“Into the Night: The Benny Mardones Story” opens with clips from the Merv Griffin Show and even “Midnight Special with Chevy Chase and Wolfman Jack”, before settling into a longer clip from American Bandstand in 1980, which introduces the man whose name you might not be familiar with. However, once the chords of “Into the Night” began in that clip, I was instantly familiar once again with Mardones’ signature song, one of those that you may like but don’t know who sings it. Now you do.
“Into the Night” is a straightforward account of Mardones’ life from the beginning to as current as the filmmakers can get it, which is around September of 2002. The usual details are dispensed, such as Benny’s childhood (not much of one due to an abusive stepfather), his start in the music business, and his descent into drugs and subsequent rise back up to superstar status…in Syracuse, New York, which is not bad because considering how so many music stars are spread out and marketed all over the country, the Syracuse fans of Benny are probably proud of the fact that they have a music star of their own.
It’s a little taxing to get through the film because for minutes at a time, there is nothing but straight interviews. How about some more clips of Benny performing? There are many interesting stories laced throughout, including when Benny got the chance to open for Dave Mason and Peter Frampton after Blue Oyster Cult had to cancel. Dominic, the King of all Benny Fans provides some much-needed relief from all the talk as he shows off his Benny albums, which include the rare ones. There is also time spent with a fan that, without Benny’s help, might have not been alive today.
For the most part, this is an ok documentary, and Benny fans are likely to get more out of this than anyone. But when it comes to details about Benny’s life, this is, without a doubt the most definitive look at the man.