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Long Night

3.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Jul 18, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

An exciting rediscovery from the studio vaults, The Long Night is an emotionally gripping, visually dynamic film noir, in which Henry Fonda, at the peak of his career, delivers an unforgettable performance. Presented in an intricate web of flashbacks, The Long Night follows the fractured thoughts of Joe Adams (Henry Fonda), a factory worker pinned inside his third-floor apartment after gunning down a mysterious, dapper gentleman (Vincent Price). Joe's memories (often containing flashbacks within flashbacks) reconstruct the events leading up to the shooting, revealing his romance with a quiet young girl (Barbara Bel Geddes), his less romantic involvement with an emotionally calloused showgirl (Ann Dvorak), and the varied twists of fate that drove Joe to murder. In staging this remake of Marcel Carne's Le Jour se leve (France, 1939), the producers of The Long Night imported not only the story but the look of poetic realism that made the original so haunting. Production designer Eugene Lourie and cinematographer Sol Polito created a shadowy wonderland, recreating broad exteriors in the controlled environment of the studio, replete with enormous sets, miniature factories and some ingenious cases of visual sleight-of-hand. At once dismal and magical, the world of The Long Night is unlike anything Hollywood had yet imagined, and laid the groundwork for the dark and gritty (but highly stylized) imagery that became the hallmark of film noir.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, Vincent Price, Ann Dvorak, Howard Freeman
  • Directors: Anatole Litvak
  • Writers: Jacques Viot, John Wexley
  • Producers: Anatole Litvak, Raymond Hakim, Robert Hakim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305950687
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,597 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Long Night" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on January 2, 2002
Format: DVD
Henry Fonda is Joe Adams, a man pinned inside his third floor apartment after gunning down a mysterious magician Vincent price. Joe's fractured memories are told in an intricate web of flashbacks that reconstruct the events leading up to the murder. Barbara Bel Geddes plays the third corner of the tragic, complicated and mesmerizing love triangle. Exceedingly mody and atmospheric direction by the masterful Anatole Litvak ("The Snake Pit," "Sorry Wrong Number"). The DVD is a pristine transfer made from a 35 MM nitrate negative. Bonus material includes a gallery of photos and artwork as well as excerpts from Marcel Carne's Le Jour se Leve. (Full Frame, B&W, 68 minutes, Not Rated)
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I liked this forgotten film, i think it is very well directed by Anatole Litvak. Henry Fonda gives a fine performance as the doomed fugutive, who barricates himself in an attic room while the police tries to make him surrender and come out. During the night he thinks back on the events leading up to a murder, and the situation he is in now. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, interrupted by scenes where the police try in different ways to make him come out. Vincent Price plays an evil magician with whom Fonda has a dramatic encounter, Price is both smarmy and unplesent in this role, and he plays very well. Both Barbara Bel Geddes and Ann Dvorak are good in their roles as a naive young girl, and a more down to earth woman. The photography by Sol Polito is very good, giving it a wonderful noir sheen, also the sets by Eugene Lourie are intriguing, giving the film a dark, dirty look, that at the same time is glossy, but filled with low key images that makes shadows on the walls. This was an american remake of a french film by Marcel Carne called Le Jour Se Leve, and it is by no means as inferior as many filmguides might lead you to think, its more dramatic and has more background musik. The original film is intense in a restraind way, more poetic while the remake goes more out for dramatic effects, and is more hard boiled. The Long Night uses almost the same screenplay as in the original, ecept for the ending which is different. The story is grim and gloomy, but i think this is one of the more visually dynamic american films from the 40s, very well directed by Anatole Litvak, no camera tricks were used in the scene where Price performs his magic show, Litvak wanted the actor to learn to make tricks from a real magician, so he could make a realistic magic performence. This film is a minor gem.
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Format: DVD
This was a very cool film. Henry Fonda did an excellent job as a man who is hiding from the law. Vincent Price plays the guy that gets killed by Henry Fonda at the very beginning. Almost the entire film is flashback, which explain why Fonda is in this predicament in the first place, and how it came to be that he killed Price. A great suspense movie.
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Format: DVD
A gunshot rings out as a blind man (Elisha Cook, Jr.) tap-tap-taps his way up a flight of stairs in an apartment building. A well-dressed and well-wounded man tumbles out of a third floor apartment and rolls down the stairs. THE LONG NIGHT begins where most crime thrillers end - with a murder - and through a series of flashbacks it unravels and reveals its story. Henry Fonda plays an Average Joe conveniently named Joe Adams who has an average girlfriend named Jo Ann, played with sweet innocence by Barbara Bel Geddes. After the smoke clears a bit we're propelled into the story proper when Joe interior monologues `How can I explain what I don't understand myself?' In 1947 even a war vet (looks like Joe was a sergeant in the infantry) couldn't growl a `Get away from here and leave me alone!' to a hallway full of police without expecting a bit of tommy gun and sniper fire. Director Anatole Litvak will bring us back to Joe's bullet ridden apartment now and then for a cigarette until a photograph or a stuffed bear trigger yet another flashback.

Chain smoking and brooding doesn't seem to help clarify things much for Joe, but the movie is conventional enough. Joe returns from the war and gets a job as a sand-blaster in an unnamed, heavy industry town somewhere in Pennsylvania. Litvak hints a bit about the edges that THE LONG NIGHT is a story about class in America, but that aspect of the movie is never developed. Joe's a regular working man with modest, if any, dreams when he meets Jo Ann. Their sweet twosome develops into a suspicion filled ménage à trois with the appearance of Vincent Price, a traveling magician with a dog act and a sharp-talking assistant played by Ann Dvorak.
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Format: DVD
A simple, tightly-told story with amazing art direction, sets and photography. Effective, hammy acting all around adds to the mix to make a very enjoyable short movie. The disc supplements are an entertaining and informative icing on the cake.
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