The Night Digger

The Night Digger
Night digger.jpg
original film poster
Directed byAlastair Reid
Produced byAlan D. Courtney
Screenplay byRoald Dahl
Based onNest in a Fallen Tree
by Joy Cowley
StarringPatricia Neal
Pamela Brown
Nicholas Clay
Jean Anderson
Christopher Reynalds
Peter Sallis
Music byBernard Herrmann
CinematographyAlex Thomson
Edited byJohn Bloom
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 12 May 1971 (1971-05-12) (U.S.)
Running time
110 min
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The Night Digger is a 1971 British thriller film based on the novel Nest in a Fallen Tree by Joy Cowley about two women who are visited by a suspicious handy man.[1] It was adapted by Roald Dahl and starred his then wife Patricia Neal.[2] The Night Digger was the American title; it was originally released in the United Kingdom as The Road Builder.[3]

Plot[]

In a decaying mansion on the outskirts of London, middle-aged spinster Maura Prince (Patricia Neal) lives a life of drudgery caring for her blind and domineering mother (Pamela Brown). Into their dysfunctional lives, a handsome stranger appears, riding on a motorbike and looking for work as a handyman. Young Billy Jarvis (Nicholas Clay) soon makes himself indispensable around the house, but his angelic features mask dysfunctions that threaten both women's lives.

Cast[]

Critical reception[]

In a contemporary review, the New York Times wrote "It begs for empathy for its tortured principals, but despite the clearly dedicated contributions of Patricia Neal, Roald Dahl, her scenarist-husband; Pamela Brown and a young newcomer, Nicholas Clay, the strain on credibility is a good deal more notable than the impact on the emotions";[4] while more recently, a reviwer for DVD Talk wrote "The Night Digger doesn't carry much of a reputation, but I found it highly unusual, and more than satisfying".[5] Cinema Retro called it "an underrated gem";[6] and the Radio Times concluded "director Alastair Reid's neo-Grand Guignol chamber piece exudes a peculiar fascination".[7]

References[]

  1. ^ "The Night Digger (1971)".
  2. ^ "The Road Builder aka The Night Digger". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. ^ "The Night Digger". allmovie.com.
  4. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9506EEDD1E3BE73ABC4B52DFB366838A669EDE
  5. ^ "DVD Savant Review: The Night Digger". www.dvdtalk.com.
  6. ^ "DVD REVIEW: "THE NIGHT DIGGER" STARRING PATRICIA NEAL - Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s". www.cinemaretro.com.
  7. ^ "The Road Builder – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.

Further reading[]

External links[]