Plot: What’s it about?
I went through a lengthy Charles Bronson phase a few years back. 10 to Midnight is one I know I watched but remembered so little about it. Having recently purchased the latest Blu-Ray edition, I was more than excited to give it another spin. It is certainly a film that should stay with a viewer as its villain does his killings in the nude and is seen bare through much of the film. It might not be Bronson’s best remembered film, but it is quite enjoyable on its own terms, and at least deserves a single viewing. It lacks the full force brutality of some of the Death Wish films, notably the sequels, but certainly makes its own impact. It doesn’t go as gusto as some of those films, and Bronson is a bit more scaled back here than usual, but with the right expectations, one can expect enjoyment.
We meet the film’s antagonist early on in the form of an office equipment repairman named Warren Stacy (Gene Davis). We see from the early moments that he is a troubled individual whose very presence makes those around him uncomfortable. We see him purchasing a movie ticket and he gets very close to the two girls in front of him. In a huge theater, he chooses to sit right next to them and does some flirting. They are very dismissive of his advances, but we realize that he is establishing an alibi as he sneaks off to murder a young couple making love in the woods. Warren chases the female victim who is nude, but as part of his MO, he also strips down to his birthday suit. As clever as Stacy may be, seasoned Detective, Leo Kessler (Bronson) knows most certainly that Stacy is the killer. We follow Kessler and his partner Paul McAnn (Andrew Stevens) as they work together to find justice. There’s also a small angle involving Leo’s daughter, Laurie (Lisa Eilbacher) who is a nursing student and is trying to reconcile with her father. That stuff is fine, but it’s the killer who is the most interesting here. There’s a great scene where Leo and Paul come to Stacy’s apartment to speak with him, and it’s clear here that Leo is not going to let this one slip away. I won’t reveal more of the plot, but to see things unfold is part of the fun. When a film’s hero has to go to drastic lengths to catch a killer, it can leave the viewer unsure just how to feel, but it works.
While not an outright thriller, the film does have some very tense moments. It helps that the cast is top notch. Gene Davis gives such a great and daring performance that it’s a wonder we didn’t see much more from him I’m glad I decided to purchase the film and revisit it as it is much more impactful than I remember it being on my first viewing. It is one I can see myself returning to from time to time. Check it out.
Video: How’s it look?
The back of the case mentions this being a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. I can believe that as there’s a fresh look to the transfer. The 1.85:1 transfer always was pleasing to my eyes, with obvious care going into the mastering. There’s just a bit of grain here and there, but otherwise, this one satisfies all around.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We find a DTS 2.0 mix, that is about as good as it could and should considering the age of the film and source material. The vocals had the clarity I expect and all in all, this should please viewers.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – We have two to choose from here. One is from writer/historian Paul Talbot, who I seem to recall recording some other Bronson films. The second features Producer Pancho Kohner, Casting Director John Crowther, and historian David Del Valle.
- Producing Bronson – Lance Hool sits down and shares some notes with us. There is a lot of detail for a brief chat. The budget is brought up as well as some emotional beats about Bronson and others. It’s well worth checking out.
- Remembering Bronson – For 6 minutes, we hear from actor Robert F. Lyons about Bronson and his conduct on set. It’s a very good chat despite its brevity.
- Knife and Death – Actress Jeana Tomasina sits down and discusses her brief role in the film. It’s interesting to hear her inability to cook and being listed as 5’8, when Bronson didn’t want his daughter in the film to be taller than him. It’s funny because she would’ve been cast in the larger role if she listed her accurate height of 5’7. Like the other features, this is well worth watching.
- Charlie’s Partner – Andrew Stevens gives us some nice notes about his work on the film and what it was like working with Bronson.
- Image Gallery
- Radio Spots
- Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible Cover
The Bottom Line
Perhaps not as highly regarded as some of Bronson’s other work, 10 to Midnight is still a very effective little thriller that collectors will want in their collection. From the crazy and memorable villain, to the way the film unfolds, it is worth checking out. I liked the pacing of the film as well. This disc features great specs and some nice special features as well. Recommended.