44 user 15 critic

Night Must Fall (1937)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | 30 April 1937 (USA)
When a rich but cantankerous dowager on an isolated estates hires an engaging handyman, her niece/companion becomes suspicious of his motives.


Richard Thorpe


Emlyn Williams (from the stage success of), John Van Druten (screen play)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Merle Tottenham ... Dora
Kathleen Harrison ... Mrs. Terence
May Whitty ... Mrs. Bramson (as Dame May Whitty)
Rosalind Russell ... Olivia
Eily Malyon ... Nurse
Matthew Boulton ... Belsize
Robert Montgomery ... Danny
Beryl Mercer ... Saleslady
Alan Marshal ... Justin
Winifred Harris ... Mrs. Laurie
E.E. Clive ... Guide


Crotchety old Mrs. Bransom hires a charming young man named Danny as a live-in companion. Less charmed by Danny is Mrs. Bransom's niece, Olivia, a repressed young woman who suspects Danny of foul play. When news of a local murder is revealed, Olivia suspects Danny. Although repulsed by the thought he may have committed the crime, Olivia also finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to him at the same time. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


MGM didn't want Montgomery to do the film, and at its premiere at Grauman's Chinese screened a trailer disclaiming the film and warning the audience about the film's "spurious content." Despite this, the film was well-received by audiences and critics. See more »


While Olivia and Justin are talking at the cricket match, in the background you see the couple with the dog start to walk by twice. See more »


Olivia Grayne: I'm not a snob, but in case you'd like to call here again, I'd like to point out that although I'm employed by my aunt, I'm not in Dora's position.
Danny: Well, I hope not. I am gonna marry her though, and I...
Olivia Grayne: I don't believe you.
Danny: You don't believe me, do you?
Olivia Grayne: Your eyes are set quite wide apart... and your hands are quite good, but I really don't know what's wrong with you.
Danny: Like me, do you?
Olivia Grayne: No!
Danny: Everybody else does.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The main title reads "The astonishing London and New York stage success 'Night Must Fall' ". See more »


Referenced in What Price Porky (1938) See more »


Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Written by Effie I. Canning
Sung a cappella by Robert Montgomery
See more »

User Reviews

Whitty walks away with this "poetic" thriller
30 January 2001 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Other commentators have complained about the "talkiness" of this thriller, and it can't be denied that much of the movie's almost-two-hour running time is squandered in the Welsh equivalent of blarney. (Thank original author Emlyn Williams, and remember this was originally a stage play -- in fact, I've seen it on stage, where it may work even better, with its more obvious and mannered mechanisms). You won't find a cast this good at a Wednesday matinee, however. Roz Russell, in plain-Jane getups, plays a definite third wheel to Robert Montgomery's charming psycho and Dame May Whitty's steely but dependent old battleaxe. Whitty walks away with the movie even though wheelchair-bound; she's amusingly annoying and in almost every scene, but at the end, when panic strikes her and she skitters off into hysteria, she shows what a great old trouper she was -- almost the British version of Marie Dressler. If you aren't totally spoiled by the whiplash pacing of today's movies, Night Must Fall still packs a special thrill for lovers of literate, well-acted melodrama. Just be a wee bit patient.

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Release Date:

30 April 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Must Fall See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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