Dead of Night (1945)

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

An architect goes to a house where a gathered tell tales of the supernatural.


Genre

Horror, Anthology

Characters/Groups

Walter Craig - Mervyn Johns

Eliot Foley - Roland Culver

Mrs. Foley - Mary Merrall

Joan Cortland - Googie Withers

Dr. Van Straaten - Frederick Valk

Hugh Grainger - Antony Baird

Sally O'Hara - Sally Ann Howes

The Hearse Driver

Dr. Albury - Robert Wyndham

Joyce Grainger - Judy Kelly

Hearse Driver - Miles Malleson

The Christmas Party

Jimmy Watson - Michael Allan

Francis Kent

Mrs. Watson

Mrs. O'Hara - Barbara Leake

The Haunted Mirror

Peter Cortland - Ralph Michael

Antique Dealer - Esme Percy

The Golfer's Story

George Parratt - Basil Radford

Larry Potter - Naunton Wayne

Mary Lee - Peggy Bryan

Fred - Peter Jones

The Ventriloquist's Dummy

Maurice Olcott - Allan Jeayes

Maxwell Frere - Michael Redgrave

Beulah - Elisabeth Welch

Sylvester Kee - Hartley Power

Mitzi - Magda Kun

Harry Parker - Garry Marsh

Hugo Fitch

Mrs. Craig - Renee Gadd

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Walter Craig is driving his car in the country when he arrives at a country estate owned by Eliot Foley. He meets Eliot who introduces himself and tells him that they need to build two more bedrooms and then they go inside the house. As Walter and Eliot walk through the house and talk, Walter starts to have deja vu. Eliot introduces Walter to the other guests including Mrs. Foley, Joan Cortland, Dr. Van Straaten, Hugh Grainger, and Sally O'Hara. As Walter sits down, he at first thinks he is dreaming. He walks up to Dr. Van Straaten and knows he is a psychiatrist, and says he has seen him in his dreams. Dr. Van Straaten thinks Walter must have seen him in the newspapers. Walter continues that everyone in the room has been in his dreams. They think maybe they also saw them in newspapers or around town, but he says that in his dream, they are all together in the same room they are in. He says there is a sixth person that comes in his dream later who he describes. Mrs. Foley and Eliot tell him that they believe him as does everyone else except for Dr. Van Straaten. Hugh then starts his story on the supernatural.

The Hearse Driver

During a race, Hugh crashed his car, seriously injuring himself. In the hospital seven days later, Dr. Albury asks Joyce Grainger how long Hugh has been in the hospital. He tells her that he is worried about Hugh's fever. Hugh wakes from his fever and mistakes Joyce for someone named Peggy from Scotland. Hugh falls back into his fever, but eventually his fever breaks. Hugh flirts with Joyce and eventually asks her to marry him. During the night as he is reading, he hears a voice outside his window and when he looks outside, he sees a Hearse Driver who jokingly tells him that there is just room for one inside. He tells Dr. Albury about what he saw and Dr. Albury says it was something from his psychological crisis of almost dying. In time, Hugh gets better and leaves the clinic. As he is waiting to get on the bus, someone asks him what time it is and it happens to be 4:25 the same time as when he saw the Hearse Driver. Hugh is about to get on the bus when the bus driver, who looks exactly like the Hearse Driver, tells him there is just room for one inside. Hugh in shock, doesn't get on the bus and shortly after, the bus crashes.

Hugh tells the others that if he hadn't seen the Hearse Driver, he would have gotten on the bus. Dr. Van Straaten suggests that Hugh was still struggling with the psychological stress from his crash, which made him reluctant to go inside any vehicle. Joyce arrives at the house ans asks Hugh to pay her cab fair as she doesn't have any money. Dr. Van Straaten still doesn't believe and when Walter sees him tapping his glasses, he remembers that in his dreams, Dr. Van Straaten breaks his glasses and then the room goes dark, Eliot mentions the death of a man and then his dream turns into a nightmare. Sally is the next to tell her story of strange occurrence.

