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Night Must Fall (1937)

Passed  -  Drama | Mystery | Thriller  -  30 April 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,236 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 10 critic

When a rich but cantankerous dowager on an isolated estates hires an engaging handyman, her niece/companion becomes suspicious of his motives.



(from the stage success of), (screen play)
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Title: Night Must Fall (1937)

Night Must Fall (1937) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Merle Tottenham ...
Kathleen Harrison ...
Eily Malyon ...
Matthew Boulton ...
Beryl Mercer ...
Alan Marshal ...
Winifred Harris ...
Mrs. Laurie
E.E. Clive ...


Crotchety old Mrs. Bransom hires a charming young man named Danny as a live-in companion. Less charmed by Danny is Mrs. Bransom's niece, Olivia, a repressed young woman who suspects Danny of foul play. When news of a local murder is revealed, Olivia suspects Danny. Although repulsed by the thought he may have committed the crime, Olivia also finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to him at the same time. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dowager | suspicion | murder | woods | handyman | See more »




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Must Fall  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 24, 1944 with Dame May Whitty reprising her film role. See more »


In Mrs. Bramson's bedroom, Danny tucks in Mrs. Bramson and leaves, closing the bedroom door with an audible click. The next scene shows Danny outside the bedroom again closing the still-open door. See more »


Emily Terence, the Cook: You don't sound very repentent.
Danny: Oh, but I am. What's done is done, isn't it, isn't it? That's my motto.
Emily Terence, the Cook: [Olivia walks out] What does that mean?
Danny: [laughs] She's a fine bit of ice for hot weather, isn't she?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The main title reads "The astonishing London and New York stage success 'Night Must Fall' ". See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Maniacs (1996) See more »


Mighty Lak' a Rose
(1901) (uncredited)
Written by Ethelbert Nevin
Whistled by Robert Montgomery
See more »

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User Reviews

Is it Bigger Than a Hat box?
15 October 2005 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Somewhat forgotten, uniquely entertaining "thriller" about the happenings of an old English cottage when news of a missing then discovered murdered woman surrounds household. Rosialnd Russell, looking very prim and proper(and Oh! so young!), gives a good performance as a bullied niece with loads of imagination, a repressed sexual bent, and some genuine ambivalent feelings toward life, death, and the whole notion of what is exciting and what is dull. She takes orders from the wonderful Dame May Witty giving a grand performance as an imperious woman in a wheelchair trying to clutch on to anything in her life that will still give it meaning. Her household is visited upon by a young man that has been seeing one of the servant girls - Robert Montgomery - and he manages through his "charm" to worm his way into her home. We know at the very beginning that his intentions are not noble as we see him talk about Witty's wealth and spy on her as she locks away her valuables. Witty adopts Montgomery, now working in her home, as a kind soul full of funny anecdotes and good will. Russell knows differently but either is unwilling to accept what kind of person Montgomery is or is excited by that very same kind of person he may be. The murder looms the entire time in the background. Richard Thorpe does one heck of a good job infusing this film with taut tension and gentle humour. His use of setting and cinematography in particular show great craftsmanship. He is also blessed with three strong performing leads. Witty is an absolute treasure. Russell is very good, and Montgomery gives what might be his best performance. His light Cockney-like accent is believable, and although I found his character despicable from the very beginning - that credit for making what many perceived as a charming local initially affable and then later very detestable is a credit to Montgomery's acting craft. He plays a psychopath very well indeed. Night Must Fall will not dazzle you with action sequences, nor will you even see any actual violence. The film is very talky, but wonderfully so and relies almost entirely on the dialog and the believability of the acting. Movies like this sure aren't made any more. They just involve way too much thinking.

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Impressed with the film, but would have made changes in script SusanJL
What's with the hat box? ScreenwriterVA
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Will air on TCM on 9/2/2012 michaelhelwick
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