Yield To The Night on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review – Diana Dors

Yield To The NightYield To The Night
Yield To The Night is a film released when the late, great Diana Dors was just 25 years old.

However, when I was a kid in the early ’80s, I never knew Diana Dors as a serious actress. I only remembered her for various appearances on TV shows such as Blankety Blank and being the Fairy Godmother in Adam And The Ants’ Prince Charming promo video. She easily earned the moniker of The Blonde Bombshell and The English Marilyn Monroe, and would give any lad… impure thoughts, to put it politely.

Sadly, she passed away at the age of just 52 from ovarian cancer, in 1984. She was married to Alan Lake who took the lead in 1979’s Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair, and just a few months after she died, he took his own life. I hope they found peace.

Back to the plot of this film, and following some very arty opening credits, Mary Hilton (Diana Dors) shoots a woman called Lucy in cold blood, even though – because it’s the ’50s- there’s no blood. Still, everyone can see it’s her because they all rush round the deceased woman, while Mary hands around and then throws the gun at the woman’s feet, as if being caught is what she wants. I’m not sure if DNA was a thing back then, so she might’ve got away with it.

After ending up in prison on a murder charge, at a time when the legal system called for executions, she recounts that although she killed Lucy, what if she’d never met Jim (Michael Craig)? Who’s Jim? As we then learn through one of many flashbacks, we see her meeting him when he came into her perfume shop. He’s a womanising jack of all trades and quite a rotter, but she soon falls in love with him.

Yield To The Night

Mary with prison officer MacFarlane (Yvonne Mitchell).

Throughout further flashbacks, we learn what led Mary to commit her dreadful deed, learning all the while how she’s rather over-dependent on Jim, very clingy and a little bit fanciful in her head with regards to his intentions to her.

As Mary awaits for either the eventual day of judgement, or more hopefully, a reprieve, she must spent the majority of every 24 hours in her cell in which she is watched day and night by prison staff, including MacFarlane (Yvonne Mitchell), with whom she forms a close bond.

Yield To The Night is a solid thriller, with Ms Dors certainly playing against type, as her character in prison is very dowdy; and the title comes the book that the chaplain gives her to read, which has the quote: “For the night is already at hand, and it is well to yield to the night”. She comments, “Perhaps it is well, but I can’t. I want to live. I want it more than ever.”

As per Michael Craig‘s interview in the extras, it’s a shame she didn’t play any other strong parts like this. However, he states he’s not sure whether she was asked to play more, or if she was, but turned them down. She was fantastic in this. Perhaps, in an alternate universe, she went on to make scores of great drama films for many decades to come…

The only thing which rather irks me about this film is… why is her bed about a 2-3ft off the floor? Surely, it would be at the same height as a regular bed? I realised that ties in with director J Lee Thompson‘s (Ice Cold In Alex) rather arty opening credits, such as when the camera first sees Ms Dors walking away from a bench while filming from behind it. Similarly, later, as she’s in Jim’s apartment, the camera pans down to the back of the cupboard that he’s opening, as if cupboard’s really don’t have a back in the ’50s. When it comes to the bed, the height allows her to get off the bed, while the camera then drops lower to show her walking about.

Yield To The Night

Mary and Jim (Michael Craig) in… happier times?

In this new release, while I know the film is almost 65 years old, I can see the picture looks a bit hazy. I doubt this is to do with any sort of restoration (it’s not clear whether anything in that department is new), but you often see a similar thing on Arrow’s releases. I will add that most people won’t notice it, but I tend to spot these things.

The extras are as follows:

  • Michael Craig interview (13:33): The actor who played Jim Lancaster is now 92, and talks about his life and early career briefly, before spending the majority of the time discussing this film. He also says how he couldn’t play the piano, really, but had to pretend that he could. I could tell his hand movements weren’t in sync with the music we hear. As he confirms, the only song he did know is “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” – which he played, but the studio didn’t want to pay for the rights for that one, so just put something completely different over the top.

  • Interview with Melanie Williams (26:49): No, Melanie wasn’t in the film, but she’s a University film student at East Anglia (and film historian, according to the main menu). If you want to listen to her going into it in bigger detail, there you go. I prefer people directly involved.

  • Diana Dors Interview (3:48): One from 1956, or rather an excerpt from Film Fanfare No.12, a British Pathé production. She talks about the film being selected for the Cannes Film Festival,

  • Film Premiere (2:42): An excerpt from British Pathé’s Film Fanfare No.19, live at the premiere of this film, just showing people arriving but without any interview segments. It’s great to see such archive footage and in great quality, although then it does spoil things when you realise that pretty much almost everyone there will now be dead.

  • Behind The Scenes Stills Gallery (1:24): 15 pictures spread over 84 seconds.

The menu features clips from the film set against the main theme music, there are subtitles in English, but just a bog-standard 12 chapters throughout the film. I have a rule of thumb of one every five minutes.

Yield To The Night is out today on Blu-ray, Amazon Video and DVD.

Yield To The Night – Opening Titles

Running time: 99 minutes
Year: 1956
Distributor: Studiocanal
Cat.no: OPTBD4371R0
Released: October 12th 2020
Chapters: 12
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Languages: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 1.37:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50


Director: J Lee Thompson
Producer: Kenneth Harper
Screenplay: John Cresswell, Joan Henry
Novel: Joan Henry
Music: Ray Martin

Mary Hilton: Diana Dors
MacFarlane: Yvonne Mitchell
Jim Lancaster: Michael Craig
Governor: Marie Ney
Chaplain: Geoffrey Keen
Doctor: Liam Redmond
Hill: Olga Lindo
Barker: Joan Miller
Brandon: Marjorie Rhodes
Mason: Molly Urquhart
Maxwell: Mary MacKenzie
Fred: Harry Locke
Roy: Michael Ripper
Doris: Joyce Blair
Bob: Charles Clay
Miss Bligh: Athene Seyler
Nursing Sister: Peggy Livesey
Mrs. Thomas: Mona Washbourne
Mr. Thomas: Alex Finter
Richardson: Marianne Stone
Lucy: Mercia Shaw
Mrs Price: Dandy Nicholls
Lawyer: Charles Lloyd Pack
Alan: John Charlesworth
Police Sergeant: Frank Hawkins