The Midnight Story (1957)

87 or 89 mins | Drama | August 1957

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Eyes of Father Tomasino and Appointment with a Shadow . The Midnight Story was also a working title for a 1955 Universal film, The Price of Fear , but the two pictures are unrelated. According to contemporary news items, Mark Stevens Productions purchased the screen rights to Edwin Blum's unproduced script The Eyes of Father Tomasino in early Aug 1955 and announced that it would present the drama first on Lux Video Theatre , as a kind of preview for the feature production. Buzz Kulik directed Keefe Brasselle in the broadcast, which aired on the NBC television network on 22 Sep 1955. In Mar 1957, Stevens sold the screen rights to Universal.
       According to information in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, the Academy categorized the script as an adaptation, although the studio had identified it as a screen original. Jul 1956 HR news items add Donald Randolph to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Reviews noted that some scenes in the picture were shot in North Beach, the Italian-American section of San Francisco. Modern sources add Bobby Barber, Richard Benedict, Chuck Hamilton , John Indrisano, David Leonard, Ralph Montgomery, Chris Robinson, Hall Taggart, Sammee Tong, Joe Turkel , Philip Van Zandt and Paul Weber to the cast. It is possible that the viewed print was edited, and some of these actors were in excised ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Eyes of Father Tomasino and Appointment with a Shadow . The Midnight Story was also a working title for a 1955 Universal film, The Price of Fear , but the two pictures are unrelated. According to contemporary news items, Mark Stevens Productions purchased the screen rights to Edwin Blum's unproduced script The Eyes of Father Tomasino in early Aug 1955 and announced that it would present the drama first on Lux Video Theatre , as a kind of preview for the feature production. Buzz Kulik directed Keefe Brasselle in the broadcast, which aired on the NBC television network on 22 Sep 1955. In Mar 1957, Stevens sold the screen rights to Universal.
       According to information in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, the Academy categorized the script as an adaptation, although the studio had identified it as a screen original. Jul 1956 HR news items add Donald Randolph to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Reviews noted that some scenes in the picture were shot in North Beach, the Italian-American section of San Francisco. Modern sources add Bobby Barber, Richard Benedict, Chuck Hamilton , John Indrisano, David Leonard, Ralph Montgomery, Chris Robinson, Hall Taggart, Sammee Tong, Joe Turkel , Philip Van Zandt and Paul Weber to the cast. It is possible that the viewed print was edited, and some of these actors were in excised scenes. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Jun 1957.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jun 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 Jun 57
p. 8.
Harrison's Reports
15 Jun 57
p. 95.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1957.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1957.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Jun 57
p. 418.
New York Times
4 Jul 57
p. 16
New York Times
5 Jul 57
p. 14.
The Exhibitor
26 Jun 57
p. 4344.
Variety
12 Jun 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Spec photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Asst casting
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Appointment with a Shadow
The Eyes of Father Tomasino
Release Date:
August 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 July 1957
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1957
Production Date:
16 July--mid August 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
5 June 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8674
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
87 or 89
Length(in feet):
8,048
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18247
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When Father Tomasino, a much-loved priest, is stabbed to death in a dark alley, the Italian-American community of North Beach in San Francisco is stunned. No one is more shocked and angry, however, than traffic officer Joe Martini, a former orphan whom Father Tomasino had guided into adulthood. Explaining that the priest was the closest thing he had to family, Joe asks homicide detective Lt. Kilrain if he may assist with the murder investigation. Kilrain impatiently sends him away, and after Joe reveals that a man named Sylvio Malatesta was enduring "the tortures of the damned" during the funeral, and should therefore be considered a suspect, the lieutenant angrily threatens to fire him. Determined to discover the truth, Joe resigns from the force and visits Sylvio at his waterfront restaurant. Joe introduces himself as a friend of Father Tomasino's and explains that the priest thought Sylvio might be able to give him a job. Sylvio treats Joe kindly and invites him home for dinner, and Joe is touched by the jocularity and affection that fills Sylvio's home. It soon becomes apparent that Sylvio, his mother, and his younger brother "Peanuts" are earnestly seeking a husband for Sylvio's pretty cousin Anna, who recently has come from Italy to live with the family. Sylvio takes a liking to Joe and convinces him to move in with his family. Joe soon finds that he, along with so many others in the neighborhood, is becoming fond of the generous and good-natured Sylvio, although because Sylvio restlessly paces the floor at night, his suspicion lingers. Anna explains that Sylvio lost the woman he loved while fighting in Europe during World ... +


