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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 1,405 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)

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




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al caer la noche  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


MGM didn't want Montgomery to do the film, and at its premiere at Grauman's Chinese screened a trailer disclaiming the film and warning the audience about the film's "spurious content." Despite this, the film was well-received by audiences and critics. 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 »


Guide: And now, ladies and gentlemen, if you will draw a little closer, you will see the exact spot where the body was recovered.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Spoofed in Knights Must Fall (1949) See more »


Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Written by Effie I. Canning
Sung a cappella by Robert Montgomery
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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.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Impressed with the film, but would have made changes in script SusanJL
Danny'saccent sticks114
Re-make twfaircroft
Will air on TCM on 9/2/2012 michaelhelwick
Roz an Accomplise? jefyuaz-3-392257
What was Olivia's intent in this film - nutritionist
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