The Christmas Party

A year ago during Christmas time in Somerset, she was asked to go to a party put on by Mrs. Watson. Jimmy Watson is also at the party and he suggests they play sardines which is a sort of hide-and-go-seek. Sally is chosen as the one to hide and she goes upstairs. Jimmy finds her first and tells her that everyone that finds her packs into the hiding place. She tells him that she is cold and Jimmy tells her that it is a supernatural cold and the house is haunted. They go to a new hiding place somewhere in the attic and Jimmy tells her about a murder in 1860 that was committed in the house. Jimmy tries to kiss Sally and she runs away. She enters a room and hears a noise and sees Francis Kent whimpering on a chair. He tells her that she is in his and his sister Constance's bedroom. He tells her that Constance hates him and has told him that she would like to kill him. Sally puts Francis to bed and then hears people calling her name. She runs to where the other kids are and then tells Mrs. Watson about Francis. Jimmy then tells her that Francis was the one murdered in the house by Constance.

Dr. Van Straaten doesn't believe Sally's story and Joyce tells everyone that when she was a nurse there were times when unexplained things happened. Walter says that things in his dreams sometimes change and that in one instance he hit Sally, but not this time as she will be leaving soon. Mrs. O'Hara arrives at the house and takes her away to go to her godfather Edwin's birthday party. Joan is next to tell her story.

The Haunted Mirror

On Peter Cortland's birthday, Joan comes home with a mirror for Peter's birthday. Peter hangs the mirror up and Joan tells him that she got a ride with Guy. As Peter is getting ready to go out, the background of the mirror changes to some other room's background, but then changes back again. At dinner, Joan notices that Peter seems broody. He tells her about what he saw in the reflection in the mirror. When they get home, Peter looks in the mirror again and the background changes once more, but this time for longer. During the next few weeks, Joan and Peter spent the time looking for a house in Chelsea. Peter eventually tells Joan that the mirror keeps on showing him the other room for longer periods of time and he is worried that the other room in the room is trying to claim him which is evil. He offers to postpone the wedding. Joan walks with Peter to the mirror and has him look in the mirror and he tells her that at this point, he can't even see her in the mirror. She forces him to look into it while holding his hand and the mirror image returns to normal. Time passe and Peter is able to look at the mirror again. On the day that Joan goes to see her mother, the mirror changes again to the other bedroom. While out with her mother, Joan goes to speak with the Antique Dealer who sold her the mirror. The Antique Dealer tells her that the mirror belonged to a Mr. Francis Etherington who died in Marsden-Lacey in 1836. He married an heiress named Mrs. Perry who he eventually murdered and then slit his own throat. Joan goes home to find Peter staring into the mirror. He accuses her of cheating on him and she tries to tell him that the mirror is causing him to act the way he is. He starts to strangle her and Joan uses a candlestick to break the mirror, freeing Peter from its effects.

Dr. Van Straaten tells the others that Joan's story is a case of cryptomnesia, the transmissibility of an illusion by one person to another. Walter tells Dr. Van Straaten that he thinks his dream was a warning and he wants to leave. Dr. Van Straaten stops him and asks him to stay. Walter tells Eliot that he is leaving and Eliot tells him a story that happened to some friends of his.

