The B-Movie Isle: Shout Factory’s Into the Night (Shout Select)
The B-Movie Isle/Adam takes a look at John Landis’ near forgotten gem Into the Night being released by Shout Select. The comedic thriller starring Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer is ripe for rediscovery. How many film director cameos can you spot? Why was this forgotten again? Is this prime Goldblum or Goldblum at his most Goldblum-iest? How much was Landis inspired by Scorsese’s After Hours? Read More …
I love when I find a film from a filmmaker that I had no clue existed. Yes, yes, yes, bad on me that I’ve never checked IMDb for John Landis’ entire filmography. That being said there is always a thrill when you realize there’s something new to see. Landis is a filmmaker that it wasn’t until my mid-teens I realized had directed so many of my favorite comedies; Trading Places, The Blues Brothers, Coming to America. All are top 25 comedies for me. American Werewolf in London… I can’t even begin to describe my love for that film that is the perfect mixture of Horror and Comedy. Into the Night has him making a Thriller with Comedic elements.
Be warned, Into the Night though funny is constructed much in the same way that American Werewolf in London is. That is to say that its comedy is truly funny and its thrills are truly thrilling. The film has no qualms with pulling the rug out from under you mid-laugh. This is something that is done quite often and quite effectively.
The moment I fell in love with Into the Night was twenty minutes in as a group of Iranian hitman try to kill Diana (Pfeiffer). Said Iranian hitman that tries to take Diana out is none other than director John Landis. Diana is able to get away from him and thus begins our film. It’s the moment of escape and the way that Landis plays the role. Landis without vanity plays the stupidest of the Iranian hitmen in the film (there are four). It’s a moment in which a director will do just about anything to entertain you and sums up exactly why I’ve seen this film three times Into the Night since getting the review copy.
Much of one’s enjoyment will also derive from your feelings on Jeff Goldblum as a lead. As Ed Okin, this is prime Goldblum; befuddled, dazed, suttery, witty, egotistical… everything anyone enjoys about a truly great Goldblum performance is here. Into the Night finds Goldblum in the Jimmy Stewart/Cary Grant mold as the confused and very exhausted hero stuck in the middle of a situation he wants no part in. Goldblum as Okin takes everything that the film throws at it; Iranian hitmen, British assassins that oddly resemble David Bowie, Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce McGill as brother and sister and a host of directors in cameos. The actor manages to be the film’s secret weapon easily handling any tonal shift that Landis and screenwriter Ron Koslow throws his way.
Into the Night is as much a love letter to Hitchcock as it is to the City of LA. Landis creates a very specific stage to set his film in LA. From the Valley to LAX to Culver City Studios to Malibu, Landis guides us through an LA cityscape. Landis ensures that these are not your usual jaunts to typical locations but find unique places to stage the film. Landis could not resist the prospect of filming an entire action scene in the LAX terminals, something that could never be done now.
A great entry into the subgenre of bad late night adventures, Into the Night does just about everything and anything a film can do to entertain. Like the best entries of the genres, Adventures in Baby Sitting and After Hours, there’s a degree of cruelty that’s hilarious. Into the Night is Landis at his most nimble and skilled doing what he does best; mixing genres.
Shout Select managed to procure a great transfer of the film. Mostly set at night, the disc is able to produce that specific LA Nighttime look that was so prevalent Post-Terminator (yes, I am aware that this film was produced at the same time). As with any night time shot film contrast and black levels are key and this transfer delivers a very pleasing picture that’s tuned perfectly.
They include the following
- John Landis: “Back Into The Night”
- Jeff Goldblum: “Requiem For An Insomniac”
- Award-Winning Documentary B.B. King Into The Night
- Original Theatrical Trailer
The film comes with three great featurettes totally about 75 minutes of extra content.
John Landis: “Back Into The Night” is a 25 minute long form interview discussion with Landis about the making of the film. Landis packs as many laughs and entertaining stories as the film itself. The story about Jack Nicholson almost being casted in the lead is a highlight of the interview.
Jeff Goldblum: “Requiem For An Insomniac” is a 20 minute interview with the man, the myth, the legend himself. Quite the charming interview from the actor as he recounts his work on the film and working with the various stars and Landis.
B.B. King Into The Night the thirty minute short documentary directed by John Landis about the making of the title song of the film (and the music video). This documentary is similar to the archival featurettes on the Streets of Fire disc released earlier this past summer. It’s this kind of great undiscovered content they place on the disc that make these Shout Select releases so much fun and exciting.
The Bottom Shelf
Into the Night is an film ripe for discovery, add a great compliment of supplemental material make this an easy recommend.