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Remember the Night
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Remember the Night More at IMDbPro »

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57 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

Home for the Holidays

Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida
28 December 2001

REMEMBER THE NIGHT (Paramount, 1940), directed by Mitchell Leisen, is a sentimental drama with doses of comedy, compliments of screenwriter, Preston Sturges, shortly before winning fame as top 1940s comedy director with such madcap classics as THE LADY EVE (1941), THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) and MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (1944), among others. It also marked the first of four movies to pair Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, with their most famous being DOUBLE INDEMNITY (Paramount, 1944), but REMEMBER THE NIGHT is certainly a movie to remember.

Set in New York City during the Christmas shopping rush, Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck), a classy lady wearing fur coat and gloves, manages to purposely walk out of the store with a diamond bracelet. After heading to another store to possibly do some more lifting, she is recognized by the store-owner and kept there until the police arrive. Lee goes on trial defended by O'Leary (Willard Robertson), with John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) as an assistant district attorney whose job is to send this third time offender to prison. Because it is Christmas Eve, the case gets postponed until January 3rd. Feeling sorry for Lee for having to spend Christmas in jail until her case comes up again, John arranges to have her bailed out. Because she has no place to go, John, learning that Lee is originally from Indiana, his home state, and since he is planning to drive home there to spend Christmas with his family, agrees to take Lee with him and leave her at her mother's home, and pick up her again on his way back to New York. After John witnesses Lee's mother's (Georgia Caine) cold-hearted reception towards her daughter, who has never forgiven her for her past misdeeds, he decides to take her with him to spend the holidays with his family. Upon meeting John's mother, Sarah (Beulah Bondi), his aunt, Emma (Elizabeth Patterson), and their farmhand, Willie Sims (Sterling Holloway), Lee is greeted like one of the family, which changes this hard-boiled dame after being given a real Christmas she never had, and learning a lesson of humility. On top of that, she starts to fall in love with John, in spite of a trial awaiting her upon her return to New York.

REMEMBER THE NIGHT is a well-written comedy-drama that is unjustly ignored as one of the Christmas packages of annual holiday delights, not as well known as the most famous treasures of revivals, such as Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDEERFUL LIFE (1946) for example. Like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, REMEMBER THE NIGHT blends comedy with sentimentality. It also has its moments of darkness, such as the scene where Lee (Stanwyck) is reunited with her cold-hearted mother, now remarried. After leaving the home where she was raised, she goes outside on the front porch to cry with John by her side. At the same time, the camera, which focuses on the central character, also picks up Lee's mother looking sternly through the curtain of the glass door, shutting off the lights and going about her business, as Lee tells John that she wishes that she had broken her neck upon falling from a tree at the front of the house when she was a child. On the humorous side, the street-wise Lee succeeds in outsmarting a yokel farmer (John Wray) and a small town judge (Thomas W. Ross), which avoids her and John from spending time in jail for unwittingly trespassing on the farmer's property and taking milk from his cow. Then on the lighter side in the Sargent household, there is Willie (Holloway) taking time to sing a nice song, "The End of a Perfect Day."

In the supporting cast are Charles Waldron as the New York Judge; Paul Guilfoyle as John, the district attorney; Frederick "Snowflake" Toone as John's valet, Rufus; and Tom Kennedy as "Fat Mike." Barbara Stanwyck, who gives an excellent performance, as usual, is presented with charm and beauty, especially the scene on Christmas day where she sits by the Christmas tree looking at John's baby picture while John is playing the piano singing "Swanee River." It's a beauty and glitter in Stanwyck that is more noticeable here than any of her other movies. Look for it. Other songs heard in the movie include: "Nothing in Life But You" and "My Indiana Home."

REMEMBER THE NIGHT, which was formerly presented on cable TV's American Movie Classics from 1993 to 1994, and part of the the Disney Channel's former "Best of Hollywood" in the early to mid 1990s, and distributed on video cassette about the same time through MCA (and Turner Classic Movies where it premiered December 17, 2006). Anyone tired of the overplaying of the same Christmas movies presented on TV year after year, and looking for something new and different from Hollywood's golden age, and worthy of rewatchability, REMEMBER THE NIGHT is the one worth seeing. (***1/2)

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42 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

An overlooked holiday classic...