When Father Tomasino, a much-loved priest, is stabbed to death in a dark alley, the Italian-American community of North Beach in San Francisco is stunned. No one is more shocked and angry, however, than traffic officer Joe Martini, a former orphan whom Father Tomasino had guided into adulthood. Explaining that the priest was the closest thing he had to family, Joe asks homicide detective Lt. Kilrain if he may assist with the murder investigation. Kilrain impatiently sends him away, and after Joe reveals that a man named Sylvio Malatesta was enduring "the tortures of the damned" during the funeral, and should therefore be considered a suspect, the lieutenant angrily threatens to fire him. Determined to discover the truth, Joe resigns from the force and visits Sylvio at his waterfront restaurant. Joe introduces himself as a friend of Father Tomasino's and explains that the priest thought Sylvio might be able to give him a job. Sylvio treats Joe kindly and invites him home for dinner, and Joe is touched by the jocularity and affection that fills Sylvio's home. It soon becomes apparent that Sylvio, his mother, and his younger brother "Peanuts" are earnestly seeking a husband for Sylvio's pretty cousin Anna, who recently has come from Italy to live with the family. Sylvio takes a liking to Joe and convinces him to move in with his family. Joe soon finds that he, along with so many others in the neighborhood, is becoming fond of the generous and good-natured Sylvio, although because Sylvio restlessly paces the floor at night, his suspicion lingers. Anna explains that Sylvio lost the woman he loved while fighting in Europe during World War II, and that he has been tormented by this ever since. Soon Joe and Anna fall in love, and when Joe becomes convinced that Sylvio was playing cards at the Vallejo Club on the night of the murder, he forgets his suspicions and proposes to her. During their festive engagement party, Sgt. Jack Gillen, Joe's old friend from the police force, beckons Joe into his car. Gillen and Detective Frank Wilkins warn Joe that Sylvio's alibi was a lie. On the night of the murder, Sylvio accompanied his friend, Charlie Cuneo, to the Horizon Club, where Charlie had arranged to meet a married woman named Veda Pinelli for a date. Charlie and Veda then departed, leaving Sylvio alone for the evening. Later that night, Anna demands to know what is gnawing at Joe, but he remains silent. Visiting the orphanage the next day, Anna learns that Joe was once a policeman, but at the station, Gillen refuses to tell her why her fiancé left the force. Upstairs, Joe and Kilrain learn from Veda that Sylvio had been absent from the Horizon Club when Father Tomasino was killed. Joe persuades Kilrain to let him probe Sylvio for a motive before making an arrest. Returning home, Joe seems desperate but refuses to tell the tearful Anna what is wrong. He visits Sylvio at the darkened restaurant and delivers a story intended to test his friend's innocence: The police believe that Joe is the priest's killer. The man who can destroy his alibi is blackmailing him, and he plans to kill him. Sylvio warns Joe not to commit this crime, as it will eat away at him. Sylvio then confesses that because his previous sweetheart had planned to leave him, he killed her. Realizing that Sylvio must have confessed his sin to Father Tomasino, Joe finally accuses Sylvio of the priest's murder. Sylvio admits to killing Father Tomasino, whose gentle, knowing eyes tormented him, but explains that he was only trying to protect his family. Sylvio attacks Joe, but when the young man gasps that he, too, would do anything to protect his family, Sylvio throws down his knife and rushes into the street. A truck hits him, and as he lays dying, Sylvio asks for and receives Joe's forgiveness. Later, Joe tells Gillen and Kilrain that he was unable to confirm that Sylvio was the murderer, and then attempts to console his new family. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.