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The Night Digger

the night digger, the night digger 1971
The Night Digger is a 1971 British thriller film based on the novel Nest in a Fallen Tree by Joy Cowley It was adapted by Roald Dahl and starred his then wife Patricia Neal The Night Digger was the American title; it was originally released in the United Kingdom as The Road Builder


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Critical reception
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links


In a decaying mansion on the outskirts of London, middle-aged spinster Maura Prince Patricia Neal lives a life of drudgery caring for her blind and domineering mother Pamela Brown Into their dysfunctional lives, a handsome stranger appears, riding on a motorbike and looking for work as a handyman Young Billy Jarvis Nicholas Clay soon makes himself indispensable around the house, but his angelic features mask dysfunctions that threaten both women's lives


  • Patricia Neal as Maura Prince
  • Pamela Brown as Mrs Edith Prince
  • Nicholas Clay as Billy Jarvis
  • Jean Anderson as Mrs Millicent McMurtrey
  • Graham Crowden as Mr Bolton
  • Yootha Joyce as Mrs Palafox
  • Peter Sallis as Reverend Rupert Palafox
  • Brigit Forsyth as District Nurse
  • Sebastian Breaks as Dr Ronnie Robinson
  • Christopher Reynalds as Young Billy
  • Sibylla Kay as Whore

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, the New York Times wrote, "It begs for empathy for its tortured principals, but despite the clearly dedicated contributions of Patricia Neal, Roald Dahl, her scenarist-husband; Pamela Brown and a young newcomer, Nicholas Clay, the strain on credibility is a good deal more notable than the impact on the emotions"; while more recently, DVD Talk wrote, "The Night Digger doesn't carry much of a reputation, but I found it highly unusual, and more than satisfying"; Cinema Retro called it "an underrated gem"; and the Radio Times concluded, "director Alastair Reid's neo-Grand Guignol chamber piece exudes a peculiar fascination";


  1. ^ "The Night Digger 1971" 
  2. ^ "The Road Builder aka The Night Digger" Turner Classic Movies 
  3. ^ "The Night Digger" allmoviecom 
  4. ^ https://wwwnytimescom/movie/reviewres=9506EEDD1E3BE73ABC4B52DFB366838A669EDE
  5. ^ "DVD Savant Review: The Night Digger" wwwdvdtalkcom 
  6. ^ "DVD REVIEW: "THE NIGHT DIGGER" STARRING PATRICIA NEAL - Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s" wwwcinemaretrocom 
  7. ^ "The Road Builder – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online" Radio Times 

Further reading

  • Stafford, Jeff "The Road Builder aka The Night Digger" Turner Classic Movies Retrieved 2011-01-16 

External links

  • The Night Digger on IMDb

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The Night Digger

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