9/10
Author: mdmphd from Santa Cruz, CA
21 December 2001

A really well done piece from two top notch stars, three years before they would be paired again as one of film noir's classic doomed couples in DOUBLE INDEMNITY. After working on this film, Stanwyck gave Sturges an automatic 'Yes!' when he asked her to be in THE LADY EVE. MacMurray and Stanwyck would be paired in two others, THE MOONLIGHTERS (a western in 3-D, no less) and the soapy THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW, but REMEMBER THE NIGHT is their best romance, both of them bringing a fast patter and no nonsense attitude to their characters that is both winning and believable. There are some charming Christmas scenes when they reach his home - a square dance, a dear gift giving sequence and some great supporting work from Beulah Bondi, Sterling Holloway and Elizabeth Patterson. However, I think the previous comment hit it on the nose - it's as close to a noir holiday comedy as you can get. Highly recommended to get you into the holidaze...MDMPHD

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41 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Charming, Sentimental Christmas Comedy

Author: David (vanpattendav@aol.com) from Orange County, CA
18 March 2002

When you think of holiday classics you might not think of "Remember The Night." You may have never even heard of it. But it is a must see and as good as "Miracle on 34th St." or "It's a Wonderful life."

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star perfectly together (before they re-temed for "Double Indemnity.")

He is a prosecutor for the district attorney, she a shoplifter who gets caught stealing some jewelry just before Christmas. With the Christmas weekend holiday approaching, he arranges her bail so she won't be locked up over the holiday. Thinking he only did this so she would, um you know ... she shows up at his apartment as he is preparing to go home for the holiday. He convinces her that he's not after her uh ... you know.

Over dinner they discover they are both from Idaho, "how'd you like to go home for Christmas?. he asks her. He offers to drop her off at her folks on the way to his.

A road trip, comedy, drama, funny and likable supporting characters, and love and tears follow. Also, a wonderful moral to the story. All this without bit of sex, a word of profanity, violence or an explosion. This picture is for all ages. It won't offend or insult anyone.

Don't miss it.

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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

One of my favorites

10/10
Author: halograce from United States
16 December 2006

This little sentimental tale is so sweet and heartwarming, I consider it one of my favorite holiday movies. The beginning is a bit slow, the courtroom scene drawn out and ones mind can wander. But once the story begins, it carries viewers back to a time when simpler pleasures where enjoyed. The popcorn, singing around the piano, simple gifts, popovers, canary in the cage, white elephant sale and barn dance all make one long for those days. Who wouldn't like to step into this movie, and go home with John/Jack, snuggle in the flannel gown, in the cozy bed, and have the Mom and Aunt fussing around, seeing to your every need. I give this movie a 10 and believe it is one of the "overlooked" films of the holiday season. I am a great fan of the classics, Miracle on 34th, Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Christmas in Conneticut. But these smaller, lesser known films, are simply grand. Holiday Affair is another to check out, if you want some variety in your viewing.

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26 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Dewey Wouldn't Approve

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
13 December 2008

Watching Remember The Night I remembered something else that audiences might have forgotten in 1940 in seeing this film on screen. The District Attorney of New York County was one Thomas E. Dewey who was definitely not one for mixing business with pleasure. If one of his Assistant District Attorneys went bail for a prisoner he was prosecuting and took her home for Christmas and across a few state lines to boot, that man would not have had a job and Dewey wouldn't have cared about reasons of love.

But with a script by Preston Sturges and direction by Mitchell Leisen you could forget about reality and concentrate on Christmas romance. Leisen assembled a great cast of character players in this very charming comedy/drama. And you can't miss with leads like Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in the first of four films they did together.

MacMurray's the ADA who's prosecuting Stanwyck for shoplifting and this ain't her first offense. But a combination of her beauty and charm and one flannelmouth defense attorney has him feeling sorry for her and then going her bail and taking her home because, after all it's Christmas.

They have an eventful drive to Indiana where they both coincidentally hail from and MacMurray himself winds up a fugitive from a speed trap in a hilarious sequence. And the two see the kind of homes each came from, something that prosecutors and criminals don't often see from each other's point of view.

Beulah Bondi and Elizabeth Patterson play MacMurray's mother and aunt and are quite the contrast to Georgia Caine who is Stanwyck's cold hearted mom. Spencer Charters does a good job as the speed trap judge in Pennsylvania.

