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HUBERT CORNFIELD DIRECTS 'THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY'

Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day 1969 Rating: ***1/2

There are two things that must be intentional about THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY: One is fortyish Marlon Brando was proving to still be fit and great looking (and he did); the other is this kidnap-thriller's not one bit thrilling, and director Hubert Cornfield deliberately made a character-driven film more about edgy criminals than the edgy situation they're involved in... 

And kidnapped Pamela Franklin is hardly shown, especially once inside the main location, a French beach house where even a literally fishing cop — flirting with Brando's junky girlfriend (and the passive leader's sister) Rita Moreno — doesn't  evoke suspense...

Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day

Yet it all feels so contentedly and deliberately art-house and extremely dreamlike, leading to the infamous twist ending: And if the kidnapped girl dreamt the entire thing.... and was perhaps recognized (the final shot) by chauffeur Brando... then she may have known him before...

So this sheltered "rich little princess" had a secret crush on her worldly, rugged driver and fantasized about how he'd act as a criminal anti-hero, saving her from the creepy clutches of token wild card Richard Boone, who seems part of another story altogether...

Pamela Franklin kidnapped in The Night of the Following Day

More a slowburn nightmare than dream, impersonating French New Wave during low tide, speckled with moody diatribes from the actors, and within what should be a more dangerous situation, perhaps the kidnapped girl was protected too well... 

But it's her movie, not ours (even the characters names, Chauffeur, Friendly, Leer, Blonde, are from her perspective), which may have been the director's intention all along.  

Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Rita Moreno in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY

Marlon Brando, Richard Boone and Pamela Franklin in The Night of the Following Day
Rita Moreno slaps Marlon Brando in NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY

Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Rita Moreno in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Rita Moreno in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Al Lettieri in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Al Lettieri in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Actual 1960's Universal rings around globe The Night of the Following Day
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin & Richard Boone in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Passive leader Jess Hahn with sister Rita Moreno in NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Pamela Franklin in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Al Lettieri in THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day
Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day
Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day with Rita Moreno
Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day
Marlon Brando in The Night of the Following Day

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