I am a great fan of a rather nebulous sub-genre of film. I can best describe them as night journeys: films which involve an extended, nocturnal trip through a land or cityscape.
(Hey, even written a novel about such a theme, if you want to check it out – or better still, buy it!!
Films I’ve enjoyed that fit this hazy category are: After Hours, Eyes Wide Shut
Caught on a Train even The Polar Express.
Do any of the members know of any other such films?
Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch) – obviouslyDark City (Alex Proyas)American Graffiti (George Lucas)Escape from New York (John Carpenter)Eraserhead (David Lynch)Bringing Out the Dead (Marty Scorsese)
A good portion of Taxi Driver
Almost all of Blood Simple takes place at night.
Hard to say what time of day it is supposed to be, but I think MIRRORMASK might qualify.
And even if it doesn’t, I get a chance to promote a film that I think has been undeservedly ignored.
the scenes where they’re following the kidnapper through the city at the end of high and low fit the description i think. the scene on the street with all the junkies is absolutely amazing, and i can’t think of many black and white scenes as visually beautiful.
parts of the third man particularly the end sort of fit too.
The Informer…and why not Ascenseur pour l’échafaud..and plenty others which i can’t think of right now..
I’d had to say 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. Although parts of the movie do take place during the daytime, a large amount of the film is centered on the harrowing nocturnal journey of two girls and an illegal abortion in Communist Romania.
And speaking of Romanian films, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu takes place during one night only. Terrific film by the way!
You didn’t ask in terms of quality so I’ll point out the whole subgenre of this kind of film in the 1980s teen movies: Adventures in Babysitting, License to Drive, 16 Candles (although I guess the latter two are nocturnal journeys through suburbs). I also have hazy memories of an early Keanu Reeves teen vehicle called The Night Before. There’s also the awful Blake Edwards film, Blind Date. And I guess you can count the Hangover as well in that genre.
Stalker. Not really during the night but its rather dark and one of the best journey films I’ve seen.
Two of my favorite films, Caro Reed’s The Third Man (1949) and Odd Man Out (1947) take place mostly at night in the cities of Vienna and Belfast respectively. I would recommend both for their incredible cinematography and breathtaking night scenes. Those are the obvious examples.
Another lesser known film I would recommend is Contraband (1940). It is a Powell & Pressburger production directed by Michael Powell. It’s U.S. release title was Blackout. This movie is a little comedy thriller gem and is reminiscent of early Hitchcock films The Lady Vanishes and The Thirty-Nine Steps. It stars Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson who are kidnapped by Nazi spies that have been operating underground in London’s Soho. Part of what makes Contraband unique is that it was shot during actual blackout conditions, turning London into a labyrinthian maze of darkened streets and mysterious alley ways. I would recommend this film to all.
I’m surprised Night of the Hunter, with its great river journey, hasn’t been mentioned.
Jules Dassin’s Night and the City should be here too. It’s a masterpiece.
Sweet Smell of Success
i just thought of elevator to the gallows, what a wonderful film.
Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog, Won Kar Wai’s Falling angels, and most of zombie movies
Most of Werckmeister Harmonies takes place at night… Or is it just the climatic scenes? Anyway, the scenes at night in that film are astounding (as are the rest of them).
David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Carnival of Souls, and Les Yeux sans Visage are excellent late-night trips for me
Halloween (John Carpenter)
Fireworks (Kenneth Anger)
David Fincher’s “The Game”… most of which takes place at night and one of the only films in recent years to make San Francisco look sinister…