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Clash by Night (1952)

Barbara Stanwyck , Robert Ryan , Fritz Lang  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, J. Carrol Naish
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Writers: Alfred Hayes, Clifford Odets
  • Producers: Harriet Parsons, Jerry Wald, Norman Krasna
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00097DY02
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,662 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Clash by Night" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Mae Doyle is a good-time girl, but now times are bad. Weary of too much booze and too many men, she returns to her girlhood home, the fishing village of Monterey, California. There she finds security as the wife of a devoted and dull fisherman?and passion in the arms of his provocative best friend. Film noir master Fritz Lang (The Big Heat, Ministry of Fear) directs four towering talents - Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan and rising star Marilyn Monroe - in a stark tale of lives burnished by human emotion and shattered by human failings. Intense and powerfully realistic, Clash by Night (from a Clifford Odets play) is about many towns, many families. Serene on the surface. Roiling with desperation underneath.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Director Fritz Lang opens "Clash by Night" with a violent crashing of waves that sets the audience on edge and foreshadows the inner turbulence of the film's protagonist, Mae Doyle. This is followed by an extended documentary sequence that was filmed on location in Monterey, California, illustrating the daily routine in the fishing town. Boats come in with their catch; their crews unload the fish; and the cannery processes them. It's a memorable sequence, and I was surprised to find it in this relationship drama. Mae Doyle (Barbara Stanwyck) has returned to town after a 10-year absence that left her disillusioned with life, love and the plans she had. Her brother Joe (Keith Anders) works on a fishing boat owned by Jerry D'Amato (Paul Douglas), a cheerful, simple-minded man who is smitten with Mae. Joe's good friend Earl Pfeiffer (Robert Ryan) couldn't be more different. He's misogynistic, lecherous, and deeply needy. Mae is attracted and repulsed by the cynicism that she sees in Earl and shares with him. She'd like a man like Jerry to take care of her, but knows she could never be satisfied with that.

"Clash by Night" is based on the play by Clifford Odets, and it's fun to try to pick out the lines that sound like Odets by their affectedness. Usually the actors deliver the lines casually, so they don't sound too histrionic. I found that the film's strength is its documentary-like qualities, which don't end after the introductory sequence. The vignettes of working class life and conversations about family matters lend the film an authenticity that it really needs considering that Barbara Stanwyck' s glamour and forcefulness seem as out of place in that town as her character professes to feel.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A drama many years ahead of its time! July 27, 2005
Format:DVD
This review is for the 2005 Warner Brothers DVD.

The storyline revolves around Mae Doyle (Barbara Stanwick) who returns to a Northern California fishing community after a ten-year hiatus. She left that town hoping to find a wealthy or prestigious man to marry, but her dreams never materialized. Upon returning she runs into an old acquaintance, Jerry D'Amato (Paul Douglas), at a bar and they later start dating even though they have very little in common. Jerry is hardworking and stable, yet a boring simpleton. Mae is fickle and shallow. Jerry introduces Mae to his best friend Earl (Robert Ryan) who is cantankerous yet very extroverted - pretty much the exact opposite of Jerry. From this point on in the movie, the human dynamics these three people go all over the map and develop into an enthralling plot for the viewer.

I was initially taken off guard with the way the film ended, but I couldn't get it out of my head for the rest of the day and realized it took a very brave direction with the issues it confronted. Furthermore, the movie is probably more representative of today's social landscape than it was when the film was made and has some hard-hitting commentary for the consequences of people's actions. There is however, one scene that is clearly politically incorrect by today's standards where Earl imitates a Chinese person. The movie also contained some refreshing scenes of a young Marilyn Monroe who plays the girlfriend of Mae's brother. Overall I give the film a solid recommendation for viewing.

The DVD is remastered but not restored and as a result, the black and white transfer is sharp but occasionally tiny spots of film deterioration can be observed. The sound is fine.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SMOLDERING MELODRAMA. RYAN AND STANWYCK EXQUISITE!!!!!!! November 25, 2006
Format:DVD
Most reviewers of this film seem to have 'gotten it' with respect to the film's undeniable stance in both Robert Ryan and Fritz Lang's careers. Both celebrities enjoy considerable cult status, and they united for the film, which, along with Barbara Stanwyck's jaded portrait of a fallen woman, achieved a cinema realism that was rare in those days. The film was another example of RKO's attempts to bring outstanding films to the screen. One would be hard pressed to find another studio that so consistently sought artistic merit, dissimilar from studios like Warner Brothers, which catered more to mass interest.

The love triangle involving Ryan, Stanwyck and Paul Douglas, seems entirely plausible then and now. It is amazing to see that the sexual attraction between Ryan and Stanwyck was conveyed without the de rigueur explicit romp in the hay that predominates any film made in the last thirty years. If the viewer wants to see some real sexual tension without the overtness viewers are subjected to these days to get them to watch what's out there, simply watch the scene in which Ryan and Stanwyck engage in a short but heated embrace. One doesn't need to see anything more than Stanwyck's hand clutching Ryan's bare back underneath his T-shirt to envision what happens next.

The addition of secondary players, Marilyn Monroe and Keith Andes, likewise didn't need to achieve its sexual effect in the blatant manner employed in films these days. J. Carrol Naish's devilish Uncle Vince was also a tour de force for this wonderful character actor, and Silvio Minciotti effectively portrayed Paul Douglas's lonely widowed father.

Add to these dynamics a wonderful screenplay, sharply written and without a maudlin word to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
Great movie! One of my favorite old movies to watch. Give it a try and you will enjoy ! Thanks and GOD bless!
Published 2 months ago by Lace
5.0 out of 5 stars thriller
would have been very good with barbara stanwyck in it cant remember having it it was a long time ago. details of sale please thank you
Published 7 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars LIKE NEW
I don't remember that it show how good shape it was , but to it's brand new. Thank I know hard is to keep good tape good, ihve a few. Ha Ha. Thank's ART
Published 18 months ago by arthur
5.0 out of 5 stars What Makes This Film Noir Classic So Much Better Than Most Others...
For me, the answer is, RELEVANCE. I'm new and very fascinated by this post-World War II genre. As a reference point, I would say that "Out of the Past," "Born to Kill," and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Eric Hutchins
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Monroe
'Clash By Night' is probably one of the best noir movies made. The main stars are undoubtably Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan, but, for me, Marilyn Monroe steals the whole show. Read more
Published 18 months ago by S. keeley
5.0 out of 5 stars Clash by Night
I love old b/w movies and Clash by night is one of them, especially because Marilyn Monroe appears in it.
Published 18 months ago by Djan Saris
5.0 out of 5 stars Mae Doyle D'Amato: "Home is where you come when you run out of...
Directed by Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets' CLASH BY NIGHT had a relatively short Broadway run of 49 performances between 12/27/41 and 2/7/42. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Annie Van Auken
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent!
The films of that great director, Fritz Lang, almost always entertain if not enlighten and-- this film is just one of them. All the principal actors were terrific especially Ms. Read more
Published 23 months ago by R. Monteclar
5.0 out of 5 stars For women who think they must have a man.
You haven't experienced on-screen violence until you have seen Marilyn Monroe's 'Peggy' being choked by the man who loves her, in public. Read more
Published on January 26, 2012 by M
4.0 out of 5 stars Clash by Night
Odets' NYC-set love-triangle has florid, urban dialogue that doesn't sound quite right coming out of the film's relocated-to-Monterey characters, but uniformly good performances... Read more
Published on November 4, 2011 by Charles D. Fulton
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