All Night Long (1962): Dearden’s Jazz Noir Melodrama (Modern Othello)

British filmmaker Basil Dearden directed the jazz noir melodrama All Night Long, starring Patrick McGoohan, Marti Stevens, Paul Harris, Keith Michell, Richard Attenborough and Betsy Blair.

Our Grade: B (*** out of *****)

 

All Night Long
All Night Long FilmPoster.jpeg

Nel King and Paul Jarrico, writing under the name Peter Achilles, wrote an updated version of Shakespeare’s Othello, set in the London jazz scene of the early 1960s.

The film features performances by prominent British jazz musicians, Tubby Hayes and John Dankworth, as well as the Americans Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus.

Musician Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris) and his retired singer wife Delia get a wedding anniversary party in London thrown by a wealthy music promoter, Rod Hamilton.

The ambitious drummer Johnny Cousin, who wants to start his own band, promises to persuade Delia to come out of retirement, knowing that this is the only way his band will be backed.

Told that Delia has no intention of resuming her career, Johnny starts manipulating those involved to believe that Delia has been having an affair with Cass, the band’s manager. To that extent, he even alters a tape recording to distort Delia’s private conversation.

Johnny’s back-stabbing costs Cass his job. Delia’s performance of a song, rehearsed solely for the party, furthers Rex’s suspicions that she is unhappy at home. Rex assaults Delia and makes public accusations about her fidelity.

In the end, all involved, including Johnny’s neglected wife Emily, realize that Johnny has fabricated the entire story.

Remarkably for the times, the certain interracial couple is a non-issue in the story, a situation that’s inconceivable in a Hollywood picture of that era.

Cast
Patrick McGoohan as Johnny Cousin
Marti Stevens as Delia Lane
Paul Harris as Aurelius Rex
Keith Michell as Cass
Richard Attenborough as Rod Hamilton
Betsy Blair as Emily
Bernard Braden as Berger
Harry Towb as Phales
María Velasco as Benny
Carol White as Lucille (uncredited)
Dave Brubeck as himself
Keith Christie as himself
Bert Courtley as himself
John Dankworth as himself
Ray Dempsey as himself
Allan Ganley as himself
Tubby Hayes as himself
Geoffrey Holder as himself
Charles Mingus as himself
Barry Morgan as himself
Kenny Napper as himself
Colin Purbrook as himself
Harry Beckett as himself
John Scott as himself
Cilla Black as Twiggy
Chas Hodges as Dave
Dave Peacock as Chas

Note:

TCM showed the movie on May 7, 2020, and again June 4, 2020 as part of a series titled “Jazz on Film.”

Credits:

Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Relph, Bob Roberts, Basil Dearden

Written by Nel King, Paul Jarrico

Music by Philip Green

Cinematography: Edward Scaife

Edited by John D. Guthridge
Production company: Rank Organisation
Distributed by Rank (UK); Colorama Features (US)
Release date: February 6, 1962 (UK); April 17, 1963 (US)
Running time: 91 minutes