Clash by Night (1964)
5th November Barn Dance
After a bad night at the dogs Ernie Peel (Arthur Lovegrove) is persuaded by a couple of crooks to help them out when he drives a bunch of convicts to prison by taking a detour to a barn so that they can break Bart Rennison (Tom Bowman) out. But when Ernie does what he is told and the criminals escape with Rennison they drench the barn in paraffin and tell the rest of the prisoners that they must remain there till morning, not something they are keen on doing as it is the 5th November and fireworks are going off all around. Martin Lord (Terence Longdon) who killed a man for attacking his wife is one of those left behind but knows the area and that the barn has loose panels leading to a chance to go on the run.
"Clash by Night" is a curious movie as it has a reasonable idea and some good actors but it is a movie which you must not think about too much or else all the entertainment is sucked from it. Now the first time I watched "Clash by Night" the story entertained me as we firstly have the danger of the barn doused in fuel and the risk of a firework hitting it. But we also have the catch 22 dilemma for Martin Lord who could go on the run but in doing so he would not only end up with a lousy life but put everyone else in danger. Whilst I won't tell you what happens it is in truth pretty obvious.
The trouble is that when you start to think about "Clash by Night" it starts to fall to bits starting from the simple fact when the bus and prisoners don't reach their destination on time surely they would have been reported missing causing a police hunt. But there are other things such as would just a normal coach and a normal coach driver be transporting prisoners especially those who are murderers. And then there is the fact that the prisoners are carrying personal possessions including matches which you have to wonder whether security was really that slack. Of course all these things are needed for the movie to work but it does fall to bits when you start thinking about it.
Aside from that well it is a case of some familiar British actors but playing forgettable characters. It puts it on par with many a b-movie thriller form the 1960's and not very memorable.
What this all boils down to is that "Clash by Night" is now one of those movies which is more of a movie for those with an interest in old British cinema rather tan those looking to be entertained.
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