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Remember the Night [1940 film] by Mitchell…

Remember the Night [1940 film] (1940)

by Mitchell Leisen, Preston Sturges (Screenwriter)

Other authors: Fred MacMurray (Actor), Barbara Stanwyck (Actor)

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Recently added byWaldstein, TeresaCarol
1.37:1 (1) 1940s (1) Babs (1) black and white (1) case 1 (1) Christmas (1) DVD (2) holiday (1) movies (1) Region 1 (1)



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Remember the Night (1940)

Barbara Stanwyck – Lee Leander
Fred MacMurray – John Sargent

Beulah Bondi – Mrs. Sargent
Elizabeth Patterson – Aunt Emma
Willard Robertson – Francis X. O’Leary
Sterling Holloway – Willie

Screenplay by Preston Sturges
Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Black and white. 94 min.


This is the first movie Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray made together. It was followed by three more in the next fifteen years, the classic film-noir Double Indemnity (1944), the rather forgettable western The Moonlighter (1953) and the rather less forgettable drama There’s Always Tomorrow (1955). Remember the Night is obviously a movie to remember, but it’s not easy to do that.

It’s a very charming Christmas romance between a shoplifter and her prosecutor. Hardly the most believable story, but at Christmas, as we all know, miracles do happen. Yet something is missing all the way. Some moments are very funny, but others are not funny enough. Some moments are moving and even thought-provoking, but they usually dissolve all too quickly in tedious melodrama. Sometimes it drags, sometimes it rushes. Sometimes it wants to be a comedy, sometimes it aspires to be a drama, ultimately failing in either endeavour.

Barbara’s character is the only one with some depth in it. She does her considerable best with customary grace, she looks stunning at the age of 32, and she has some sweet lines (“I’m not exactly ugly” – this must be the understatement of the last century!). But, all the same, when you play the amusing mental game “Remember that Stanwyck performance”, you are not likely to think of this one among the first thirty, at least. There is nothing wrong with Fred MacMurray, either. He is as regular and ruggedly handsome Prince Charming as ever graced the silver screen. But Mr Sturges didn’t give him much fine material to work on. The duo of old gals benefits from two superb character actresses. The “Best Line Award” belongs to Aunt Emma, a spinster, claiming to be an authority on marital questions with this killer argument: “You don’t have to be a horse to judge a horse show.”

I am rather surprised at the rave reviews this movie has received. I cannot join the Chorus of Praise. Fascinating trifle, but nothing more. ( )
2 vote Waldstein | May 17, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitchell Leisenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sturges, PrestonScreenwritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
MacMurray, FredActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stanwyck, BarbaraActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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