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Fantastic Night (1942)
"La nuit fantastique" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 193 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His ... See full summary »

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Title: Fantastic Night (1942)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fernand Gravey ...
...
Saturnin Fabre ...
...
Bernard Blier ...
Lucien
Marcel Lévesque ...
Tellier
Christiane Nère ...
Nina (as Christiane Néré)
Jean Parédès ...
Cadet
Zita Fiore ...
L'assistante
Michel Vitold ...
Boris
Roger Caccia ...
Le fou-pendule
Paul Frankeur ...
Le patron du bistrot
Marguerite Ducouret ...
La maraîchère
André Nicolle ...
Le conservateur
Maurice Marceau ...
Un des forts des Halles
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Storyline

Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His girlfriend Nina is annoyed at him for his inattention, so she steps out behind his back with a friend of his. One night, while napping at the flower mart, he pursues the mystery woman in what he thinks is a dream, and finds himself with her in a restaurant with her father and her fiancé, then on to a magic shop, the Louvre, a nightclub, and a mental asylum. During the night, he discovers a plot against her, and still believing it's a dream, goes to great lengths to try to save her. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

10 July 1942 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Noite Fantástica  »

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1.37 : 1
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Edited into Nitrate Base (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Joyous slumber
9 January 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

La Nuit Fantastique, as directed by Marcel l'Herbier... Those who have watched the director's silent classics l'Argent or l'Inhumaine may have their expectations upset by this movie. Stylistically it is poles apart. It is all fun, chic and froth, nothing much serious going on.

The plot is very simple, Denis a French arts student tends to fall asleep during his nighttime work at the flower market. He has dreams of a beautiful woman in white, and falls in love with her. One night whilst asleep he follows her on a series of fantastic adventures, beset by charming villains on all sides.

As mentioned elsewhere it is ludicrous to believe that Fernand Gravey is young enough to be a student. On the whole though I thought his performance made him a lot more youthful, full of ephebe sensitivity and brass, boyish insolence and naivety. As in all art, but here particularly, disbelief must willingly be suspended, and there will be ample reward. Christiane Nère is brilliant as Gravey's waking girlfriend/shrew who competes with the dream lady. Saturnin Fabre as Professor Thales hams it up brilliantly with the most superb facial expressions you'll ever see. You'll notice that no place names or dates are given, this adds to the intensity of atmosphere. I think it could be quite easy to mistake this movie for an auteur's potboiler. However quite a lot of care obviously went into making this truly escapist fantasy, the characters get to play dress up, make love on roofs, thwart dream plots, thumb there noses at suitors, sleep in flower markets etc. And in my opinion the craft and the acting are seamless. Quite a lot of shadows in this film, probably due to lack of budget, but makes for true magic realism.

Tale a holiday from yourself, a purely ecstatic roller-coaster of dream logic awaits, see if you can get your hands on the OOP DVD, mine cost a pretty penny.

N.B. This movie deserves to win the award for worst opening credits ever, truly shocking, don't let them put you off.


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