Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at ... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at Christmas time. But he feels sorry for her and arranges for her bail, and ends up taking her home to his mother for Christmas. Surrounded by a loving family (in stark contrast to Lee's own family background) they fall in love. This creates a new problem: how do they handle the upcoming trial? Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to director Leisen, the role of Lee's mother was originally taken by Marjorie Main. When Main's performance proved to be far too broad and overdone, the scene was re-shot with Georgia Caine. See more »
In the nightclub dance scene before they start their trip,
Jack tells Lee that he is from Wabash, Indiana. She says
that she is from Heltonville, to which he responds "That's
only 50 miles outside of Wabash", and she says "Yes, sir".
Actually the distance between Wabash and Heltonville is about
160 miles. See more »
(Back Home Again in) Indiana
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Played by the band and sung by an unidentified male quartet at the nightclub
Played also at the barn dance and often in the score See more »
It's fascinating to speculate what Preston Sturges would have done with this film had he directed it himself. He reputedly disliked Mitchell Leisen's treatment, but in this he only proves he was a better creator than a critic.
I suspect Sturges wanted to deliver a typically cynical social satire; something about how the rigidity of law must inevitably give way to the caprices of love (with a plot boldly swiped from Camille). But Leisen brought to the project all the delicate sentiment that Sturges would have shied away from, and turned Sturges' clever parable into a heart-rending, almost Dickensian Christmas fable.
Just as Sturges was a genius of dry wit, Leisen was a master at tweaking the heart-strings, and of creating a magically timeless mood. (See Death Takes a Holiday, for instance.) So in Remember the Night we have a one-of-a-kind fusion of opposites. What results is a remarkable film: understated and clever, yet emotional and heroic. And somehow, amazingly, both hopeful *and* downbeat.
Remember the Night is one of a handful of absolutely indispensable Christmas classics: it deserves to be counted right alongside It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol and The Bishop's Wife. It's less-known than the others doubtless because it's less mystical, less whimsical, and most importantly, because it fails to provide the mandatory Happy Ending. But that's exactly its greatest value.
We've come to set impossible standards for Christmas, and bring only disappointment upon ourselves, year after year. Remember the Night reminds us that Christmas is, after all, just one part of the cycle. It can't magically endow us with Joy Everlasting... but it can allow us a chance to raise our sights just a little bit as our lives tumble inevitably onward into the new year. And that's a *real* miracle, not a storybook fantasy that requires angelic intervention to make it come true.
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