Remember The Night – Blu-Ray Review

Directed by Michael Leisen, Remember the Night brings together Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in an offbeat love story written by Preston Sturges. This was Sturges’ last film as a screenwriter only—afterwards he was one of Hollywood’s first writer/directors, and the first who started out as a screenwriter.

It’s a screwball comedy, the genre that Sturges was a master of. Lee (Stanwyck) gets caught stealing a bracelet, and Jack Sergeant (MacMurray) is the New York DA assigned to prosecute her just before Christmas. Jack finds out she is upset about being in jail over Christmas and helps to arrange for her bail, then says he will drop her off at her mother’s house en route to visiting his own family. After that, hijinks ensue and of course they end up together.

It’s a pretty decent film, and of course the leads have plenty of chemistry. It was the first of several films they would make together. It’s a good script, although Leisen chopped up quite a bit of what Sturges delivered (that was one of the catalysts for Sturges to move into directing his own work—and also gave him a chance to offer Stanwyck the lead in The Lady Eve, which established all the modern romantic-comedy tropes). They still remained friendly, and in fact Sturges was on set during much of the filmmaking, which is rare even now. It’s an amusing film that’s a good substitute for It’s A Wonderful Life, if you don’t want to do that again over the holidays. It’s pacy at 90 minutes, and while not quite the bona fide classic that some people have tried to make it out as, Remember the Night is a fun watch.

Remember the Night proved that Stanwyck could do comedy—before, she was primarily known as a dramatic actress playing fallen women or femme fatale types—which opened up new career possibilities for her.

It’s a well-made film, handsomely shot by Ted Tetzlaff, Tetzlaff worked extensively with George Stevens later on, and also shot I Married A Witch, amongst many others (his last film as a cinematographer was Alfred Hitchcock’s screwball-ish Notorious). A few years later Tetzlaff directed one of the great underrated films noir, The Window.

Its great to Stanwyck and MacMurray in their first film together, a pairing that later continued in Double Indemnity, Douglas Sirk’s There’s Always Tomorrow, and a 3D Western, The Moonlighter.

The new Powerhouse Blu-Ray starts with a high-definition remaster, and includes a new audio commentary from film historian Adrian Martin; two new shorts about the film and Barbara Stanwyck; two Lux Radio Theatre adaptations; a 1945 short, Hollywood Victory Caravan, featuring Stanwyck; original trailer and image gallery. The 80-page book includes new and old essays, interviews, and contemporary critical responses to the film, and comes with a limited-edition poster.

★★★

Ian Schultz

Buy Here

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s