Yield To The Night, is film well worth watching as a filmmaker, made in the late 1950’s as a protest against capital punishment and inspired by the hanging of Ruth Ellis.
The acting, cinematography, lighting, screenplay, direction, editing and use of sound are all worth looking at very closely, and is valuable to anyone who specialises in any of the above skills. Diana Dors was Britain’s Lana Turner and she produces a very fine performance along side Yvonne Mitchell.
Look at the lighting in this picture – Dors is lit from the left but Mitchell is lit from the right, the left light on Dors gives Mitchell some spill light as backlighting / edge-lighting for her hair and shoulder as well as edge-lighting to the bars in the foreground.
If you take the trouble to watch this film, I’m sure won’t be disappointed, lookout for the camera angle / POV shots, the use of sound in the scene with Hilton (Dors) seeing her husband for the last time to convey her emotional state and the use of lighting / exposure to isolate the husband from the rest of the world. The use of lighting with shadows that subtly throw a crucifix across the background from the bars of the prison window. Other uses of symbolism for example, in the design of the film set with the door that has no handle, the light that remain on until it is her time to die. The bell tolling her execution, entering through the door with no handle in to a dark room that blacks-out the scene as the door is closed behind her, the unsmoked cigarette burned to the filter left on the edge of the ashtray. All symbols of death and the cigarette acting as both as a symbol and metaphor for a life lived and now reached it’s end.
As an artist there is much to be read from this film.