The Long Night (1947)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  28 May 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 951 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 11 critic

Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.



(earlier script),
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Title: The Long Night (1947)

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Complete credited cast:
Jo Ann
Maximilian the Great
Sheriff Ned Meade
Moroni Olsen ...
Chief of Police Bob McManus
Frank Dunlap
Queenie Smith ...
Mrs. Tully
Bill Pulanski
Policeman Stevens
Melinda Byron ...
Davis Roberts ...
Freddie (as Robert A. Davis)


The credits fade onto a blind man tapping his way down the sidewalk,he enters a dingy boarding house and hears a shot fired in one of the upstairs bedrooms. A door opens from audience POV. A man tumbles out of the door and falls, slides and slithers down two flights of stairs and is dead when he hits the bottom. Then follows nearly 100 minutes of flashback and flashbacks-within-flashbacks about a veteran returing from the war, tired and disillusioned, only to find that he girl he loves has lied to him about her relationship with another man, and that man is sadistic, boastful and tauntful. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The impassioned story of a love that promised the world -- and paid off in bullets! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 May 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Time to Kill  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jo Ann holds up a program pamphlet during the concert in Cleveland and the ad on the back cover is shown. It's an ad for "Pike's Pale: The Ale that Won for Yale!" This is a reference to Henry Fonda's character's family business in "The Lady Eve." See more »


Charlene: Don't ask me how but the more you hear the less you know.
See more »


References Badman's Territory (1946) See more »


Violin Concerto
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
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User Reviews

This movie is one big tease
5 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've never seen the original French film upon which this film was based, but I can tell you I kept waiting for a plot line payoff that never came. It has everything going for it - solid cast giving good believable performances, good direction, even a good speech that Fonda's character delivers from this broken out window as he is under siege by the police that gives us some insight into what it's like for an average guy who has returned home from years of killing and seeing killing in the war expected to pick up where he left off. But ultimately, I never see anything that Fonda's character, factory laborer Joe Adams, has been put through as far as shock or emotional torment or even disillusionment that would justifiably cause him to kill a man. Is Vincent Price's character Maximillian eloquently taunting and creepy? Yes, and in a way that Price excelled at over the years starting in noirs and proceeding on into his horror films. However, at no time does he do anything that would drive anybody to do more than shoo him away or stuff earplugs in their ears or possibly call the ASPCA (You'll have to watch the film to understand this last remark). I'm giving this film a five just for the fact that I believe the production code is the reason any hard edges that seem to be just under the surface never appear. I'm almost positive the script would have gone further if the censors would have allowed it to be so.

The real point of interest to me was the action of the police, who behave a lot like the fascists that Joe Adams spent years fighting in WWII. Sure they have a murderer holed up in his rented room, but he's holding no hostages, they've emptied the building, and still they spray him twice with automatic gunfire unannounced - once from the outside into his window, then from the stairwell into the door. When he pushes a sturdy dresser against the door and they realize they can't force their way in THEN they try talking to Joe, starting with the line "We're not fooling"?? No kidding! After Fonda's speech to the crowd, once the crowd starts voicing their support for Joe and promising financial help with a lawyer the police form a line and practically trample the crowd forcing them out of the street. I don't know if the heavy handedness of the police was something that Litvak wanted the audience to notice, but it was something I noticed.

I'd recommend this one just for the good performances and atmosphere and some imagery you don't see that much in films immediately after WWII, but don't expect something shocking or even interesting to happen just because of all of the talent assembled here.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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