My favorite however is Stanwyck's attorney Willard Robertson who is really carried away with himself as her lawyer. He's giving her a defense on the shoplifting charge that Clarence Darrow gave Leopold&Loeb. Man does love to hear himself talk. But his talk keeps the trial over the holidays allowing cupid to work.

Stanwyck and Sturges became friends and he confided in her that he would be directing as well as writing soon and next year he might just have a project perfect for her. The project turned out to be The Lady Eve according to a recent biography of Stanwyck.

Remember The Night is a charming film by some charm masters. But I suspect that Thomas E. Dewey probably hated it.

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27 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

This Night is Worth Remembering -Remember the Night ***1/2

8/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
18 December 2006

4 years before the memorable "Double Indemnity," Fred MacMurray first teamed with Barbara Stanwyck in "Remember the Night."

The story is typical Preston Sturgis-people meeting in unusual circumstances and falling in love.

In this one, MacMurray prosecutes Stanwyck for shoplifting, and since it's Christmas time, he takes her home for the holidays. They encounter a madcap adventure before settling in his home.

Virginia Brissac is memorable in a brief but devastating performance as a cold mother whose veneer tells you immediately what she is like. Contrast this with MacMurray's family, the wonderful, understanding Beulah Bondi as his mother and Elizabeth Patterson, as an also understanding spinster aunt. This film tries to depict that we are what we are because of our environment. It alternates in being funny and serious. Stanwyck's hard-nosed character does become gentle right-away but that's due to environmental factors.

The ending may disappoint you at first but upon further thought there is hope for our two major characters.

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Leisen + Sturges = classic

9/10
Author: fung0 from Canada
4 November 2007

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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21 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A Forgotten Gem

10/10
Author: smithy-8 from New Jersey
15 November 2003

"Remember the Night" is one of Mitchell Leisen's best movies. Preston Sturges wrote the screenplay. It is a lovely story about two unlikely people who meet at court, a prosecutor (Fred MacMurray) and a shoplifter (Barbara Stanwyck). During recess, they spend Christmas dinner together and fall in love. It is not a comedy but a light drama. This is Preston Sturges most serious movie.

I believe this is Mr. MacMurrary's and Ms. Stanwyck's first movie together. Ms. Stanwyck had two perfect leading men, Fred MacMurray and Gary Cooper. Mr. MacMurray worked with Ms. Stanwyck four or five times. This movie and "Double Indemnity" are their best.

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Charming, Sentimental Christmas Comedy

Author: David (vanpattendav@aol.com) from Orange County, CA
18 March 2002

When you think of holiday classics you might not think of "Remember The Night." You may have never even heard of it. But it is a must see and as good as "Miracle on 34th St." or "It's a Wonderful life."

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star perfectly together (before they re-teamed for "Double Indemnity.")

He is a prosecutor for the district attorney, she a shoplifter who gets caught stealing some jewelry just before Christmas. With the Christmas weekend holiday approaching, he arranges her bail so she won't be locked up over the holiday. Thinking he only did this so she would, um you know ... she shows up at his apartment as he is preparing to go home for the holiday. He convinces her that he's not after her uh ... you know.

Over dinner they discover they are both from Idaho, "how'd you like to go home for Christmas?. he asks her. He offers to drop her off at her folks on the way to his.

A road trip, comedy, drama, funny and likable supporting characters, and love and tears follow. Also, a wonderful moral to the story. All this without bit of sex, a word of profanity, violence or an explosion. This picture is for all ages. It won't offend or insult anyone.

Don't miss it.

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25 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Pleasant And Touching

6/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
13 February 2006

This starts off a little slow but gets good after Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck begin their trip to Indiana.

The movie turns out to be a pretty solid drama and romance with a few very touching scenes. Stanwyck's emotional scene with her mother is memorable. As a whole, to be frank, the film is not that memorable but it has its moments as mentioned above.

On the negative side, here is yet one more classic film in which a man and a woman hardly know each other, but decide to get married!! In Hollywood, all one had to do was go out on one date and marriage would be right around the corner! (so would divorce, unfortunately)

It's also interesting to note these two would be paired in a few more years in one of the most famous films of all time: Double Indemnity. They weren't so nice in that one!

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