All Night Long

  • Directed by Basil Dearden
  • United Kingdom, 1961, 91 mins., English

All Night Long takes the tragic sweep of Othello and narrows it into a brilliant drawing room thriller set in the stylish swinging ’60s jazz scene of London. Wealthy jazz aficionado Rod Hamilton (Richard Attenborough) hosts a star-studded anniversary celebration for bandleader Aurelius Rex and his wife Delia, a recently retired singer. What starts out as a lively night of drinking and music rapidly turns sour when ambitious drummer Johnnie Cousin, hoping to coax Delia out of retirement and into his own band, sets a plan in motion to split the couple apart. Unfolding its story of passion and deceit over the course of a single smoke-filled, booze-soaked night, All Night Long features a refreshingly matter-of-fact approach to the protagonists’ mixed-race marriage, slick black-and-white cinematography, and show-stopping performances by the party’s “guests”: jazz legends Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Johnny Dankworth, and Tubby Hayes (all playing themselves.) “The smoky interiors and musical interludes only add texture to the increasingly volatile atmosphere… [Dearden provides] a subversively searing focus on complex social issues normally banished behind closed doors.”—Slant Magazine.

Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller