6.4/10
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8 user 16 critic

The Big Night (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 7 December 1951 (USA)
A teenager comes of age while seeking revenge on the man who beat up his father.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Stanley Ellin (novel), Joseph Losey (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Drew Barrymore ... George La Main (as John Barrymore Jr.)
Preston Foster ... Andy La Main
Joan Lorring ... Marion Rostina
Howard St. John ... Al Judge
Dorothy Comingore ... Julie Rostina
Philip Bourneuf ... Dr. Lloyd Cooper
Howland Chamberlain ... Flanagan (as Howland Chamberlin)
Myron Healey ... Kennealy
Emile Meyer ... Peckinpaugh (as Emil Meyer)
Mauri Leighton ... Terry Angelus (as Mauri Lynn)
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Storyline

George La Main, just turned 17, suffers growing pains and is anxious to prove his manhood. That night, George's adored father Andy is savagely beaten by sportswriter Al Judge. Traumatized and unable to learn why it happened, George goes gunning for Judge. His mission becomes an odyssey through the town's seamy side, and his coming of age is more of a trial by fire than he bargained for. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

whiskey | poker | metaxa | cognac | beer | See All (34) »

Taglines:

GRIPPING! Under cover of darkness a kid learns about life!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht der Wahrheit See more »

Company Credits

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

According to interviews that director Joseph Losey gave in the mid-1970s to Michel Ciment, the FBI wanted to spy on him in Europe, where he relocated to work after being blacklisted by Hollywood because of his political activities. So they paid John Drew Barrymore (who became a good friend after this movie) to furnish information about Losey's political activities, if any, in London. Barrymore later met Losey in London and confessed to him about the money and expense account the FBI had given him to spy on Losey. Losey, recalling that the young actor had been under tremendous pressure at the time, forgave him and in fact suggested that they have several lavish meals together and put the cost on Barrymore's FBI expense account, which they promptly did. See more »

Goofs

The birthday cake is obviously fake. Flanagan removes the cake from the bar by grabbing the cake in a way that would have covered his hands in frosting if it were real. See more »

Quotes

George La Main: Were you laughing at me? Were you still thinking I was wet behind the ears and smelled of milk? Were ya?
See more »

Soundtracks

Am I Too Young
Music by Lyn Murray
Lyrics by Sid Kuller
Sung by Mauri Leighton (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

The Wrong Woman
28 June 2001 | by robotman-1See all my reviews

The story here is revenge, more real-life based, a 1950's version of the crime of passion. A teenager's good-hearted father is beaten to a pulp by a gangster, so the kid invades the streets to get some payback. The father's not worried about the floor-wiping, which leads to a mystery behind the teen's mother, who skipped out on the family long ago, and a woman the father knows who has committed suicide.

Seeing this film, there's not much in terms of plot, but there are some notable scenes, particularly when the kid hears a beautiful night-club singer, becomes entranced, gets a chance to meet her on the street, and tells her how beautiful she is. Even though she's, you know,

black. The pain in the singer's face rends the poor kid, who was transported by her voice, but can't get beyond her skin color.

This film also has one of THE great lines ever in any film noir or any movie period, at least concerning the tragedy between a man and a woman, when there is love involved. There are no words more powerful or poignant, especially for a man who loves a woman beyond reason, who knows he has lost the love of his life. Unable to move on, to love or marry another woman after that one woman has destroyed him, and in fact still very much in love with his destroyer,

Preston Foster tells his son, "Sometimes a man loves one woman in the whole world. If she turns out to be the wrong one, well...that's just tough." Truly, the heart of noir is not blackness, but the white-hot scars of passion.


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