All Night Long is sadly not the eagerly anticipated Lionel Richie biopic we have all been waiting for. It’s a minor cult film that mostly will be hunted down by Patrick McGoohan nuts and/or jazz enthusiasts. It was also directed by Basil Dearden who made a string of fascinating films stretching back to his days at Earling but really broke screen boundaries with his depiction of homosexuality with Victim. It was the first English language film to even use the word “homosexual” never mind the subject matter. His followed up Victim with All Night Long.
McGoohan plays the jazz drummer Johnny Cousin who is performing at a house party. The man behind the party is Rod Hamilton (Richard Attenborough) who is throwing it for Aurelius Rex. Cousin plans to steal Rex’s wife the jazz singer Delia to join the band which he is putting together. Cousin will go to great lengths to achieve his goal even if it destroys their marriage.
It’s the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death so lots of film companies have been re-releasing a lot of the more unconventional filmic takes on the Bard’s work on Blu-Ray this year. All Night Long is one of the loosest adaptations with absolutely none of the Bard’s prose. It’s loosely based on Othello which has been adapted many times and one of the most unconventional Catch My Soul (Reviewed Here) was even directed by non other than Patrick McGoohan in his only feature film directorial effort. McGoohan plays the Lago character while Paul Harris plays the Othello role which is renamed Aurelius Rex.
The film has a slight noir feel which is partly down to the black and white photography but also the psychological take on the source material. The film’s real flaws comes from the fact it thinks it’s this hipper than hip film which references to marijuana and the fact some of the most popular jazz musicians of the day appear. The moment Charles Mingus and Dave Brubeck show up is almost cringe worthy in its self-awareness.
McGoohan’s performance is a mixture of the intensity he was known for but the fact his accent is all over the place makes the performance suffer. He actually played the drums in the film as well. The pacing isn’t up to snuff and at times it becomes a bit of a chore to watch but the tense final moments make up for it. The whole film reminded me of the Hitchcock film Rope due to the fact it’s set pretty much in one room for the entire running time.
Overall All Night Long may not be the best modern adaptation of Shakespeare. However it’s a solid noir take on Othello even if it wasn’t even the first noir Othello because that would be A Double Life. The plot may at times become too convoluted for its own good but the performances and the music makes the finished film worthwhile. The disc’s only features are the trailer along with a stills gallery but the transfer is solid and it also has a booklet.