6.5/10
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8 user 16 critic

The Big Night (1951)

A teenager comes of age while seeking revenge on the man who beat up his father.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
George La Main (as John Barrymore Jr.)
...
Andy La Main
...
...
...
Julie Rostina
Philip Bourneuf ...
Dr. Lloyd Cooper
Howland Chamberlain ...
Flanagan (as Howland Chamberlin)
...
Kennealy
...
Peckinpaugh (as Emil Meyer)
Mauri Lynn ...
Terry Angelus
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Storyline

George La Main, just turned 17, suffers growing pains and is anxious to prove his manhood. That night, George's adored father Andy is savagely beaten by sportswriter Al Judge. Traumatized and unable to learn why it happened, George goes gunning for Judge. His mission becomes an odyssey through the town's seamy side, and his coming of age is more of a trial by fire than he bargained for. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

whiskey | poker | metaxa | cognac | beer | See All (34) »

Taglines:

GRIPPING! Under cover of darkness a kid learns about life!


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht der Wahrheit  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Dorothy Comingore. See more »

Goofs

George blows out all but one of his birthday candles. When the view changes from over George's shoulder to a position over his father's shoulder, all the candles are out, but when it changes back, the one candle is again lit. See more »

Quotes

George La Main: Were you laughing at me? Were you still thinking I was wet behind the ears and smelled of milk? Were ya?
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Soundtracks

Am I Too Young
Music by Lyn Murray
Lyrics by Sid Kuller
Sung by Mauri Lynn (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
John Barrymore, Jr., memorable in coming-of-age noir
17 December 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Joseph Losey's The Big Night is a film noir that's also, like Moonrise and Talk About A Stranger, a coming-of-age story. The young male undergoing his transformational journey is John Barrymore, Jr., son of the Great Profile and father of Drew. His film career was not high-profile, as he inherited the family disposition toward chemical dependency (blood will tell). But here, boasting a luxuriantly healthy crown of hair, he gives a surprisingly intense yet controlled performance. His big night happens to be his 16th or 17th birthday, when his barkeep father is brutally beaten and publicly humiliated by a local sportswriter (Losey's staging is unflinching). Frustrations about his own Hamlet-like ditherings and confusions impel him to seek revenge on his father's behalf, and, gun in pocket, he sets out into a nightscape of prize fights, gin mills and the walk-up flats of casually met strangers. While Losey's sympathies lie with Barrymore, it's always clear that the emergent man is still a callow stripling, incapable of apprehending the complex reality he crashes into, like a fatted calf in a china shop. Though the director refrains from pushing the conclusion to where it might logically go -- he retreats into sentimentality and sententiousness -- The Big Night still scores as a provocative, moodily shot film.


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