Remember the Night

Movie Information

In Brief: It's only in recent years that Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night (1940) has come into its own as a holiday film — and I'm not at all sure why it took so long. (The generic title, which could easily be confused with at least three other movies, may be part of the problem.) It marks the last Preston Sturges screenplay to be filmed by someone other than Sturges and quite possibly the only one that benefited from that, since Leisen as a director was more suited to the sentiment of the story. Oh, it's every inch a Sturges comedy in most respects. The story of a rising attorney (Fred MacMurray) in the D.A.'s office who finds himself saddled with a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) he was prosecuting over the Christmas holidays is pure Sturges, as are many of the film's more broadly comic scenes. But there's an unusually dark side to the story in her attempted visit to her mother. More than that, there's the deeply sentimental Christmas with MacMurray's family, and the more-than-usually serious romance between the leads — things that are just better suited to Leisen's more sober-minded style. It starts as a hard-as-nails screwball comedy and then slowly transforms into something quite different — and something wholly charming.
Genre: Romantic Comedy-Drama
Director: Mitchell Leisen (Death Takes a Holiday)
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen Remember the Night Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville, hosted by Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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