Saturday, December 10, 2011
Remember The Night
Released: January 19, 1940
Directed: Mitchell Leisen
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray
Lee Leander (Stanwyck) gets arrested for shoplifting a bracelet, right before the holidays. Assistant District Attorney, John Sargent (Fred MacMurray), who has never lost a case with a woman on trial, is sent in specially to prosecute Lee. Sargent, knowing she'll never be sentenced with holiday cheer in the air, postpones the trial until after New Years. Lee is forced to spend the holidays in jail, which tugs at John's conscious. He makes it so her bail is set. The bondsman takes her to his place and, still feeling guilty, takes her out to dinner. While there they run into the judge of their case. John also finds out that Lee is from Indiana, just like him. And since she has no place to go, he offers to take her home for the holidays. Great adventure is had in Pennsylvania and when they get to Indiana, Lee is given a cold reception by her mother. Feeling bad, John invites Lee to spend the holidays with him, his mother, aunt, and cousin at their house. But John's good nature won't let her stay without telling his mother (Beulah Bondi) about her.
REMEMBER THE NIGHT, is one of those Christmas movies that don't center around Christmas. It's mentioned the first half of the film, and then it passes and there are other things to attend to. This is also a film that caused me to spasm on the couch, fall off, and yell at the ceiling. It's so wonderful and I was so invested in it, that I was deeply upset when it ended. Maybe it was the ending. You'll have to decide. Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are quite wonderful. I've never been much of a fan of MacMurray but after this film and THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE, I'm sold. I suppose I've seen THE APARTMENT one too many times. If you have a heart, you'll root for our lovely Lee Leander and be as devoted to this story as I was. This was the last picture that Preston Sturges wrote before he started writing/directing. Sturges spent much time on set and reportedly told Stanwyck that he'd write a comedy for her, which he did: THE LADY EVE. A fantastic film. If you're extremely sensitive (unlike me), you might want a tissue box nearby. This is also the first of four movies that Stanwyck and MacMurray would star in.
That gag's so old it's got whiskers!