The Night Digger
|The Night Digger|
original film poster
|Directed by||Alastair Reid|
|Produced by||Alan D. Courtney|
|Screenplay by||Roald Dahl|
|Based on||Nest in a Fallen Tree|
by Joy Cowley
|Starring||Patricia Neal |
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Edited by||John Bloom|
The Night Digger is a 1971 British thriller film based on the novel Nest in a Fallen Tree by Joy Cowley. It was adapted by Roald Dahl and starred his then wife Patricia Neal. The Night Digger was the American title; it was originally released in the United Kingdom as The Road Builder.
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.
- Patricia Neal as Maura Prince
- Pamela Brown as Mrs. Edith Prince
- Nicholas Clay as Billy Jarvis
- Jean Anderson as Mrs. Millicent McMurtrey
- Graham Crowden as Mr. Bolton
- Yootha Joyce as Mrs. Palafox
- Peter Sallis as Reverend Rupert Palafox
- Brigit Forsyth as District Nurse
- Sebastian Breaks as Dr. Ronnie Robinson
- Christopher Reynalds as Young Billy
- Sibylla Kay as Whore
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"; while more recently, DVD Talk wrote, "The Night Digger doesn't carry much of a reputation, but I found it highly unusual, and more than satisfying"; Cinema Retro called it "an underrated gem"; and the Radio Times concluded, "director Alastair Reid's neo-Grand Guignol chamber piece exudes a peculiar fascination";
- "The Night Digger (1971)".
- "The Road Builder aka The Night Digger". Turner Classic Movies.
- "The Night Digger". allmovie.com.
- "DVD Savant Review: The Night Digger". www.dvdtalk.com.
- "DVD REVIEW: "THE NIGHT DIGGER" STARRING PATRICIA NEAL - Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s". www.cinemaretro.com.
- "The Road Builder – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
- Stafford, Jeff. "The Road Builder (aka The Night Digger)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
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