6.7/10
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37 user 12 critic

The Long Night (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 May 1947 (USA)
Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Jacques Viot (earlier script), John Wexley
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Joe Adams
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Jo Ann
Vincent Price ... Maximilian the Great
Ann Dvorak ... Charlene
Howard Freeman ... Sheriff Ned Meade
Moroni Olsen ... Chief of Police Bob McManus
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Frank Dunlap
Queenie Smith ... Mrs. Tully
David Clarke ... Bill Pulanski
Charles McGraw ... Stevens - Policeman
Melinda Byron ... Peggy
Davis Roberts ... Freddie (as Robert A. Davis)
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Storyline

The credits fade onto a blind man tapping his way down the sidewalk,he enters a dingy boarding house and hears a shot fired in one of the upstairs bedrooms. A door opens from audience POV. A man tumbles out of the door and falls, slides and slithers down two flights of stairs and is dead when he hits the bottom. Then follows nearly 100 minutes of flashback and flashbacks-within-flashbacks about a veteran returing from the war, tired and disillusioned, only to find that he girl he loves has lied to him about her relationship with another man, and that man is sadistic, boastful and tauntful. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Barbara Bel Geddes IN HER SCREEN DEBUT See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 May 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Time to Kill See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Select Productions (III) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jo Ann holds up a program pamphlet during the concert in Cleveland and the ad on the back cover is shown. It's an ad for "Pike's Pale: The Ale that Won for Yale!" This is a reference to Henry Fonda's character's family business in "The Lady Eve." See more »

Goofs

At the start of the film, when Joe shoots thru his door, he fires two times and two bullet holes are visible in the door. Later when he emerges, there are three holes in the door. See more »

Quotes

Maximilian: Very odd, my friend: I always thought that persons who do common, manual work were not so subject to nervous tension.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: ...the night is long That never finds the day... William Shakespeare, Macbeth,Act iv, scene iii See more »

Connections

Remake of Le Jour Se Leve (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
(uncredited)
("Zu Lauterbach Hab Ich Mein Strumpf Gelorn") - German folk song
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A strange, unsatisfying movie
11 January 2011 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

I've seen bad movies. This is not a poorly made movie. But it's bad nonetheless.

Why? I asked myself as I sat through it, never bored for one minute. The black and white cinematography is often quite good. The acting, at least Henry Fonda's and Vincent Price's, is good, given what they had to work with.

The script, certainly, is terrible. Far too many things don't make sense. At the end, when all those men down below are calling up to Fonda saying that they're his friend and that they will help him, you remember that in all that preceded the end he had been shown as a loner with no friends. Where did all those very devoted friends come from all of a sudden? And how could Barbara Bel Geddes' character be so naïve as to go on trips with a man who had "forced his affections on her"? There is a limit to innocence, after all.

I kept having the feeling that there was a LOT of script that had for some reason never been shot, that we were missing out on a lot of details that would have made sense of some of what remained.

I honestly can't think of any reason to recommend this movie to anyone. I very much like Anatole Litvak's better movies - that's why I rented this one - but even so I found this very disappointing. Maybe if you're a fanatic about b&w cinematography you could ignore the plot and just watch the picture. Best to turn off the sound if you do.

I can't imagine why anyone would have made this movie, nor how anyone could have imagined it stood any chance of making any money.

Postscript: Having now seen the French original on which this movie was very closely based, Le jour se lève, I understand the reason the script of the American one so often makes no sense: puritanism. In the French movie, the young woman, Françoise, has evidently had an on-again, off-again affair with the animal trainer (Vincent). Jean Gabin's character, the one played by Henry Fonda, finds out about it. In fact, he shoots the animal trainer (Vincent Price's character) when this latter threatens to tell him about their sex life together.

The French movie is very beautiful, a real masterpiece. Everything makes sense. Including the end, which is the one thing they completely changed for the American version. I won't spoil the French movie by telling you what it is, but I will say that it is both very powerful and astoundingly beautifully filmed.

Don't waste your time on The Long Night. Yes, there are some good touches in it, but by the time they have taken all the sex out, what remains makes no sense. See Le jour se lève. It's a powerful masterpiece.

And if you have seen The Long Night, make SURE you see Le jour se lève. The very different end will overwhelm you, as it just did me.


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