7.6/10
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70 user 35 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.

Director:

Mitchell Leisen

Writer:

Preston Sturges (original screenplay)
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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The BAD girl and the GOOD boy who went to Niagara Falls...before their wedding! (original print ad) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Remember the Night See more »

Filming Locations:

Windsor, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$167,800
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was completed eight days ahead of schedule and $50,000 under budget. Director Mitchell Leisen attributed this to the professionalism of Barbara Stanwyck. See more »

Goofs

The street sign on the corner of the shop where Stanwyck tries to pawn the stolen bracelet reads "3rd Avenue" and "West 54th Street" in NYC. With 3rd Avenue being east of Fifth Avenue, which divides east from west Manhattan, the street sign should read "East 54th Street." See more »

Quotes

Rufus: She's here.
John Sargent: Who's here?
Rufus: I don't know, sir.
John Sargent: Well then, how do you know she's here?
Rufus: Well, I seen her come in.
John Sargent: You saw who come in?
Rufus: Uh, the lady.
John Sargent: You mean there's a lady in the apartment?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Andrew Klavan Show: Episode #1.436 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Played in the score at Christmas time
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Leisen + Sturges = classic
4 November 2007 | by fung0See all my reviews

It's fascinating to speculate what Preston Sturges would have done with this film had he directed it himself. He reputedly disliked Mitchell Leisen's treatment, but in this he only proves he was a better creator than a critic.

I suspect Sturges wanted to deliver a typically cynical social satire; something about how the rigidity of law must inevitably give way to the caprices of love (with a plot boldly swiped from Camille). But Leisen brought to the project all the delicate sentiment that Sturges would have shied away from, and turned Sturges' clever parable into a heart-rending, almost Dickensian Christmas fable.

Just as Sturges was a genius of dry wit, Leisen was a master at tweaking the heart-strings, and of creating a magically timeless mood. (See Death Takes a Holiday, for instance.) So in Remember the Night we have a one-of-a-kind fusion of opposites. What results is a remarkable film: understated and clever, yet emotional and heroic. And somehow, amazingly, both hopeful *and* downbeat.

Remember the Night is one of a handful of absolutely indispensable Christmas classics: it deserves to be counted right alongside It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol and The Bishop's Wife. It's less-known than the others doubtless because it's less mystical, less whimsical, and most importantly, because it fails to provide the mandatory Happy Ending. But that's exactly its greatest value.

We've come to set impossible standards for Christmas, and bring only disappointment upon ourselves, year after year. Remember the Night reminds us that Christmas is, after all, just one part of the cycle. It can't magically endow us with Joy Everlasting... but it can allow us a chance to raise our sights just a little bit as our lives tumble inevitably onward into the new year. And that's a *real* miracle, not a storybook fantasy that requires angelic intervention to make it come true.


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