The Golfer's Story

At the golf club in Windlesham, the stars of the club, George Parratt and Larry Potter were only rivals on the golf course until they met Mary Lee. In the end they decide to have a golf competition to decide who would be able to marry Mary. The game goes back and forth, but in the end George wins. Larry then commits suicide by walking into the lake. George and Mary get engaged and George goes to play golf with Eliot. As they reached the area near the lake, George hears Larry speaking to him. He accuses him of being a cheater and George's golf game becomes terrible. George goes to the bar and orders a whiskey from Fred. Larry appears to George and tells him that the recording angel has proof that George cheated at golf. Larry tells George that he is going to haunt him unless he leaves Mary and gives up golf. George agrees to leave Mary, but refuses to give up golf. He begs Larry to change his mind on golf and Larry agrees. As Larry is trying to go back to Heaven, he can't remember the hands signs to get there. Fred walks back to the bar and sees George making odd gestures as George tries to help Larry remember how to transport back. George then says that he will no longer break his engagement to Mary since Larry can't keep his side of the bargain. The wedding happens and as the ghost rules state, Larry stays a constant six feet maximum from George. Mary asks George to kiss him, but George feels awkward with Larry around. Mary says it is time to go to bed, and as George is doing gestures to try and help Larry figure out how to travel back, he vanishes. Larry unfortunately wasn't looking and walks into the bedroom.

Everyone laughs at Eliot's story. Dr. Van Straaten reminds Walter that the horror soon starts after Eliot mentions a man died, which must be Larry. Mrs. Foley and Joyce go to make dinner and Dr. Van Straaten tells his story.

The Ventriloquist's Dummy

He brings up the case of Maxwell Frere who was charged with the attempted murder of Sylvester Kee. A fellow psychiatrist named Maurice Olcott asked Dr. Van Straaten his opinion on the case. Maxwell is brought before Dr. Van Straaten and Maxwell tells him that Hugo Fitch is the only one that can help him and blames Hugo for what he did. Sylvester goes to the Chez Beulah Nightclub and is greeted by Beulah. They go to watch Maxwell's routine and during the routine, Maxwell brings Hugo to Sylvester's table. Maxwell figures out that Sylvester is also a ventriloquist and Hugo offers to work with Sylvester. Hugo says he doesn't want to sing and wants to sit with Sylvester. Hugo again tells Sylvester that he wants to work with him and calls Maxwell a cheap hat. Maxwell slaps Hugo and then ends his show. Sylvester goes to Maxwell's dressing room and Maxwell asks Sylvester what Hugo said. Sylvester tells Maxwell that he would never steal his act, and Maxwell tells him to leave. Later, Sylvester goes to the Imperial Palace Hotel in London. He sees Maxwell who tells him that he walked out of Joe Green's show, because Hugo didn't like it. Mitzi and Harry Parker walk into the bar and Mitzi goes to pick up Hugo. As she goes to pick him up, Hugo warns her to leave him alone or he will punch her. She walks back to Harry and tells him to demand Maxwell apologize to her. Hugo continues to insult Mitzi and Harry punches Maxwell until he is stopped by Sylvester. Sylvester and Maxwell go to Maxwell's room and he tells Sylvester that Hugo is trying to ruin him. Maxwell accuses Sylvester of trying to steal Hugo and Sylvester goes to his room. Sylvester wakes up to someone banging on his door and when he opens it, Maxwell demands to know where Hugo is. Maxwell finds Hugo on Sylvester's bed and shoots Sylvester. Dr. Van Straaten has the police bring Hugo back to Maxwell. Hugo tells Maxwell that he is leaving him for Sylvester and Maxwell destroys Hugo to Dr. Van Straaten's shock. After Sylvester recovers, he goes to see Maxwell in the mental hospital and Maxwell speaks to him using Hugo's voice.

Dr. Van Straaten ends his story and tells them that Maxwell is a case of dual identity. As Hugh is handing Dr. Van Straaten a drink, he breaks Van Straaten's glasses. The light's go out and Eliot says George is dying on them. Hugh tells Walter that George is Eliot's power plant. Walter asks to be left alone with Dr. Van Straaten and after the others leave, Walter strangles Dr. Van Straaten to death. Walter relives episodes from the stories he heard, but with him in them.

Walter wakes up from the alarm and Mrs. Craig asks him what is wrong. She answers the phone and Eliot asks him to come to his estate for some work. Walter then drives to the estate.