Rambling Reviewer, “Into the Night”


Sleep is one of those things that we don’t always get when we want it, and for Jeff Goldblum as Ed Okin, he doesn’t seem to get any at all. He’s troubled by his boring job and his wife’s inattention. His friend tells him to take a trip to Vegas and have fun. After falling asleep in a conference meeting and failing to give an answer when he’s called upon, he drives home at noon to take a nap. Instead he sees his wife with another man. Instead of going in he returns to work and comes home as usual and says nothing about it. Later that night he drives to the Los Angeles airport, parks, and thinks about what to do. His decision is made for him when he sees a man killed by four assailants. The man’s companion, an attractive blonde, runs to his car and asks him to drive her to safety. Diana, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, then asks him to drive her to a marina where her former lover Jack Caper (the name should tip you off) keeps his yacht.  But Jack isn’t there and Jack’s friend won’t help and the four assassins show up on their heels. Next, she asks to be taken to Hollywood. They go to an apartment full of Elvis memorabilia and Diana’s brother appears as an Elvis impersonator. After they argue about who owes who money, Ed leaves, only to find that his car has been towed. Diana again asks for his help but he’s had enough – until the attackers arrive again. Diana resorts to stealing her brother’s car – a big-finned white Cadillac. After another stop where Diana meets an actress friend, she reluctantly drives him to the impound yard and reveals what she brought into the country and what the assailants want. Ed says she should contact the police. Instead she asks Ed to contact her friend, Hamid Moratti.  But the night is still young, and there are miles to go before he sleeps.
There are more twists and turns in this movie than in any other I’ve seen. If you are an insomniac, this will not help you go to sleep. It was directed by John Landis from a script by Ron Koslow. Jeff Goldblum’s part had first been offered to Jack Nicholson, who turned it down. His reason was there wasn’t enough action taken by the lead character. Jamie Lee Curtis was set to play Diana but had to back out just before production started. John Landis liked having cameos by other directors in his movies. Into the Night featured seventeen, including: Roger Vadim; Jonathan Demme; Paul Mazursky; Lawrence Kasdan; Don Siegel; Amy Heckerling; David Cronenberg, and John Landis himself. Some forty locations in greater Los Angeles were used in the film, including: Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Marina del Ray docks, downtown Los Angeles, and Century City. The costume design was done by designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis. The evocative blues sounds of B.B. are heard through much of the soundtrack. This black comedy is not to be missed.
Christian Esquevin is a member of the Coronado Island Film Festival Board of Directors, an avid film aficionado, and the creator of the blog Silver Screen Modes which focuses on the fashions and films of classic Hollywood. He is also the author and researcher for a stunning tabletop book Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Labelon fashion designer and icon, Gilbert Adrian, the chief fashion designer for MGM studios from 1928 to 1941.

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