Review: ‘Remember the Night’

Preston Sturges' original screenplay depends mainly on individual sequences and bright situations rather than the overall effect of the story itself. Here is a tale of a girl crook (Barbara Stanwyck) who becomes enmeshed in the law after lifting a bracelet from a store. Deputy district attorney Fred MacMurray is assigned to prosecute, even though he plans to leave for Xmas holidays with his mother in Indiana.

Preston Sturges’ original screenplay depends mainly on individual sequences and bright situations rather than the overall effect of the story itself. Here is a tale of a girl crook (Barbara Stanwyck) who becomes enmeshed in the law after lifting a bracelet from a store. Deputy district attorney Fred MacMurray is assigned to prosecute, even though he plans to leave for Xmas holidays with his mother in Indiana.

When defense attorney pulls a surprise, young d.a. has trial continued for two weeks, and girl has to remain in jail in the interim. MacMurray suffers pangs of conscience and gets her out on bail. When he finds her home is also in Indiana, he takes her along on the trip.

Picture is highlighted in numerous instances by some deft telling in the script and fine piloting by director Mitchell Leisen to lift the yarn from commonplace and trite category.

Stanwyck turns in a fine performance. MacMurray is impressive as the serious-minded prosecutor, but loosens up for the comedy stretches. Beulah Bondi and Elizabeth Patterson, MacMurray’s mother and aunt, respectively, provide good characterizations, and Sterling Holloway scores as the hick hired hand.

Remember the Night

Production

Paramount. Director Mitchell Leisen; Producer Mitchell Leisen; Screenplay Preston Sturges; Camera Ted Tetzlaff; Editor Doane Harrison; Music Frederick Hollander; Art Director Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1940. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Barbara Stanwyck Fred MacMurray Beulah Bondi Elizabeth Patterson Willard Robertson Sterling Holloway
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