Night Tide


Dir. Curtis Harrington, B/W Sound 01:24:00

Page Contents


The late Curtis Harrington started out after graduating from UCLA film school as one of the best of the avant-garde filmmakers of the 1950s. His short films were original, inventive and highly emotive of the Los Angeles of his youth. With NIGHT TIDE, he combined his experimental background with a love for the horror/mystery genre of his youth exemplified by the films of the great Val Lewton. Although known today in rough, public domain copies of unbearable quality, the Milestone video mastering of NIGHT TIDE from the original 35mm negative proves the film to be a brilliantly photographed and eerily atmospheric classic of independent cinema. Dennis Hopper, in his first starring role, proves himself to be years ahead of his comtemporary actors with this subtle, cool performance with an edgy sense of danger.

Johnny Drake, a young sailor on leave and at loose ends, wanders the ramshackle amusement piers of a seaside community. Shyly, he strikes up a conversation with a dark-haired girl listening to jazz at the local coffee shop. This is Mora, a lovely, ethereal young woman who turns out to be one of the piers' prize exhibits - a living mermaid! Naturally, Johnny doesn't buy the old fish tale that this troubled girl is a true denizen of the deep, but disturbing and tantalizing clues start to hint at a supernatural explanation for her otherworldly behavior. Who is the strange Woman in Black who mutters in an indecipherable tongue and seems to taunt Mora with memories of an earlier aquatic existence? Why does Mora share such an affinity with the local, what really happened between Mora and her two previous boyfriends, the ones whose drowned bodies wash up on a lonely stretch of beach?

Will Johnny find out the answers before it's too late, or will the siren song of an ancient race lure him into the sea and the night tide of a watery death?

[Source: Milestone Films]

Other Credits

Cast: Dennis Hopper