Black Day Blue Night (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film is your basic sweaty American desert noir story. Everyone mops their brows. Crimes occur. Criminals flee the police.  Innocents may be in the way. But who is innocent?

The film begins as an armed women (Mia Sara) interrupts some coupling between her husband and an attractive blonde (Michelle Forbes) in a motel. The wife is obviously shy and meek, and no gunfire is exchanged. Both women just want to get away from the creepy husband so, even though they are strangers, they end up leaving together. They get caught in a rain storm, and end up stuck in the mud on the side of the road. As they prepare to bed down inside the car, they see a face at the window. It's a hitchhiking drifter stuck in the storm. Creeped out and scared, the women use their weapon to drive him off into the soggy night. The women run into him again the next morning in a cafe, but this time they judge him harmless and attractive, and the three eventually drive off on a road trip together: two women who do not really know each other and a drifter (Gil Bellows) carrying all of his earthly possessions in a single suitcase.

Meanwhile, a police officer (J.T. Walsh) is tracking down some thieves who robbed an armored truck and shot a cop in the getaway process. Only one of the thieves is still at large - a man, carrying a single suitcase full of money.

The cop gets an unexpected break in his pursuit. Somebody spent one of the marked bills from the robbery. It was a blonde - our blonde. The nature of the road trip changes somewhat because the three strangers in the old red Cadillac become fugitives, although they are not immediately aware of that fact.

The cop and the three fugitives finally meet up in the desert.

There you have the basic set-up. To say more would spoil the fun.

This is one of those films that started with a good enough script. If somebody like Tarantino had read the script and liked it and made it his own, Black Day Blue Night might be remembered today as a noir classic. As it is, the screenwriter also had to direct the film with a budget of about sixty cents, and he had no theatrical distribution. Frankly, J.S. Cardone wasn't much of a director at the time, either. Altogether too many scenes consist entirely of facial close-ups. (To mitigate this criticism, let me say that I thought Cardone brought a lot more pizzazz to his direction of Outside Ozona, a similar noir which he wrote and directed three years later.)

Bottom line: the film is virtually forgotten. Black Day Blue Night is not even on DVD in Region 1, and it isn't available in a widescreen version anywhere on any medium, at least to my knowledge, but it's a respectable genre script, filled with the usual twists and turns, and a strange, unexpected, heartbreaking ending which is perfectly appropriate for any noir true to its roots. If you like the whole American Noir thing, and can overlook the non-existent production values, you should enjoy the story, the steamy nudity, and the sleazy pursuit by J.T. Walsh as the tough cop.

Black Day, Blue Night (132)

DVD INFO:  This film is not available on a Region 1 DVD. The link to the left leads to the Dutch Region 2 DVD. It is absolutely bare-bones. It has a menu that says "play movie" or "select chapters". The transfer itself is a 4:3 version, and the original movie is not very well lit or photographed to begin with.

 If you are thinking of buying DVDs from outside your region, read this first.



Gil Bellows: buns

Mia Sara: everything.

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C. Adequate genre film. Might have been a really good one with a top director and a decent budget.

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