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Night Into Morning (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 8 June 1951 (USA)
Berkeley university professor adjusts (using alcohol) to tragic fire deaths of wife & son.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Ainley
Tom Lawry
Mrs. Katherine Mead (as Nancy Davis)
Dr. Horace Snyder
Girl Next Door
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Mrs. Annie Ainley
Dottie Phelps
Jonathan Cott ...
Chuck Holderson
Mrs. Niemoller
Gordon Gebert ...
Russ Kirby
Harry Antrim ...
Sam Andersen
Katherine Warren ...
Mrs. Margaret Andersen
Mary Lawrence ...
Edith Bottomly - Waitress / Student
Herb Vigran ...
Joe - the Bartender
Dr. Franz Niemoller


Philip Ainley is a happily-married English teacher at a major USA university, whose life is turned upside down when his wife and child are killed by an explosion and fire in their home. Ainley's associate teacher, Tom Lawry, and the secretary of the department, Katherine Mead, a widow, do what tan to comfort him after the tragedy. As time goes by, Lawry thinks that nothing further can be done and becomes jealous of Katherine's continued efforts to help Ainley. Ainley, following an outward calm during the funeral and following days, tries to escape his sad anxiety through alcohol, and then via a suicide attempt. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

People in Love  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Philip's bar tab of $8.20 for two doubles and a bottle of scotch is the equivalent of $76 in 2016. See more »


Shadow of the helicopter on the clock tower in the closing scene. See more »


Featured in The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Too Dour to Succeed
31 July 2016 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I can't imagine the studio believed this dour exercise about a man's unrelieved grief over the loss of his family would make money. Judging from the post-war release date, this was likely part of MGM's effort to refashion a more daring image from its pre-war Andy Hardy wholesomeness.

A key problem, as I see it, is that the haughty Prof. Ainley (Milland) is not much different emotionally before the tragedy than after. Thus it's rather hard to work up much sympathy for his loss, since his grief can only be guessed at. Now this absence can be rationalized as refusing to take an easier way out. Making him cold and unsympathetic both before and after means having to find sympathy for even a hard case. Still, it does detract from identifying with him for the great bulk of the movie. It also makes the awkward Hollywood ending that much more implausible.

In the central role, Milland does a good job at showing little emotion and making himself haughty. I assume we're supposed to identify instead with the likable Prof. Lawry (Hodiak) who remains a generous friend throughout, even if he does suspect Ainsley's designs on his girl. But pity poor Jean Hagen's affection-starved "Girl next door" who's awkwardly dropped in one moment only to be spurned the next. Good thing that fine little actress, the non- glamorous, Nancy Davis Reagan is on hand to lend genuine realism.

Except for the predictable Hollywood ending, the movie may be an earnest effort at dealing with a common human problem. But, in my view, it's simply too flawed to really register. Maybe that's why it's become so obscure.

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