71 user 36 critic

Remember the Night (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 19 January 1940 (USA)
A shoplifter and her prosecutor fall in love, creating tensions for his career and family.


Mitchell Leisen


Preston Sturges (original screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Lee Leander
Fred MacMurray ... John Sargent
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Sargent
Elizabeth Patterson ... Aunt Emma
Willard Robertson ... Francis X. O'Leary
Sterling Holloway ... Willie
Charles Waldron Charles Waldron ... Judge in New York
Paul Guilfoyle ... District Attorney
Charles Arnt ... Tom (as Charlie Arnt)
John Wray ... Hank
Thomas W. Ross ... Mr. Emory
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... Rufus (as Snowflake)
Tom Kennedy ... 'Fat' Mike
Georgia Caine ... Lee's Mother
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Emory


Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at Christmas time. But he feels sorry for her and arranges for her bail, and ends up taking her home to his mother for Christmas. Surrounded by a loving family (in stark contrast to Lee's own family background) they fall in love. This creates a new problem: how do they handle the upcoming trial? Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


(BAD) GIRL...MEETS....(GOOD) BOY (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Remember the Night See more »

Filming Locations:

Windsor, Ontario, Canada See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Even though the story takes place in a contemporary Christmas 1939-New Year 1940 setting, the Old Homestead in Indiana seems to be not yet wired for electricity. See more »


The hand out of nowhere. It is about 30 minutes into the movie. Barbara and Fred wake up in the middle of a field full of cows. One cow puts her head into the car and wakes them. They decide to milk the cow for breakfast. The cow's head remains inside the car while being milked. Barbara is at the back end of the cow while Fred is sitting on the car's running board with both hands busy milking the cow. At this point the camera shows the cow inside the car chewing a hat. Then a mysterious hand appears under the cow's jaw holding the cow in place. When the scene returns to Barbara and Fred you can see it wasn't either one of them. See more »


District Attorney: That boy's dead on the level. And if he wasn't quite as honest as he is, I'd say he had a big future in politics.
See more »


References Svengali (1931) See more »


(Back Home Again in) Indiana
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Played by the band and sung by Martha Mears and an unidentified male quartet at the nightclub
Played also at the barn dance and often in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

Total charmer and wonderful Christmas nostalgia piece
13 January 2009 | by PudgyPandaManSee all my reviews

TCM aired this Christmas Eve this past year. I can't believe so few people have seen this judging by the 20+ reviews and 500 votes. It is an undiscovered gem waiting to be found. Hopefully with more airings around the holiday it will build a much deserved following.

This is such a charming film with two superlative stars - Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. While they both play roles they easily inhabit - her as the tough broad and him as the good-as-gold good guy - they both bring such warmth, charm and ease into their portrayals as to seem like a warm pair of gloves on a cold's winter night.

I love the references to Indiana. Both of my parents were Hoosiers and we went back to visit many times for reunions and Christmases. So much of the film seemed like a visit home to me. "Back Home In Indiana" is such a great melody, as was "A Perfect Day". Wouldn't it be great if families still gathered 'round pianos for a sing-a-long? MacMurray's farmhouse was such a wonderfully authentic set.

Wouldn't all of us love to be welcomed into a home like this, with so much love and warmth. There are so many nice old-fashioned touches, like popping corn over the fire, stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree, making popovers, a church bazaar, and a New Year's Eve Barn Dance. There is a wonderful touching scene when the spinster Aunt is letting Stanwyck borrow a gown of hers - only to find out it was a wedding dress she never got to use. I had to laugh at all the undergarments that went along with it (corset, bust lace, hip lace, etc, all to make a woman appear curvier). At one point she asks Stanwyck the size of her waist, which she answers is a 25 or 26. The Aunt says when she was young, they thought 19 inches was big. Ouch, those corsets must have hurt!

There are many different moods to this film which made it so interesting. At times, it felt like a screwball comedy, then a noir-ish piece, there's drama, and there's romance. I think this is a film the whole family can watch as it will appeal to most everyone. This one will have you laughing and tearing up at sentimental moments. A true classic that should be more appreciated today.

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