR James. Plus "witch story" isn't really a genre. So you're both right.



    I bet Dana Andrews' casting was a huge help in getting the film an American release -- then as now, stars sell pictures, and Britan had few leading men who meant anything to the American market. I do wish somebody else had been chosen, as Andrews was past his best. Imagining the film with somebody who could project the required intelligence and sensitivity, I don't mind him being an American at all, it actually helps to make him a fish out of water. If we had Joseph Cotton in the role, we probably wouldn't mind the idea of an American. Come to think of it, I don't recall anyone objecting to Cotton and Welles in THE THIRD MAN.

    Check out Tourneur's work in CAT PEOPLE to see how he liked to handle "monster movies" -- that should give a good flavour of how he would have treated the demon. Imagine it merely glimpsed ina flash of light as the train passes. Less is more.

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