Thursday 1 March 2018

Carry On Faces in Different Places: Yield to the Night

Here we go with another in my series of blogs looking at some of the cream of British comedy film making from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Although this blog is all about the Carry Ons, believe it or not, there were some other joyous comedy films made away from Peter Rogers Productions. However, given the quality of the actors Peter employed to make his series, it's no wonder that most of them popped up elsewhere.

So far I've looked at the wonderful 1959 crime caper Too Many Crooks , the 1954 domestic comedy starring Dirk Bogarde, For Better For Worse , the big screen spin off Please Sir! and the wonderful Up Pompeii and the brilliant John Gregson and Diana Dors vehicle, Value for Money.
More recently I blogged about the Sid James and Kenneth Connor comedy horror What A Carve Up! and the the Gordon Jackson drama, Floodtide. 

And last week I looked at the Carry On links with the wonderful film I'm All Right Jack

Today I'm going to blog about the 1956 prison drama, Yield to the Night.


What's it about?

Yield to the Night is a 1956 British crime drama film starring Diana Dors. It was directed by J Lee Thompson. The film is based on the novel of the same title published in 1954 by Joan Henry. Dors plays Mary Price Hilton, a woman who has been convicted of murder and sentenced to hang, and she spends her last days in the condemned cell in a British women's prison.The storyline bears a superficial resemblance to the Ruth Ellis case, which had occurred the previous year. The film received much positive critical attention, particularly for the unexpectedly skilled acting of Dors, who had previously been cast solely as a British version of the typical "blonde bombshell.

Who's in it?

The undoubted star of the film in the superb Diana Dors, playing a very different role from what we'd usually expect. Casting aside her usual glamorous persona, Dors shows real acting skill in this downbeat, often traumatic role. She shines throughout. Co-starring with Diana are Yvonne Mitchell as prison matron Hilda MacFarlane, Michael Craig as Jim Lancaster and reliable character actor Geoffrey Keen playing the Prison Chaplain.


Carry On Faces?

Quite a few reliable British character actors appear, however fleetingly in the film. Of those who went on to grace the Carry Ons, special mention must go to the brilliant Harry Locke, who plays Fred Hilton. Harry co-starred in three of the medical Carry Ons - Nurse, Doctor and Again Doctor.

Carry On Doctor guest star Dandy Nichols also appears in the film as Mrs Price, while semi-regular Carry On face, the ever-reliable Marianne Stone crops up in the role of Matron Richardson.

And of course, leading man Michael Craig worked several times for either Peter Rogers or his wife Betty Box, with credits including Doctor in Love, The Iron Maiden and Upstairs and Downstairs. The wonderful Athene Seyler also adds support here as Miss Bligh. Athene played a supporting role in the 1963 district nurse comedy, Nurse On Wheels.

Did you know?

Diana Dors remained intensely proud of her association with this film. It would remain one of her favourite screen performances.

The film was nominated for the Palme D'Or at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.

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